The author of “Sacred Transitions: Taking a More Conscious Role with Dying,” Julie M. Milne, PhD, has a wealth of credentials that involve psychotherapy, metaphysical practices, and working with those that are preparing to transition. When her own mother began to decline, Dr. Milne put these practices to work on both herself and her mother. Instead of feeding into the despair of the impending loss of a cherished mother, she set out to create a beautiful environment in which she could transition peacefully. She also continued to practice her energy work and therapy on herself. I admire her for doing this because in doing so she created a lovely environment for both her mom and those around her. Losing a parent is a difficult experience. It is a time where it is easy to let yourself go and eventually fall apart. By adhering to her principles Dr. Milne gained a stronger sense of her own self and thereby was able to fully appreciate the beauty of her mother’s soul as it prepared to pass.
Dr. Milne made a deathbed promise to her dad that she would take care of her mom. She honored this promise. Many times it was extremely challenging to do so, especially when she had to deal with incompetent or uncaring medical staff. On the other hand, she had a great deal of support from her family, and from a wonderful hospice staff. Having these people in her life helped to ease the burden.
“Sacred Transitions” is divided into two sections. The first part is titled, “The Journey into Death as Rebirth.” In this section, Dr. Milne takes us through the experience of preparing for her mother to transition. This involves the loss of her mother’s health and her placement into assisted living. As she further declines she continues to need more and more assistive care. Watching her mother decline both physically and mentally challenged Dr. Milne to do everything she could in her power to try to help her maintain her faith and her dignity. This involved advocating strongly for her care, praying with her, and doing her metaphysical work.
When she finally does transition, the experience is incredibly powerful and beautiful. I also felt that Dr. Milne was left with no feelings of regret because she did everything she could for her. In this time, she also experienced her own healing in areas of forgiveness. Being able to forgive and move on opens up doors for more powerful healing experiences to occur.
The second part of the book is titled, “A Handbook for Family, Friends and Caregivers.” This section offers a wealth of resources to help the people involved with those who are dying. The Bibliography in the back of the book is also an excellent source for resource information.
I felt that these two sections create a perfect resource for the caregivers and loved ones of those who are preparing to go. By making the experience as peaceful and as positive as possible, not only will the caregiver feel relief, but they will also not have any regrets that they didn’t do enough.
Personally, I have lost a tremendous number of people that I know recently, in a short period of time. It has hit me very hard. I also spent the past year helping care for my boyfriend’s mother as she started letting go. Caring for her was very difficult because she did not want any help or medical intervention. When she finally passed, we were with her, and it was very peaceful. I wish I had read this book sooner so that I could have put many of the practices discussed into place. On the other hand, when we were in the ER with her, I did do some energy work and saw something beautiful happen that made my faith unshakeable. I can’t go back and try to do better; however, I can move on with my life and keep in mind that there is a lot to do for helping loved ones take on a conscious role in the process of transitioning. I can also focus on improving the quality of my own life, and getting back on track spiritually. In doing so, my life will become more beautiful and meaningful, and within myself I will feel more complete. By doing this, I will be prepared for when my time comes.
I highly, highly recommend “Sacred Transitions: Taking a More Conscious Role with Dying” by Julie M. Milne, PhD, to loved ones, caregivers and the terminally ill person. If everyone reads it and knows what to expect, it will be easier to put the practices to use.
Sacred Transitions: Taking a More Conscious Role with Dying
Julie M. Milne, PhD
Outskirts Press (2012)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/12)