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Parting WaysNew Rituals and Celebrations of Life's Passing$
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Denise Carson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520251083

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520251083.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Vigil: Holding Hands at the Eleventh Hour

Vigil: Holding Hands at the Eleventh Hour

(p.160) Eight Vigil: Holding Hands at the Eleventh Hour
Parting Ways

Denise Carson

University of California Press

Vigil is a rite observed usually on the third day. It is called a wake in the Roman Catholic tradition. Family and close friends gather around the deceased for a viewing to say their prayers and goodbyes on the eve of the funeral and burial. Sitting vigil with the dying person is an act of support for the dying partner and for the caregiver. To sit vigil requires the recognition and acceptance of death. It is an act of honoring the final stage of life and helps to create a quiet and peaceful environment for death. During this state of acceptance there are no attempts to resuscitate. Often circles of friends, family, and hospice workers rotate the sittings so as not to overwhelm one individual caregiver. To describe the complexities of the rite vigil, this chapter looks at the life experience of Megory Anderson, a death doula or a spiritual escort to death's door.

Keywords:   vigil, death doula, funeral, burial, caregiver

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