Spiritual Caregiving

A spiritual caregiver is one who listens with the heart and sustains the energy of the patient or family. One who is warm, non-judgmental, able to simply "be" with the sorrow, fear, jubilation, calm, panic, or whatever feelings the patient or family are expressing.

This is someone who has come to terms with his or her own mortality, and is comfortable with the full range of death and dying experience. Or, it may be someone who has not "come to terms" with death at all, but is present for the patient, on the patient’s own terms.

Spiritual caregivers do not ‘guide’ an individual’s process, but are open and willing to help the patient and family explore the sacred path that they themselves are journeying.

They need to be still with the dissonance of patients, or their loved ones, who may give no evidence of wanting to "come to terms" with illness and dying. This in itself is the spiritual journey at that moment. In the words of Saint Catherine of Siena, "All the way to heaven is heaven."

Spiritual caregiving recognizes that no matter what the outcome, it can be accepted.

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