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Near-death awareness - understanding and caring for a terminally-ill loved one

You have a mother, father, child, relative or friend who is terminally ill and nearing death. Questions are running rampant through your mind. How do I handle my loved one who is near-death? What do I say for support? Or, do I not say anything at all? And, then comes the critical question of “How do I help them move on?”

People who are terminally ill may meet or see a deceased loved one as my mother did.
Mary Eunice Beacom, my grandmother
My mother, Mary Jane DeRoche Beacom and my daughter, Summer Lauren Cooke in the nursing home
Sherryjane Cooke

I could only wish that I was there when my mother passed away as I was with my father. My father was in hospice, dying of cancer and as the hours went on, he began to see things at the junction between the top of the wall and the ceiling. He could not talk, as through the cancer, his voice box was removed. He tried to tell my step-mother what he was seeing by mouthing the words. She couldn’t understand him. But when he turned to me with the happiest, widest eyes and mouthed the words “God wants ME!,” as if he was a child just chosen for the world all-star baseball team. I knew then…he was experiencing what International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) calls “Nearing Death Awareness” (NDA.)

I had already shared my own near-death experiences with him long ago - what I saw and experienced. Later that evening, as the only one left at his bedside, I whispered to him that we all love him and always will. I told him that we six children would do well and that we would always stay close to Margaret, my much loved step-mother. He smiled so sweetly and seemed to feel the presence of peace, love and serenity.

Being the only one left to leave, I kissed him on the forehead, hugged him and turned to leave. What I saw from behind me was so spectacular and too lengthy to describe here, but it can be found in my article:

Now, after reading the book, Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Co by Callanan, Maggie and Kelley, Patricia (Feb 14, 2012) and reading a report Nearing Death Awareness in the Terminally Ill, published by Pamela M. Kircher, M.D, Registered Nurse Maggie Callanan, The Center for Human Nutrition Research of Nantes (Nantes CRNH,) and the honored IANDS Board of Directors, in a collaborated information guide, I know now that we have a guide to properly understanding Near-Death Awareness.

The report states that “People who are terminally ill may have a near-death experience (NDE) just before the final phase of their illness, but the remarkable experiences that are more common as death approaches are called Nearing Death Awareness (Callanan & Kelley, 1992), or NDAs.”

In these two invaluable resources the questions are finally answered. In these two invaluable resources, the questions are finally answered!

Continued in Part Two of A Guide for caring
for a loved one’s NDE and NDA in terminal illness

International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc. • 2741 Campus Walk Avenue, Building 500, Durham, NC 27705-8878 919-383-7940

IANDS or any of its local chapters can be reached at:
2741 Campus Walk Avenue, Building 500
Durham, NC 27705-8878

For more information about IANDS Founders, Raymond Moody, Ken Ring, Bruce Greyson and John Audette please click here.

As an educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) focuses most of its resources into providing the highest quality information available about NDE-related subjects. It is the only such membership group in the world.

IANDS is the informational and networking center in the field of near-death studies, the first organization in the world devoted to exploring near-death and similar experiences. Members are researchers, laypeople, academics, and caregivers; experiencers and non-experiencers; professionals and the general public; from every continent but the Antarctic.

Like IANDS itself, the Association's publications and programs are unique. The quarterly newsletter, Vital Signs, and the scholarly, peer-reviewed Journal of Near-Death Studies provide information and intelligent discussion generally not available anywhere else.

Around the US and Canada, 50 or so support groups meet regularly, with more in Europe, Australia, and Asia. For its periodic conferences in North America, IANDS pulls in top speakers, experiencers, researchers, and interested people for education, sharing, networking, and friendship.

The Center for Human Nutrition Research of Nantes (Nantes CRNH) was established in 1995 under the Ministry of Research at the initiative of INRA, INSERM, Nantes University hospital, and Nantes

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