So often when we think about death we think of a physical death but I would like to offer up something different. What if we really understood that death and birth are always happening. One moment dies and gives way to the next and the next. One day ends and a new one is beginning. We end one phase of life and enter into the next. What if we held the life/death/life cycle with love and respect.
What if we knew as Martín Prechtel has shared that grief and praise are the same thing. What if having a good death allows us the flow in and out and around and through grief and praise. Martín goes on the say,”When we are grieving the thing that we lost we call it grief but when we are grieving the thing that we got we call it praise. Because to really praise something you need to know what would be lost if it were gone.” How might this inform our experience of death, with ourselves, and with others.
This past weekend I experienced a good death and a messy death. With the first person, the good death, there was expressions of love, gratitude, grief, and dare I say praise. We were so grateful for the journey that we had been through together that brought us to this death of who we have been with each other. We did what was ours to do. Our journey had blessed us both and we could feel it all even in the grief of what was no more. We could hold ourselves and each of our responsibilities and was not expecting the other to carry our pain in any way. The second person, the messy death, was filled with blame, shame, and guilt. They were trying to get me to carry their pain. All the while trespassing my space. They weren’t taking any responsibility for this death that was happening between us. In this space the best I knew to do was to hold my ground and refuse to be a dumping ground for someone else’s pain.
I’m left thinking of the times in my life that I have been able to hold the good death and the times when I haven’t. The times we I insisted in dumping my pain on another. The times that I insisted on a messy death.