On Death and Dying... What to Do When It Is Not Happening to Us

in life •  last year 


Death is a rather melancholy subject.

At least in my culture (the United States) we tend to deny idea of it. In film, our heroes narrowly escape tragedy only to miraculously live happily ever after. Death seems to taunt us but never really touch us. In life this is not the case. Death is a real and necessary part of life. Without death there can be no life. In nature there is a cycle of living and dying. Life brings death and death brings new life. This exists in humanity as well. The old die leaving room for the young to grow, learn and excel. This is simply how the world works. Why then are we so resistant to the idea, so unwilling to embrace the concept, so afraid of deaths touch?

I think, for many of us, our fear of deaths stem from our fear of the unknown. Designed to help us survive, we instinctively cower in the face of the unknown. Death is one of these areas that is covered in a shroud of illusion. Some have glimpsed through the veil, others have passed through it and returned to tell their stories. Today I am here to tell you mine.

At least to my conscious knowledge, I have never died.

However, I have experienced death first hand on a variety of occasions. The most impactful event has been the passing of my fathers mother. She had been diagnosed with severe Alzheimers and Dementia and for a while existed in the semi fugue state that arises when the mind begins to slip away. Over time we saw her fade and become replaced by a character whom none of us (our family) really knew. Maybe this was a part of who this woman was, or maybe it was a new personality that arose from the faulty wirings of her brain.

Over time her physical health began to decline as well. As her death grew nearer, she was moved from her Dementia unit into a hospice. Upon my fathers request, and my desire, I moved in with her to act as a full-time care giver. Not that I was an professional, nor did she really need the care (she was in an excellent facility), but my father and his sister liked the idea of a family member being with her as she transitioned.

When she first moved to hospice she had an exceptionally close call with death.

Overnight her vitals plummeted and she danced the line between life and death for the better part of a day. She was able to emerge from this event but ultimately the doctors and our family knew that her time was coming to an end.

Once again she was moved, this time to a late stage care unit. This would become her final resting place. I dutifully joined along, experiencing this whole thing as an open-minded observer. I had never seen death firsthand, knew nothing of it outside of what I had learned in textbooks, and was eager to be there with and for her as she passed.

One morning I awoke abruptly.

The time was approximately 3 am. I had set no alarm, had no intention of waking up at that time, but alas there I was. I knew instantly that my grandmother was about to pass over. I checked on her momentarily, her breath was short and raspy. There were great moments between each breath. It seemed that each exhalation would be the last, leading to a final, eternal silence. I remembered a bottle of champagne my parents had brought from the night before. I decided to grab it and put it in the fridge. I was going to celebrate this woman’s life rather than mourn and be sorrowful. I placed the bottle in the fridge and called my father to let him know the news.

In the span of the 5 minutes that it took for me to perform those tasks, my grandmother left this life. I feel that as soon as I left the room, she had the space she needed to stop living. I have no proof for this other than my knowledge of her personality, but I truly think that she wanted her personal space when she died (she was kind of uptight). When I got back to the room she was no longer breathing. It was over. I informed the nurse and then again called my father and let him know what had happened. He had been expecting it and took the news well.

Recently my second grandmother passed.

This time I was not fortunate enough to bear witness to her transition. Yet, even after she passed I relished in the opportunity to connect and interact with her. Some may think that my musings are just that, fabrications of my mind, but I hold a strong and sincere confidence that I, along with everyone else in the world, holds the power to connect with those that have crossed over just in the same way that we have non-verbal communications with those still living with us.

Both of these experiences, plus others I have had, have allowed me to shift my perspective on death. I do not fear the end of my life. While I hope to avoid a tragic and painful death, I am actually curious and intrigued about what the experience holds. From everything I have learned it seems to be a beautiful and incredibly complex process. I intend to do my best to experience my death consciously, and if this is the case, continue to experience what ever existence is like after my turn on the physical plane ends.

No matter what your background,

no matter what you beliefs on death are, we all have the ability to chose how we feel about this subject. I choose to look at death in a positive light. Whenever a family member or friend passes, I choose to celebrate their life rather than mourn their passing. I know for my funeral I want to have a great celebration where all of my friends and family can come together, connect and continue to celebrate their lives (no black clothes allowed). When we look at death in the eye we take back control. When we chose to live fearlessly we can walk our own paths knowing that one day death will come and we will greet him as an old friend. Choose to live your life however you see best fit. I choose to live mine as a warrior.

Hello my old friend, you will not take me today, but when you do come I will go with you smiling

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Death is apart of life, I consider it a balancing tool. Death is necessary to enjoy an value life, knowing any moment could be your last forces you to appreciate it.

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  ·  last year (edited)

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