Perhaps a seemingly morbid topic, out of place, in a space that is supposed to be an oasis from the tragic and sadness of the world. But the fact is that there is no escape from the tragedy of life. There are places to find solace and peace and places where darkness isn't the theme of the day. But don't be afraid to read this post. It's not a post of sadness and despair but a look at death in its most positive form. Is that possible? I believe so.
When I was seeing a midwife for my third daughter's birth I remember talking to her about her vocation and how rewarding it must be to help people into the world, to go home after a birth, knowing she had witnessed life. She confided in me that if she weren't doing this she would like to be at the opposite end of the spectrum, helping those readying themselves for the journey out of this life. I was somewhat surprised by this admission but on further thought, it made perfect sense.
Death has become a fearful topic. Even those with strong religious and spiritual beliefs often are gripped by the fear of that journey away from the known to the unknown. Our own mortality is often something we refuse to face, to believe will actually come, although we all know it will. I've had moments where I just don't believe it.
Why would someone choose to put themselves in a position to witness death on a regular basis. On talking to people, and having sat with my father as he passed on, I think I understand the motivation. The people who help guide the last passage of a person from this to their next adventure, often see death as a positive thing and a rite of passage rather than something to be feared.
It is often us, in our grief and sadness, that wish to hold on to our loved ones. In my own particular case, when the time came for my father to pass on, I had accepted that it would happen and I was ready to help him through those last moments. I remember the quiet of the room after the last breath was taken, the sense of peace and I remember thinking of the lines "and there she beheld the great seal" and knowing for the first time, what they meant. That seal of a new beginning, the seal of understanding that their is there as much awe and amazement in death as there is in birth, that, intermingled with our own grief, is the knowledge that it is as much of a privilege to pass from this life as it is to enter it.
In our own selfish grief and sadness, because we miss the physical presence of our loved ones we often forget this. We look at death in our society as something negative because of our grief feelings associated with the loss. And that is perfectly fine. I am still grieving for the loss of my father and miss his warm smile, his gentle voice, his great sense of humour, his patience and his wisdom. That will never change. But I no longer feel angry and cheated and I'm no longer afraid of the cancer that stole him. Because within myself I came to the profound understanding that he was claiming his birthright, that we are all born to live a full and complete life, and then die. Whether our time is long or short, whether we are taken by accident or design, to die is what we were born to do, after we live.
Death is a part of our existence as a human animal. To accept that it is a natural and accepted thing is to remove the fear from it and to put it into perspective so that our entire lives are not haunted by the spectre of that scary dark place. To know that the scary dark place doesn't exist but that the energy that is our true essence simply moves on, is to leave the fear behind and acknowledge that while we are here we are to live, until we die.
I am a human, I still grieve for the losses I've had, I grieve deeply for the mother who loses a child or the child who loses a parent for any loss of a loved one in our life is devastating. But to move on with peace in our lives we have to have acceptance and peace surrounding our own lives and our own ultimate deaths. And once we understand and accept we can grieve with peace and learn the lessons we've been taught from the experience. For we haven't completely lived, until we've died, have we?
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