One thing Chaplains do is to bring peace to the troubled. In hospice and palliative care peace helps those transiting this for the world to come to exit unburdened. It is best to finished business in this life level before making the final journey here.
In a hospice and palliative care setting options to reverse what they haven't done, or wish to do one more time are increasingly limited, if at all available through natural means. A good Chaplain will think outside the box to empower the,. Here are examples of actual uses of technology to address tying up loose ends.
Case One: Fishing and Boating. A good friend and former business colleague of mine was in his last days of a losing battle with throat cancer. He and I used to take our sons camping, boating and fishing in finger lakes, local rivers and creeks. In addition to bringing him cannolis (he could swallow the filling, not the shell), I also brought him magazines such as field and stream. He would tell me when I visited him, (towards the end read aloud to him) that he would surely go in peace if he could just one more time feel like he was out on the water, catching more fish than me. There were VCR's (now DVD's) of fishing shows, boating and fishing recordings which are very life like. The state of the art can help people pretend they are out on the water, communing with nature. I brought them, and we watched them together. His pain racked body would ease, you could see the tension in his neck, shoulders and upper back melt away when he imagined himself in the boat with those on screen. He would get so into it he would rib me good heartedly about how many aquatic creatures he would be taking home to fry up compared to my paltry victories. When things got the point where he was unable to even watch the VCR's, he told me he could still visualize them in his mind. That helped him accept his transition. He no longer felt cheated.
Case Two: Trip to Europe. A woman told me one of her life dreams as a student was to go to Europe. She wanted to see great architecture, museums, palaces, and other things about which she had read as a girl. When she met the love of her life, they left her native country to return to his and build their life together. A very good life is had been. The only regret she had is that she never got to see Europe. VCR's from the Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel. The History Channel. and documentary tapes about the places and things she read of, but never saw helped fill this gap in her life.
Case Three: One unfulfilled dream a person I visited towards the culmination of his life was that he always wanted to drive a brand new Cadillac. A man of modest means, this was never the case. There are audio-video games and other such uses of technology where a person can drive through streets, highways, and look at scenery. In certain versions, you can even play with scenery, and crowds on streets. It is all very life like, since memory got cheap, and soft wares got sophisticated. The combination of the software realism, and his imagination that it was him in his car of choice that gave him comfort. That is good enough. As my grandson says, "We can make believe".
Case Four: Photoshop, among other softwares, allows people to insert photos of people of various generations into the same picture, even if some are deceased. In this manner, one hundred years of family can be seated around a dinner or holiday table, with image manipulation. One lady I visited in her final days had a common wish I often hear expressed. Prior to her leaving this life, it would be easier to let go if only she could apologize to people she loved and had hurt. Also, there are those she will never see again, to whom she never got the chance to express her love for them, and what they meant to her life. These are loose ends that matter to the dying. Tying them up brings peace. If photos are available, such images can be inserted into whatever setting the person wishes. Sometimes, just looking at a picture and saying what they never said but wanted to brings peace.
From time to time, it isn't a bad idea to image yourself in this setting. What would you do that matters, while you still can? To whom would you say things, what would you say and why?
Whether you get a Chaplain like me or not, why wait and chance it? Best to do these things in real life now.
Peace and Blessings. Enoch.