Let’s Talk About Death, Maybe

Vidette Todaro-Franceschi, RN, PhD, FT

Presented at the Society of Rogerian Scholars Conference, October 2010

   "There is a pattern in all this which I begin slowly to understand and which I am trying to codify.  The problem is that I lack the vocabulary."   The World is Made of Glass,   Morris West, 1983, p. 47.

Slide 1: Rogers’ Early Thoughts on Death

     “Pattern evolves with kaleidoscopic uncertainty coordinate with the nature of the man-environment energy exchange taking place through space time. Growing complexity of organization is an outgrowth of the multiple interactions occurring along the continuum of life.  When pattern and organization no longer exist, the integrity of the human field is destroyed and death ensues.    

       Death is postulated to represent a transformation of energy. In whatever way one may perceive events subsequent to death, relevant testable hypotheses are yet to be proposed. At the same time, the passing of a human life has its own objective reality. At death, the human field ceases to exist, and identity as a human being is gone.  The process of dying may be of long or short duration. It is a period of transition in which the integrity of the human field as such, diminishes and dies” (1970, p. 91).

Slide 2: Rogers On Death (A Little Bit Later)

Rogers (1986) noted, “Unitary human and environmental rhythms find expression in the rhythmicities of the living-dying process. Just as aging is deemed developmental, so too is dying hypothesized to be developmental” (p. 8).

 When I was grappling with these seemingly directional ideas as a doctoral student engaged in philosophic inquiry on ideas of energy, John Phillips (personal communication June 12, 1997; Todaro-Franceschi, 1997, p. 230) pointed out that Rogers later replaced the term developmental with that of change because she thought developmental might be construed as linear.   This would mean then that dying = changing;  death = change. 

Slide 3: Rogers Later Thoughts on Death

           “ …with the idea of fields, anatomy becomes irrelevant” (Rogers, 1988, p. 132).

      Sarter  (1988) noted “ I know you say that patterning continues beyond death—what we call death” (p. 133).  To which Rogers responded “ I talk about dying. What I say is that field patterning is continuous, and is not determined by something called death or nondeath, or by living or nonliving” (p. 133).

Slide 4: My Transformation of Rogers Early Thoughts on Death in Light of the New

     “Pattern evolves with kaleidoscopic uncertainty coordinate with the nature of the human-environment energy exchange  mutual process taking place through space time pandimensionally and manifesting in the relative present. Growing complexity of organization is an outgrowth of the multiple interactions changes occurring along the continuum of life throughout life.  When pattern and organization no longer exist, the integrity of the human field is destroyed and death ensues.

      Death is postulated to represent a transformation of energy. In whatever way one may perceive events subsequent to death, relevant testable hypotheses are yet to be proposed. At the same time, the passing of a human life has its own objective reality. At death, the human field ceases to exist, and identity as a human being is gone.  The process of dying may be of long or short duration. It is a period of transition in which the integrity of the human field as such, diminishes and dies” (1970, p. 91).

Slide 5: Key Premises of the Science of Unitary Human Beings (Rogers, 1992)

       Human beings and their environments are energy fields that are integral-inseparable.

       Change is acausal and occurs all at once and all the time; it emerges from the human-environmental whole.

       No dichotomies

Slide 6: Rogers (1992) Principles of Homeodynamics

       Resonancy -The way change occurs;  lower and higher wave frequencies; emerging pattern manifestations of wholeness

       Helicy - Nature of change; continuously innovative;  increasingly diverse; unpredictable; occurs simultaneously for person & environment

       Integrality-WHOLENESS-Oneness Context of change; integral human-environmental field process; person and environment cannot be separated

        

Slide 7: Select Work  (related to Ideas of death in the SUHB)

       1977  Rawnsley- time perception among dying and non-dying

       1979  Ference- time, creativity traits,  differentiation, human field  motion

       1989  Ference- comforting the dying- practice according to SUHB

       1990  McEvoy-dying, paranormal events and creativity

       1990  Madrid- caring for the dying-practice

       1996  McGaffic -death awareness field pattern coding (1998)

       1987  Todaro-Franceschi  concept clarification of energy (1992)

       1997  Todaro-Franceschi  philosophic inquiry of energy (mind-body, soul consciousness,  cosmos,  living-dying, NDE, synchronicity)

       1999  synchronicity related to dead loved ones

       2003  the use of synchronicity related to dead loved ones in focused group bereavement healing work

 

Slide 8: More Work

       1998       Watson-beyond waking experience

       2001        Johnston  preferences related to audio enhancement  in the dying environment (Human Field Image also significant for topic)

       1993        Gueldner,  Human Field Motion also significant for topic)

 Still Others:  Phillips, changing human potentials; Reed-self-transcendence; Hills & Hanchett-enlightenment;  Butcher’s Theory of Unitary Aging

 

On a basic level all of the Science of Unitary Human Beings literature is related to  the topic…

Slide 9 One of the Most Significant: Comforting the Dying (Ference, 1989)  

Dying- “is a multidimensional transformation of the human energy field in which patterning falls outside of the visible light wave spectrum” (p. 199).

Living-“That which we can see is the pattern of wave frequency that is within our visible light wave spectrum” (p. 199)

Slide 10: Energy Field Pattern in Relative Space-Time
                                                        Both What is and is Not Discernible

 

Figure 18-3, p. 199.  Adapted from Ference, H. M. (1989). Comforting the dying: Nursing practice according to the Rogerian model.  In J. P. Riehl-Sisca (Ed.), Conceptual models for nursing practice  (3rd ed.)  (pp. 197-205).  Norwalk, CT:  Appleton & Lange

 

Slide 11:  Energy: An Exercise in Concept Clarification    (Todaro-Franceschi 1987-1992)

                                                                Antecedent

                                                   Higher Order/form/entity

                                                                         I

                                                      Defining Attributes

                                      /                                                         \

        Different forms of energy , forms                     Evidenced in the purposeful activities

        interconvertible;  Autonomous                         of all living and non-living  things.

        existent;    Integral invariant; never lost/destroyed

                                                                           I

                                                             Consequences

                                                                          I

                                                         Mechanical work

                                                   Potentiality & Actuality

                                                Change (Transformation)

                                                                        I

                                                                    Uses

                                                         /                                   \

                                              Mechanistic                        Dynamic

                                              Being                                     Becoming

                                              Quantitative                        Qualitative

 

Slide 12: The Enigma of Energy 4 Premises

 

All is essentially one.

Change is an inherent characteristic of the one

Change is purposeful.

There is a reason for it all.

       

Slide 13:  What is Healing?  (Todaro-Franceschi, 1998, 1999)

          Traditional View : Energy as process

       Humans react to the environment in positive ways result-ing in improved well-being.

       Occurs by way of cause and effect.

       Death is the complete loss of energy. Absence of life

 

Unitary View : Energy as phenomenon

       Humans transform-change, in unique purposeful ways.

       Occurs by way of communal process.

       Death is another (different) manifestation of energy, another way of being/becoming

 

Slide 14: Applying A Unitary View of Energy To Death & Dying (Todaro-Franceschi, 1999)

   Dying is a manifestation of energy transforming from a physical state of being to a nonphysical state of still being. In other words, we are always becoming (not simply being). Death is the transformation of one’s essence, not the cessation of life--just the end of physical life as we currently know it to be.    

Slide 15: Unitary View of Death

   …dying is a normal part of the human becoming process, in which the human energy field continues to exist after physical death.  Indeed, Rogerians often say, “we don’t die, we only change our cosmic address.”  Human beings are believed to be forever actualizing potentials in mutual process with the rest of the cosmos.  

(Todaro-Franceschi, 1999, p. 84)

 “The story of man’s becoming is written in the constant transformation of energy that persists throughout the universe and finds expression in life’s capacity to complexify” (Rogers, 1970, p. 56).

 Living- human-environment transforming;   Dying- human-environment transforming

Life = Death =Changing = Transforming = Becoming

 

Slide 16: Change occurs simultaneously as lower and higher wave frequencies. But they are all one….

Waves In An Ocean (As told by Morrie to Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie)

 A little wave was bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He's enjoying the wind and the fresh air, until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.

"My God, this is terrible," the wave says. "Look what's going to happen to me!"

Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, "Why do you look so sad?"

The first wave says, "You don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't this terrible?"

The second wave says, "No, YOU don't understand. You're not a wave, you're part of the ocean."

 

Slide 17
                                                              Energy
All is essentially one;  change is an inherent characteristic of the one;  change is purposeful;
there is a reason for it all
         /                                                      l                                                 \

Openness                                            Pattern                                  Pandimensionality
                                                                l
Resonancy                                             Helicy                                       Integrality

                                                               |

                                                Living-Dying-Living

                                                               |

                       B ecoming (actualizing potentials purposefully)

                     Continuous transformation, always new, innovative

 

Slide 18:  Living-Dying-Living

·        No life after death.  Life-Death-Life = ONE

       Just becoming=changing-transforming, always new

        Present, not absent

       Not physical, or non-physical

       You, me, we, all one. 

       Becoming purposefully, actualizing potentials

 

Slide 19: Explaining Death Para-Phenomena

No dichotomy of mind and matter: “They are two aspects of one and the same thing, energy….And it seems that as we die—as we transform from what seems to be a tangible form to an intangible state of still being—we become acutely aware of the fact that all is essentially one” (p. 86).

 Near Death Experiences & After  Death Communication are possible and perhaps even probable, from the viewpoint that energy is a phenomenon, which never stands still and is continually changing. From this view, nothing is ever lost, just changed.     (Todaro-Franceschi, 1997, 1999)

Slide 20: Synchronicity

Assisting individuals through communal process to become more aware of the creative, purposeful nature of the universe, can enhance involvement in creating change.  

Increasing awareness of synchronicity can assist individuals to further actualize their unique potentials

Synchronicity related to dead loved ones: A natural healing modality

 

Slide 21: What is the experience of synchronicity related to the death of a loved one?

  Do these experiences help to create opportunities for personal transformation and enhanced well being for the bereaved individual?

  Does increased awareness and group discussion of synchronicity enhance the healing process?

2 Multiple Case Studies (N=9; N=5)Funded by two Professional Staff Congress , CUNY grants 1999, 2003

Synchronicity Related to Dead Loved Ones: A Natural Healing Modality

 

Slide 22: Death Awareness Field Patterns  Cheryl Mallernee McGaffic, 1996, 1998*

       Field pattern-Pragmatic= Death is the end of life

       Field pattern-Imaginative=Life beyond death

       Field pattern=Visionary= Death is a new existence

* Published and circulated as a handout  during  her presentation at the SRS conference at NYU

Slide 23: Death Awareness Field Pattern Coding Dictionary (McGaffic, 1996, 1998)

Field Pattern                        Definition

Greater Diversity                Continuous mutual living-dying  process

Seems continuous              Transformative, created reality                                                      

Seems continuous              Living-dying fluctuations

Timelessness                       Living in past, present & future time

Visionary                              Death is a new existence

Beyond Waking                   Mystical Awareness

Slide 24: Pattern Seeing

       On April 11th 2002 Cheryl was the keynote of our annual spring forum; her presentation was on “Diversity in Dying: Culture and Meaning in End of Life Care.” 

       At that same conference, I presented my first research study findings on “Exploring Synchronicity Related to Dead Loved Ones As A Natural Healing Modality.”

       Our Hearts Are Naked, Cheryl 1958-2002
October 28th 2010 
8th Year Anniversary of Your Death

      Slide 25: Pattern Awareness & Manifestations

              Death Awareness Field  Patterns                  Associated  Living-Dying Pattern Manifestations

                     McGaffic, 1996, 1998)                                                 Todaro-Franceschi, 1999, 2010

Greater Diversity -  Continuous mutual living-dying process

 

Mortality awareness and appreciating  life

 

Seems continuous- Transformative, created reality

Living  the moment with attentiveness to the past and future

 

Seems continuous  -Living-dying fluctuations

 

Recognizing meaning  and purposeful change

 

Timelessness   -  Living in past, present & future  time

 

Sensing connection and unity

 

Visionary  -Death is a new existence

 

Ø  Making visible the invisible

 

Beyond Waking- Mystical Awareness

 

Ø  Seeing the unseeable

 

 

Ø  Knowing  (acknowledging) the unknown

 

 

Ø  Pandimensional awareness

 

 

Slide 26: A Unitary Theory of Living-Dying-Living

From ideas inherent in the enigma of energy and the Science of Unitary Human Beings, a theory of living-dying-living indicative of the universal rhythm of unceasing becoming, has unfolded.

Living-dying-living is oneness unceasingly becoming, actualizing potential, purposefully changing.

 The following poem Blue Against Blue written by Marjolein Bastin poignantly depicts the above unitary theory of living-dying-living:

Blue Against Blue 

This heavenly blue butterfly

will fly high in the sky,

higher and higher.

The sunlight will touch the blue on its wings

until it seems to disappear.

We think it is gone, because the blue of the butterfly is the exact same blue of the sky.

We think it is gone, because our eyes are too weak to see—

and it is difficult to believe what we cannot see.

But the blue butterfly is not gone.

It is still flying,

higher and higher, near the sun.

Blue against blue.

For now and forever.

 

   So, let’s not talk about death…let’s talk about life, maybe.

   Slide 27: Walking This Talk

       “A new approach to studying the dying process is provided….The nature and continuity of field patterning subsequent to dying, while admittedly a difficult area to study, nonetheless is open to theoretical investigation” (Rogers, 1986, p. 8).

       From studies employing unitary ideas of living-dying emerge novel ways to assist, through mutual process, the actualization of human potentials.

Select References (there are others!)

Ference, H. M. (1979). The relationship of time experience, creativity traits, differentiation, and human field motion: An empirical investigation of Rogers’ correlates of synergistic human development. New York University doctoral dissertation.

Ference, H. M. (1989). Comforting the dying: Nursing practice according to the Rogerian model.  In J. P. Riehl-Sisca (Ed.), Conceptual models for nursing practice  (3rd ed.)  (pp. 197-205).  Norwalk, CT:  Appleton & Lange.

Johnston, L. W. (2001). An exploration of individual preferences for audio enhancement of the dying environment.  Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science, 9, 20-26.

McGaffic, C. M.(1996, 1998).  Death awareness field pattern coding dictionary. Handout given at  1998 NYU SRS Conference.

Madrid, M. (1994). Participating in the process of dying. In M. Madrid and E.A.M. Barrett (Eds.) Rogers’ scientific art of nursing practice (pp. 91-100). New York: NLN

McEvoy, M.D. (1990). The relationship among the experience of dying, the experience of paranormal events, and creativity in adults. IN E. A. M. Barrett (ed.) Visions of Rogers’ science-based nursing (pp. 209-228).  New York: NLN.

Rawnsley, M. (1977, 1986).  The relationship between the perception of the speed of time and the process of dying. In V. Malinski (Ed.), Explorations on Martha Rogers’ science of unitary human beings (pp. 77-83). Norwalk, CT: Appleton-Century-Crofts. 

Rogers, M. E. (1970). An introduction to the theoretical basis of nursing. Philadelphia, PA: F. A.      Davis.

Rogers, M. E. (1986). Science of unitary human beings. Pp. 3-8.  In V. Malinski (Ed.) Explorations on Martha Rogers’ science of unitary human beings.  Norwalk, CT: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Todaro-Franceschi, V.  (1998).  The enigma of energy:  A philosophical inquiry.  (Unpublished  doctoral dissertation, New York University, New York, NY.  (UMI No. 9819881)

Todaro-Franceschi, V.  (1999).  The enigma of energy:  Where science and religion converge. New York:  Crossroad Publishing Co.

Todaro-Franceschi, V.  (2006a). Synchronicity related to dead loved ones as a natural healing modality.  Spirituality and Health International, 7, 151-161.

Todaro-Franceschi, V.  (2006b). Studying synchronicity related to dead loved ones AKA  after-death communication: Martha, what do you think? Nursing Science Quarterly, 19,   297-299.

West, M. (1983). The world is made of glass.  New York:  William Morrow.

Watson, J. (1998).  Exploring the concept of beyond waking experience. Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science, 6, 39-46.

 

  DEATH & DYING