Professor at Dartmouth Medical School Dr. Ira Byock shares with the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) four key items to keep in mind in order to maintain a whole relationship. He’s also the Director of Palliative Medicine, and has been involved with hospice care for over 30 years. In emergency medicine and private practice, he created a foundation to work with palliative care now full-time. Keeping your relationships current and complete is critical with end of life care. Think of it like a circle: There’s nothing broken or left undone.

“Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you” are the four must-have items, and they’re just 11 words. It’s a way to ensure nothing is left unsaid. What if someone died suddenly (and not just those in hospice care)? These four phrases are often the biggest regrets, and it’s something you can say on a daily basis. You just have to be mortal, not dying, in order to utter these four phrases. Leaving something unsaid can traumatize a person, and it’s so easy to prevent this circumstance.

A Fuller Life

Every relationship is worth mending, tending, and nurturing according to Dr. Byock. Humans strive for perfection, but we’re all imperfect. The next best thing is learning how to apologize. It’s how you can still be in relationships that blossom. It’s critical to be gentle with yourself and others. Your loved ones might be prone to saying things they wish they hadn’t. They’re just like you, so gentleness is huge.

Forgiveness is an unattended area of human life, and a skill so many people don’t hone. It demands giving up all hope for a better past, while not letting the past dictate the future.



Jessica Tyner Mehta

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta, born and raised in Oregon and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is the author of numerous books including poetry, fiction, short story collections, and creative non-fiction. Her novel The Wrong Kind of Indian won gold at the 2019 Independent Book Publisher Awards (IPPYs). She’s received several writer-in-residency posts around the world, including the Hosking Houses Trust post with an appointment at The Shakespeare Birthplace (Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK), Paris Lit Up (Paris, France), the Women’s International Study Center (WISC) Acequia Madre House (Santa Fe, NM), the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (Nebraska City, NE), the National Parks Art Foundation at Gettysburg National Military Park, and a Writer in the Schools (WITS) residency at Literary Arts (Portland, OR). Jessica received a Halcyon Art Labs fellowship in Washington DC from 2018-19 to curate an anthology of poetry by incarcerated and previously incarcerated indigenous women and is also a member of the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Incubator co-hort in Chicago. She is the recipient of a 40 Under 40 Award from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), received a Barbara Deming Award in Poetry, and was a Top 10 Pick from Portland Story Theatre for “Indian Burns.” She serves as the Associate Poetry Editor for Exclamat!on, a British peer-reviewed journal, Associate Poetry Editor for Bending Genres literary journal, poetry editor at Airlie Press, and is the former President of the Board of Directors for VoiceCatcher journal and non-profit. Jessica has led writing workshops around the globe including at the International Women’s Writing Guild summer conference series and has taught poetry at various institutions including The Loft Literary Center. She has received numerous visiting fellowships, including the Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship at The Lilly Library at University of Indiana Bloomington and The Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship at The British Library. Jessica’s doctoral research focuses on the intersection of poetry and eating disorders. During her time as a post-graduate researcher, she received a Researcher-led Initiative Award and Humanities PGR Activities Award from the University of Exeter. Jessica founded MehtaFor, a writing services company, in 2012 which serves a variety of clients including Fortune 500 enterprises and major media outlets. MehtaFor received two national bronze awards for Startup of the Year in 2015. Jessica offers complimentary writing services to Native American students and non-profits based in the Pacific Northwest and/or serving Native communities. She received her master’s degree in writing from Portland State University in 2007 and established The Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund in 2013. It’s the only scholarship exclusively for Native Americans pursuing an advanced degree in writing or a related field. Jessica is also a registered yoga instructor (500-RYT®), registered children’s yoga teacher (RCYT®), certified Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP®), and NASM-certified personal trainer (CPT). She’s the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga and strength movement, which offers free classes to groups that don’t have access to traditional yoga studios and/or don’t feel comfortable in such environments.

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