On Matters of Life and Death

Once again it is five in the morning and I am now taking requests for wake up calls.  Really, send me a note and I will call you!  I was up late last night talking on the phone about important shit with someone, so I am amazed I am up this early.  It’s funny how you can talk to some people for hours about almost anything.  I have never met this person but they are starting to take shape through the conversations we have and I enjoy our talks.  Just as I was typing that last sentence the phone started doing this funny beep and the screen started flashing.  Weird!

Okay, back to the subject at hand.  It is almost a compulsion for me to get up and write so I don’t ignore it. While driving to the store last night for coffee cream, I started thinking about death and dying. Our culture does not want to talk about death or getting older ( at least not in a constructive or deep manner) and I think we really need to start.  Ads are filled with anti- wrinkle creams, pills, and procedures to make you look and feel younger.  Sad, sad world we live in that doesn’t want anyone to be happy with where they are and doesn’t celebrate the lives and wisdom of our elders.  So next time you are in a coffee shop ask someone their opinion on death. I dare you!  You might get banned for causing a disturbance so don’t try this in your favourite cafe. I can imagine how that conversation would go.  Perhaps it will sound like this:

“Hi, I was just wondering what you thought about death.”

“Excuse me?”

“Death, I asked what your thoughts are on death.”

“Oh, do you need some kind of help?”

“No, I am wonderful. I just wondered what you thought.”

“Whose death are we talking about?”

“Yours.”

“Are you threatening me?”

I think most people would dance around it and never have a genuine discussion about it.  Well, I want to.  I want to delve into the murky world of death and what that means. Does it even have a meaning?  I have been present at the moment of death for four people.  Both of my parents, a patient I worked with for 2 years and my husband Howard.  Each death was as different as the people who were dying.  There are so many ways to die and so many people dying it would make sense that no two deaths would be the same.  There are similarities for sure but the differences outnumber them.  Oh yes, I have died as well and they managed to resuscitate me.  I have absolutely no memory of the event but was told about it and it scared the shit out of my surgeon! Apparently they had trouble bringing me back.  I think I may have wanted to stay dead.  Just to clarify, I am not depressed or suicidal and this is not a cry for help.

I am being honest when I say I am not afraid to die but I am afraid of the many ways it can happen.  So it is not the dying it is the method of dying that scares me.  I have a good idea how it is going to happen.  I have dreamt about it a number of times and I hope it happens just the way it does in my dreams.  I am alone in my bed when it happens and I leave my body effortlessly. One moment I am alive and the next I am standing beside my body looking at it, with no fear, no remorse, just a feeling of peace.  Sounds great as far as death goes.  While there is no certainty that this is how it will happen the recurring dreams I have over and over again usually come to pass.  I’ll dream about someone and then meet them a few weeks later.  The funny part is these people usually end up becoming an important part of my life.  See I don’t think it is strange that I have dreams that eventually come true simply because it has happened all my life and is part of me.  My father had these dreams as well and he dreamt of his headstone and saw the date 1986 beside his name.  Only it wasn’t his death, it was my mothers and his name was right next to hers on the plaque.  My father believed for years that he would die in 1986 and technically his dream wasn’t wrong because a huge part of him did.

I don’t believe that I will cease to exist when I die.  I don’t think anyone does.  This is just my belief, you have your own and that is wonderful, I am not trying to convince you of anything.  In my world view of energy and spirit we only cease to exist in this physical form.  I was sitting outside one morning last summer before Howard passed away and I sent my prayers, asking for the strength I needed to get through this, out into the universe.  My eyes were closed and I was praying my heart out with tears streaming down my face and I felt my father sit beside me and put his hand on my knee.  I say felt because my heart felt and recognized the energy of the first important man in my life, my Dad’s love had a certain gentle energy to it.  I think he was trying to comfort me and let me know I was not alone.  Every time I have been going through difficulties I feel my ancestors within each cell of my body.  All of their individual lives, hopes, dreams and struggles are part of me on a cellular level and our energies are still connected.  I can’t see them but I feel them in my darkest and loneliest moments and I also feel them during moments of great joy and triumph.  My ancestors are part of me and they live still in my heart and my blood.

I’m glad I am not afraid to die.  I see lots of people who are and have noticed that those are the people who are not really truly alive.  Sure they go about their daily business but the fear dulls the joy of being alive and robs them of some beautiful and precious moments because they are too afraid to look.  I say look!  Take a close look at the people around you.  They are all dying, that is the only consistent thing among all of our lives.  You start the dying process, in a way, the minute you are born.  You cannot avoid it so stop trying to pretend it won’t happen and live.  Live dammit and live like you mean it!  My goal is to live with fearless joy and love others with my heart wide open.  My new mantra, live and love with my heart wide open. You are going to hear it a lot.   Thanks for listening with your hearts and remember that I love you all, yes even the grammar police.

 

Hug everyone around you and live like you mean it

Donna

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