I get so many e-mails from people who are afraid of death or who are dealing with the death of a loved one. Recently, my father died and I am still dealing with the aftermath of his departure. When someone has a close family member die, people are often unsure of what to say or do. Death is part of this journey we call life. Life is, after al,l a fatal disease; no one gets out of here alive, especially if we align ourselves with our body. Our spirits are eternal our bodies aren’t.
Since this week I received several e-mails from people struggling with fear of their own mortality, I decided to talk a bit about death and how to face it in a fearless manner. We have such an obsession with death as evidenced by the obsession with Michael Jackson’s autopsy and Princess Dianna’s death photos.
My mother was killed in a car accident, so I was appalled when I found out there were pictures circulating on the internet of Princess Diana’ s battered body still trapped in the car. Death is part of life. My Hawaiian kumu (teacher) calls it changing address and, in reality, that is all that happens; our spirit changes its place of residence.
Having sat and held the hand of both my father and my stepmother as they left this world, I have no fear of that transition. We celebrate birth, yet we mourn death. When we choose to look at death as a sacred part of life, our experience changes. It is all a matter of perspective. To our spiritual family, when we are born on earth, we transition out of our spiritual home. We could say we die in the spiritual realms and are born here on earth. So when we die here on earth, we are born again as a spiritual being.
I certainly miss the furry little body of one of my pets when the spirit left his body, but the love and all the memories remain. If I focus my attention on the loss of his body, I have an experience of profound loss. When I allow myself to focus on all the love, the wonderful spirits, and the wonderful memories I have, I can celebrate their lives and continue to feel loved.
One of my students worked in the intensive care unit and regularly saw people die. She said most of the time, just before they died, their face would relax and there would be a look of peace. When my dad died, he looked like he was smiling. All of our emotions are created by our inner dialogue, by what we tell ourselves about what is happening and not the event itself. So our experience of death depends on what we tell ourselves.
Grief is a process. The feeling of loss is real; it is just that we don’t have to stay stuck in it. When my mom died 20+ years ago, I was devastated for years. When my dad died, I was sa,d but I was rapidly able to move to a place where I could celebrate his life instead of mourn his death.
When a friend experiences the death of someone close to them, be there for them and just listen. Make sure you check in with them in the weeks and months following the death. The first week or so after a death, it seems as if everyone is there, and then a few weeks later everyone else has moved on.
When we allow ourselves to love death, we can live life more fully. Explore your beliefs about death and let go of any that stop you from living passionately. Play with the idea that death is merely a change of address, and see what happens to your experience of life as you embrace that idea fully.
Beliefnet had so many resources for grief too, here are a few:
With love and aloha,
Angels are everywhere; just open your mind and your heart to the signs.
Make Angels on Your Shoulder part of your daily routine and share it with a friend!