Norwegian version of this page


Preparation for death doesn't neccessarily mean only reflecting over ones life, but also thoughts about the future.

Image may contain: Vase, Metal, Glass, Brass, Artifact.

Those who have the chance, will normally wish to prepare themselves for death. For many, the period at the end of their life is a time for reflection. It is also a time when many find solace in being together with their family, with nursing staff and through their religious faith. Most people in Norway today die in institutions - such as hospitals and nursing homes.

A hospital priest tells that her job largely concerns giving response to the needs expressed by dying patients and their family. Her assistance often includes discussion, reading from the bible, prayer or giving sacraments - religious rites regarded as blessed by Jesus Christ. However, she believes that her quiet presence just in sitting together with someone can be the most important thing she does.

Buddhists and Hindus believe that the dying person needs peace and quiet in order to summon strength for the passage to a new reality after death, because thoughts in the moments before death can influence what happens after death. Buddhists believe that with a correct concentration at the moment of death one may possibly be reborn at a higher level of existence. Hindus also believe that concentration at the moment of death is important, but that this is connected with the sum of all their actions throughout life - their karma.

Hindus also believe that since the human body returns to the basic elements earth, air, energy, water and space, it is best to die while lying on the ground, and to receive a few drops of water from the holy river Ganges on ones lips before death.

Communion is the most important sacrament in Christianity. The believers partake of holy bread and wine in memory of the death of Jesus Christ. This is an action that comes to mind for many members of the Lutheran in Norway in preparation for death. "Viaticum" is a Christian rite that shall give the sick and dying strength on their journey to meet God. This is primarily used in the Catholic Church, but may also be given to Lutherans. The ritual is founded upon a citation from the New Testament:

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the lord. Ant the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

– James 5: 14-15

Many religious groups teach that a confirmation of faith will help in the moments before death. When death approaches, a Jew will recite shema, one of the most important sentences in the Jewish faith: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is One". Similarly, a Muslim should recite the shahadah: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger". Another person can recite this if the dying person is unable to say it him/herself. When a Sikh is close to death, family and friends will assemble to recite from the holy book Guru Granth Sahib.

Published Mar. 24, 2020 12:03 PM - Last modified Dec. 14, 2020 9:01 AM