Death–the elephant in the room
No one really likes talking about death. It is a very charged topic. Death involves a lot of letting go, and oftentimes for most of us, letting go is a challenge.
Death seems to be all around me right now, knocking on the doors of family and friends’ family members. This energy has been around me for the last 3 years. I’m only now getting the message that maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something. Is it preparing me? I know death is a part of life, but it’s always seemed far away, just “out there” so to speak.
It all started when two of my friends’ fathers died. Apart from the death itself, the challenges faced by both involved dramatic family situations. Take my best friend, J., for example, whose mother was on a steady decline (due to Alzheimer’s) and NOT legally divorced from her father. J.’s father began having episodes that made her believe he only had a short while to live. Meanwhile, her father’s girlfriend began changing accounts, pilfering money, etc, so she could get what she thought should be her fair share once her partner (J.’s father) was gone. Dealing with keeping track of her father’s money and what was rightfully her mother’s, in addition to managing proper care for both, was an extreme challenge to say the least. It was, in fact, the most challenging year of her life.
Currently, my friend A.’s father’s body is in steady decline, yet his sheer strength of will shines through daily while he fights the hard fight in his life’s final “let go.” A. goes home every weekend to be with her dad and support her mom. This has been going on for a year and a half and is emotionally and physically draining. She is grateful for the time she gets to be with her father and say good-bye. It is a long good-bye, but in that length there is gratitude and preparing.
My father is hiding his decline. At times he’s got more bend in his back when walking, or his hands shake when picking things up. He doesn’t let on much about his diabetes. (He actually kept it secret from all of us for about a year.) He resists care, mad at the world for having this “disease,” not sure what on earth he did to deserve it. I think it’s hard not to think like this. And I’m panged with concern as I watch him change over time. The Universe is definitely trying to tell me something.
Birth and Death: Miracles and Agreements
On one end of life’s spectrum we have birth and on the other, death. Birth often brings people together. Death either brings people closer or gives them space to be apart. In both cases, (spiritual) agreements are involved.
Before we incarnate into our bodies we make agreements with our soon to be families. Yes, we incarnate with them on purpose, hard as that may be to believe. Over our lifetime these agreements can change, even end. This happens in death too. Because we don’t need our body anymore, agreements are ended and changed. We either distance ourselves from siblings or become closer. Perhaps we forgive a parent or someone we love with whom we’ve had years of anger, isolation, or resentment. Perhaps we feel free to be who we are and do not feel guilt or judgement about not meeting someone’s expectations. In death’s process there is freedom to become anew.
Death and birth are some of the highest forms of energy on the planet. It is a miracle to conceive and have a child. Have you ever noticed how many conceptions take place in the spring (think of all the people you know with January and February birthdays)? It takes 9 months to make a human body. It also takes a lot of energy to get out in the world through the birth canal–safe and sound.
While there is an anticipation in birth of joy and welcome, coming in, and salutations, there can be an anticipation in death too, especially for those who are chronically ill. This anticipation is usually not met with joy, but fear, anger, and denial. Yet there may be comfort and hope offered in that which we can’t see, in the form of spiritual guidance and visitation and the chance to reaffirm or change the tone and quality of relationships and life before leave-taking.
In birth, we have this high, high energy of vitality. In death the energy is different. If the energy of the body is in decline it becomes that much more of a challenge to validate the body and the upbeat emotions that accompany that validation. It’s difficult to have joy when someone is going away whom we love dearly and will not see again in a form we may not recognize for quite some time. It’s difficult to have a boundary and be separate when someone is taking their next step. It can even be difficult to rectify the life experience we had with this person and be okay with what transpired in the past or with what’s happening in the present.
When someone is dying, they are seeking to call back and gather their energy to move onto the next phase of their journey. They are wrapping things up, saying good-bye to their nearest and dearest while getting ready to vacate their body. The communication with their body is changing. Their bodies start to go offline in one way or another. Even though their bodies are dying, their being is not. Their being is either excited or scared about what comes next. Usually excited if they’re not resisting letting go.
Making Separations: Calling back energy
It’s hard to separate on a body level from someone we’ve shared our life journey with. It is most challenging to not match the pain, fear, or anxiety a loved one may be going through. Like it or not, we are very physically entwined with our parents, siblings, and children as we share their DNA. Our cells exchange information, our spirit gives back information: we end karma. It’s a HUGE deal. And anytime something HUGE is about to happen, there’s fear because we can’t control the outcome, no matter how hard we try. The chips will fall where they may. Yet we heal, and create something new.
As I write this I’m reminded of an old boyfriend whose grandfather spent most of his days in bed. He was on oxygen and would sleep away a good part of the day. To me that was him calling all of his energy back from his life experience to be able to take his next step.
I’m also reminded of when Pope John Paul II took his next step in 20__. Imagine you’re trying to move on but there are literally hundreds of thousands of people praying daily in your space that you’ll stick around. That’s very difficult to be separate from. But he did it, he moved on. That’s not a task for the weak at heart.
I digress. My whole point of this post is that it’s hard for us in general to accept change, and it’s hard for us to let go. It’s even harder to let go of those with whom we’re intertwined–emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But like birth, death is a miracle. And just like it is a feat to bring all of our energy into our bodies to create the divine spark expressed as uniquely us, so too is it a feat to take all of our energy out of our cells, wrap up agreements with those we’ve shared our life journey, and move on beyond the veil, to the miracles on the other side. And you know what? As comforters and caregivers, friends and families of those who are in the process, wherever they are in the process, we are the helpers and support in helping them get there, whether we like it or not. That’s the deal when we invited them into our lives. And for this we should be grateful, and compassionate, and know that we too, are angels.
Usually, if we’re close to the person, our energy is entwined with theirs due a lifetime of combined experiences. If it’s our parent we are both physically and emotionally entwined, as we share their DNA . In death, they seek to call back and gather their energy to move onto the next phase of their journey. And it is this space where I find no one wants to let go because that means our body-being communication; those of us who will go on living will change too. Our cells give back information, our spirit gives back information: we end karma. It’s a HUGE deal. And anytime something HUGE is about to happen, there’s fear because we can’t control the outcome, no matter how hard we try. The chips will fall where they may. Yet we heal, and create something new.
If you are going directly or indirectly through a death process, please check out these resources, as they have helped me along my journey in understand death, miracles, and life. Please feel free to share resources that you find may help others too.