A strange topic for our culture, but I dwell in these depths from time to time. Wondering what I can pull out of the dark to understand life more fully. It is clear we humans have instincts built-in, keeping us alive. We are purposeful survivors. Yet the cycle of life is impossible to turn away from. We’d be wise to look at nature's processes more closely, embracing both life and death for a change.
The hardest death I experienced wasn't anyone dying. I was 3 and my parents left me, because it was better that way. Letting go of the idea that they’d be back to pick me up on a white horse and take me way to my real home.. that heavenly place with family intact. Well that was the death of a fairy tale. I guess I’m no stranger to the grieving process because my parents died before they were dead.
While looking through my rose-colored glasses growing up, I learned to be coolly detached from reality and my feelings. Trauma will do that. With some consistent therapy and safe people to express to, I realized there were broken pieces I had to pick up. I had that purposeful survival instinct telling me I needed to see with my own eyes and heart again. As this process still unfolds I am confronted with dying everyday. This is a fundamental key to understanding that we are alive, to live fully.
I also went to many funerals as a child. Being in a small town, raised by grandparents, and in the church it was customary to pay respects to anyone that passed. I cried at every viewing, it is terrible to witness humans hurting and grieving their losses. And I’ll add it’s a little terrifying seeing a dead body dressed up like it's still alive.
Three years ago I was able to be with someone very close to me as her essence left her body. Beyond the raw truth that she was no longer there, I couldn't tell if it was a birth or a death. They felt the exact same. It was euphoric and overwhelmingly spiritual. Words would never describe it in its totality. The thing I took away from witnessing this transition was that this wasn’t the end. I thought to death, “Well now that we’ve been properly acquainted... I realize this won't be the last time we meet.”
That gets me thinking about dying everyday. Might as well jump right into it. Like when things don’t go our way. Or when we’re growing out of a situation that no longer serves us. It’s like a snake shedding it’s skin. Dried dead skin is no longer useful, really. When we become observers of these challenges, it’s not that they go away, we just become better at accepting both sides of the truth.
Even in a life worth living, which I believe all are, we face many let downs. We have to watch our shoulds crumble and fall away to die. The mysteries of letting go and not knowing what’s on the other side gets me flailing around too, sometimes. Surrendering can be a real shit show. But as we move forward, let's just let it be that way. Let’s be brave in knowing we will make it to the other side ready for the next adventurous cycle.
How do you get to know your own dying. Are you open to observing and embracing your own death processes? And if not, why do you think that is?