Storytelling at Work
August 18, 2020
Words Written to Ease the Passing of My Friend's Dying Mother


A few days ago, I got an email from a friend of mine, in Denmark, telling me that her mother was dying and would I be willing to email a few of my stories to her that she might choose one to read, bedside, to her mother.

Whoa! This was not a request that had ever come my way before and I was not at all sure I had anything up to the task. Curious, I began looking through my stuff and, after a few minutes, found a few that seemed sort of possible and sent them on their way.

Tina chose this one and read it to her mother on her death bed -- her mom smiling upon hearing it, nodding, and squeezing Tina's hand.

Those three gestures -- the gestures of a 96-year old woman on her way to the Great Beyond -- a smile, a head nod, and a squeeze of the hand -- is probably the most meaningful feedback I have ever received, enough for me to live on for quite a while, indeed, but the next morning, when I woke up, there was yet another message from Tina -- this one explaining that her mother had, at most, only another 30 minutes left and... would... I... be willing to send another story?

Tina's mom's hands.jpeg

Stunned, humbled, knocked for a loop, I wiped the sleep from my eyes and tried to think of something I'd written, something, that might be good enough for Tina to read to her mom, now only 30 minutes from death's door.

Nothing came to mind. Nothing I'd ever written felt right for the moment. Nothing fit the request. And then... I got it! NOW was the moment to write it. No mussing. No fussing. No time to waste. And so I did. And here it is:

"I know it seems as if you are dying, mother, but there is no such thing as death. What we call death is really just the walking from one room of your house into another -- a room with much bigger windows, fresher air, and an even better view than anything you have seen so far. The only thing that ends is the body, but the soul flies free, forever. As always, you are in good hands, God's hands, the hands of life, what gave you life in the beginning and will guide you on your way. We come and we go, like pilgrims, just for a while. We see, we hear, we think, we feel, but there is even something greater for all of us to experience and that is the journey you are now on. No one stays here, forever. We are guests, wayfarers, and traveling companions. In terms of eternity, you are leaving only a few minutes before I do. Both of us, like everyone else on planet Earth, is on the same journey -- the journey of letting go and waking up to who we truly are -- the love supreme, the breath of life, the gift we have been given and will always have. You have lived a good life. Be grateful for that. Now it is time to fly free. Wherever you go, know this: you will be guided and protected, always held in the arms of love. Always. Trust that. Go to the light. Fly free!"

NOTE: Out of this experience, only a few days old, I've decided to write a book of stories, reflections, and poetry for people about to depart: The Book of Last Days. I feel called to do this and, God willing, I will.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at August 18, 2020 05:08 AM

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Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

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Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Do you want to know more about the book before buying it? Click here for Mitch's response to frequently asked questions about Storytelling at Work – the perfect book for people who think they have no time to read.
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Storytelling is an "unconscious competency" – an ability we all have that all too often remains inaccessible to us. Enter the Storytelling at Work workshop – a simple way to activate this powerful, innate skill.
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Want to establish a culture of storytelling in your organization or community? Looking for a simple way to help people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other? Here's how.
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Click here to view and listen to a series of interviews with the author of this blog. Go beyond the written word. Listen. Feel. Elevate the conversation. Understand what the big deal is about personal storytelling.
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If you like this blog, you might also like Mitch's other two blogs: The Heart of Innovation and The Heart of the Matter. Mitch is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Idea Champions
When Mitch isn't writing, he's captaining the good ship Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. What their clients say.