Years ago I visited an uncle who was dying, and my aunt said, "Doesn't he look great?" I was on the spot. But I couldn't bring myself to lie, so I said something specific and honest. My uncle's eyes were still very bright and very intelligent - taking everything in and radiating out again his wonderful spirit. So I spoke of his eyes and how bright they were. I said, "You're still you. I can see that twinkle." I always wondered if that was right. I kissed him and held his had and told him I loved him. This article made me feel I had done the right things.
The article was also timely for me because I had just this past week delivered a meal to a friend who had undergone double knee replacement. Again, I was relieved that I did some of the things the author said to do: I gave my friend a hug. I did offer something specific - a dinner. And I stayed for a visit in which we didn't just talk about the surgery and physical therapy and pain. We also talked about goings on in our church and our kids.
My friend said she was so grateful to people in our church (First Congregational Church of Darien) because so many members had been kind and helpful to her. She told me that one member had come over and read poetry to her, which she really loved.
And I thought, "Yes, that is what we need to do for others - bring beauty into their lives. Lift them out of misery with good stuff like poetry, literature, music or art."