Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Marie de Hennezel

Elder people are ashamed of dying before offering something to this troubled humanity

Many people are afraid of old age.

They fear the loneliness and isolation, the unattractiveness of wrinkles and sagging skin, or the impairment of infirmity.

But according to psychologist Marie de Hennezel, old age is an attitude of mind (most of them lost their mind anyway, though a few have this energy of determination to remain functional on their own)

Hennezel suggests it can be a period of contentment, and happiness that comes with letting go of old attachments and finding new roles. Here are some tips based on her book The Warmth Of The Heart Prevents Your Body From Rusting.

Tip 1
Be realistic about becoming old. Accept that biological aging is unstoppable. Do not be ashamed of losing your seductive shape in old age. Accept you cannot change the loss of former physical powers, and previous economic and social roles.

Tip 2
Look after yourself. Make room for bodily pleasure whilst eating moderately, keeping alcohol to a minimum and avoiding drugs and tobacco.  Stay physically active, doing things at your own pace. One can get more out of life in old age with a body that is functioning to its maximum potential.

Tip 3
Take advantage of your new stage in life to look for things you can now do which you were not able to do when you were young – having more time for yourself with no responsibility of parenthood and earning a living and with greater freedom of speech to say what you think.

Tip 4
Accept the inevitable degree of solitude that comes with living alone in old age and not going out to work, not as isolation but as a freedom to meet ones own inner spirit and be oneself and to discover unsuspected resources and release latent energy.

Tip 5
Maintain a social life when you can, forgetting yourself a little and taking an interest in others, using a pleasant tone of voice, making yourself agreeable, cultivating your charm, giving and receiving and showing generosity. Then smiles and kindness, respect and affection will do you good. Friendship means a chance to share your worries.

Tip 6
Keep contact with the younger generation. This is still possible despite today no longer being an era of the extended family which had meant naturally occurring contact across the generations. The trick is to be young at heart, not expecting too much of others who have their own busy lives but simply being receptive, retaining a taste for life and a desire to pass on one’s experiences and lessons learned.

Tip 7
Make the best of your looks and find new ways of making love to your partner. Don’t bury your own sensuality and desire in old age.

When we grow old we are not in love with the other person’s physique but with his or her presence. Think of beauty as something intimately tied to emotion. It is what we call charm: the depth of a look, an expression in the eyes, a dazzling smile.

Charm does not grow old, nor does emotion. In fact, both can even gain in depth and intensity with age. Learn about the tradition of the Tao of Love a Chinese spiritual path. It recognises that it takes longer and is more difficult to attain orgasm if you are old.

Although sexual relations may be slower and less active it can become more sensual. Sou-Nu the governess of Emperor Huang-Ti declared  ‘A firm hard member which is thrust roughly in and out, is of less value than a weak soft member which moves gently and delicately.’

Tip 8
If you are widowed, and the loss of the partner was a great ordeal, it is possible to work through a bereavement by internalising the company of the deceased loved one and still feeling their protecting presence.

Tip 9
Live in the present moment by savouring the good times and forgetting the bad (why forget anything? It is bad for the memory).  Rediscover your ability to be enchanted and amazed, in old age allowing your curiosity to be stimulated by being open to new experiences. You can still learn from life for old age can bring new things.

Tip 10
Find peace with the past and with yourself by taking stock of your life. Ask yourself  ‘What was it all about?’ Give expression to unshed tears, repressed anger, and self-delusions.

Forgive yourself for your failures. Be prepared if necessary to pay for past mistakes and negligence and put your life  in order before leaving the world’s stage.

It’s never too late to change for example from being a bit of a grumpy, selfish depressive individual who spends life complaining and annoying others: but to do so will require an inner awakening and great effort and forbearance.

Tip 11
Accept help when it is needed. Make needed changes to where you live. Do not feel diminished by receiving personal care. It is possible to entrust your own body to the care of others without embarrassment or sense of humiliation.

Tip 12
With old age, one realises that everything of this transient world passes away. Why not try searching to find something that doesn’t pass away?

This could mean listening to what is inside you; an inner part of yourself that is more important than your external side. If you have the courage to explore your own depths you can draw upon them. Allow the part of yourself that does not grow old to live.

Those who have explored this spiritual path have let go of worldly things they had been attached to and said they have found something eternal in which they felt they could put their hope and trust.

Paul wrote in the Bible ‘Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.’ (2 Corinthians 4:16).One can leave one’s ‘little me’ and receive a higher consciousness: when one is in contact with the Spirit inside oneself, one never feels isolated or cut off.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

havau22 | January 30, 2020 at 10:44 am
Note 1: I have been taking care of my elder parents of older than 90 and it has been trying. My father died after being bedridden for 2 years and had to change him, clean him and feed him. Now is the turn of my mother and she is Not in any sustainable condition.
Actually, after taking care of her for 6 years, she passed away after constant pains for an entire week: This is the hardest situation of being exposed to constant pains for 3 days and nights and Not knowing how to be of any help.

Heavenly haven for terminally sick; (Mar. 17, 2010)

            Are you afraid of regular hospitals? You should be.  These centers of health care where a patient is a corps to be operated upon and dispatched quickly to make room for other patients. Palliative health care facilities are the opposite of regular hospitals for the terminally ill: the patient is the center of attention; pain and suffering is the target of treatments; the dignity of the patient to die as comfortably as feasible is the goal. Palliative facilities welcome the brave incurable patient who opted for stopgap measures on relentless treatments and experimentation of protocols: he decided to taking charge of his destiny and dying peacefully.

            Usually, palliative facilities are associated with mobile network of medical groups managing terminally ill person in their residences. These kinds of network medical care units are constituted of representatives of physicians, nurses, psychologists, and administrators working as a group to catering for the well being of the patient who decided to spend most of his dying days at home. The team notes down the patient’s needs and wishes, tends to the financial, clinical, health insurance, psychological, and social demands and regulations related to the patient; and it can be contacted 24 hours 7 days a week for feedback and critical moments.

            The first meeting is done in the presence of the treating or family physician that must agree with the team and also be part of the association. They cooperate for the kinds of treatments, medicines, approaches, and methods.  The mobile team does not deliver medical care but coordinate with health insurance, the appropriate specialized physicians, nurses, and pharmacies ready to rush on call for emergency needs of the patient.  The patient is the center of the activities in the team system; the patient can stay at home as long as his health conditions permit. For example, when the person is in terrible pain then the wife or a member of the family can call at 2 am, say what was given to the patient so far, and the mobile team would give the proper feedback of what to do next or just pay an emergency visit.

            In periods of relative acalmy when the patient is feeling fine then the team would call or just pay a visit: the team is like this brick wall patients and family members can lean on.  Mobile teams charge double a visiting physician but they take the time by the patient and meet with him to synthesize and evaluate the progress of the illness.  This mobile system save a lot to health care institutions and State health budget since the patient is taken care of in his home.  I think these mobile palliative teams are suited to gather the most complete relevant data in a timely manner for the progress of an illness for health researchers.

            Hospitals dedicated to palliative health services are very different from regular hospitals.  These specialized hospitals are concerned with the terrible pain and suffering of a terminally ill patient; they tend to his physical, emotional, and mental requirements as the patient gradually feels dispossessed of life belonging, control, and management of others.  The patient comes to these centers because he decided to stop treatments for his ill and just wish to be relieved of the pain, suffering, and indignity.

            As you enter a palliative facility you hear “Here we take charge of your suffering. Suffering less is feasible” There are no limiting visiting hours; you may bring kids and even pet animals to visit the patient; a private kitchen is completely equipped for family cooking or heating of plates; there are furnished spaces for an entire family to feel comfortably at home.  Family members and friends can sleep over. Patients are allowed to redecorate their rooms with pictures, paintings, and special furniture. Patients can go outside in their rolling chairs and wander in the park, watching farm animals in total liberty, or taking naps in the sun. Medical personnel do not wake up a patient to eat but wait and reheat plates. Quality of life in the last days of a patient is the name of the game.

            In “Intimate death”, Marie de Hennezel writes “I learned three things from life: first, I will not avoid my death or any member of my family; second, man is not reduced to what we think we are seeing: he is far larger, far deeper than our judgments; and third, man has not said his last word yet: he is capable of transforming to a mighty person throughout a series of crisis and life’s trials”

            France passed the Leonetti Law in 2005 which says: First, relentless therapy is illegal; second, patient has the right to refusing treatment, including forced artificial feeding; third, physician must use all of what is available to reducing pain and suffering of the patient; and fourth, patient has the right to write his final wills as anticipatory directives and to designate the person in charge of respecting and enforcing the final directives.

Note: I got aware of this topic from the book of Sylvie Garoche in “Quand la vie tutoie la mort”




January 2023

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