I woke up this morning thinking about death. Thinking about all the ways it shows up in this life. Thinking about the relationship or lack thereof we as a community have co-created with death.
Death is always all around us. The end of a day. The rotting of fruit. The end of a book. The ending of a season. The last breath of a loved one or of our own. Everyday deaths have so much to teach us.
As we have moved away from killing our own food, taking care of our dying relatives and burying our dead we have forgotten some of how to live. We no longer take time to sit with our loved ones after they have died, to prepare their bodies for its next journey. To honor this vessel that carried their souls through this life that we were able to love, and hug and kiss. We have forgotten that you can’t have new life without something dying. We have forgotten how sacred life and death really is.
I was very blessed to have been with someone close to me while they were dying during the years that I gave birth to my children. I was able to see how closely related the two things are, how they each have stages. There is a beauty and sacredness in witnessing both, something being born and something dying. Maybe its because in those moments the portal to the next world is wide open and we get a chance to see that birth and death are really the same thing.
In the poem Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye she writes,
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. You must wake up with sorrow. You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth. Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore
Because we have lost this natural connection to death, we have also lost our natural connections grief.
I once heard (When I die by Barbara McAfee) that every night when we surrender to sleep we are practicing our own great surrender. I hope when my time comes I am able to let go so easily that it will be just like going to sleep. I hope my loved ones are all around me. I hope they take the time that they need to say goodbye to this body of mine. I hope they get to feel me slip from this world and into the next and in that moment get a glimpse of the divine.