Art of Dying Volume II | Page 52

LIZZY MILES I feel like I was destined to do this work. I was shaped to do this work. I'm a third generation metaphysical on my father's side. In high school something connected to death and dying. I competed in a speech festival on persuasive public speaking. The topic was euthanasia. I won first place. My dad's sister died at the age of 13. The family story is that she became a ‘trail angel’ to help people cross over to the other side. It's so weird now coming into this profession. I feel like I'm a trail angel on this side. I Googled ‘trail angel.’ A trail angel is someone who leaves surprise beers for hikers on the hiking trail—something different and, finally, not so different than my family’s term. I had a shared death experience in 2010 in my final quarter of grad school that inspired my life and hospice work. Most people are familiar with the concept of the term, “near-death experience” which is when someone dies and comes back to life. A shared-death experience is when a person who is not dying experiences the dying process of another. The term was coined by Raymond Moody. When my aunt Jerry was dying, I had a series of incredible experiences. I felt her physical pain; I received telepathic messages from her, and I witnessed pieces of her life review. My aunt was very special to me, but I told other family members, she didn’t “choose” me. She was broadcasting I would say a good death is whatever the patient wants it to be. It's not my place to define someone else's definition of a good death. 52 | ART OF DYING