LIVING, DYING, DEATH AND GRIEF
Isn’t it interesting that we don’t talk about something that is going to happen to every single one of us at some point? It is as if we speak about it, it will hasten it’s coming. Sometimes we just want to live our lives in denial that the very lives we are enjoying will come to an end. So then we are faced with our own mortality and that can be fearful. Who really embraces impermanence? But life is about holding on and letting go.
So here is the hard cold truth: You are going to die. It may take quite awhile to be in acceptance of that. I know people even on their deathbed don’t believe it and ofcourse their loved ones don’t want to believe that either. But it does happen, sometimes abruptly without warning and other times after a long illness. I have witnessed both, my father died suddenly when I was 10 years old and my step father died after a long battle with lung cancer that metastisized to his brain.
As a child, I didn’t know what to do with all the feelings I was having of loss, betrayal, grief and anger. There was no one to talk with to sort through these feelings that seem to come and go like ocean waves. I wanted things to be normal but they weren’t. My mother was finding it difficult to deal with her own grief let alone be able to hold the space for two daughters. Lots of questions with no answers and some of the things that people said were very confusing. Like “maybe God needed an upholsterer in Heaven”. Really?
My father was an upholsterer with a reputation of doing wonderful work. He was a pillar in the community and was dedicated to his church but at home behind closed doors things were a bit different. So when he died one of the hardest feelings to deal with was relief. But that experience is what I bring to those husbands, wives, sons and daughters that feel that same way after caring for their loved one for a length of time: relieved. Sometimes people feeling guilty for feeling relieved, not realizing that it is a natural part of bereavement.
Death is messy, complicated and an amazing experience much like birth. We talk about birth sometimes even before the pregnancy test is positive. We plan, we make important decisions like where and how, and then we have a “shower”. A party to prepare the soon to be parents with gifts and tokens of love for their new arrival. But rarely in our culture do we do the same for our death day, like really plan it and celebrate it. And then it’s over.
What do you want?
Out of Life -so that you can live more fully until your last breath
What do you want?
Your last days to look like – so that those you love can carry out your wishes?