I went to a Death Cafe recently. I never would have guessed that I would be hanging out with people talking about death on a Friday night, or any night for that matter, a few years ago. I felt as if I was among my people, people of all ages, some older than myself and many who were younger than me.
We talked about death, a lot. It was a death cafe for goodness sakes, but really what I heard was people sharing about living. I heard in each story about how these lovely people lived and died and how there loved ones are navigating the currents of grief. Some were tender from a recent loss and some were still tending to their grief from many years ago. I don’t think grief ever goes away, I think it changes over time, softening around the edges, hopefully a bit less painful as time goes on.
I like to think of grief as being out in the ocean. Initially, we are near the shore where the waves of grief come crashing over us and it causes us to lose our footing and carries us out to sea over and over again. But then over time somehow we learn to navigate the waves and currents and we surrender to the ocean. Allowing it to carry us out further where the waves aren’t so big, but find soft gentle waves roll over us softly and washes our tears away.
Being around death and talking about death, I find it makes people feel a bit uncomfortable. I hear a lot from people saying “I don’t know how you do it” and I think to myself how blessed I truly am. I have found that being around people and their loved ones at the end of life helps to remind me just how special and sacred life is. Life is precious. Every day is a gift. Every breath is a gift.
Guess what? Spoiler alert here…none of us are getting out of here alive. Perhaps if we talked about it more, maybe there wouldn’t be so much fear. Maybe we could start having conversations about death like we did at the death cafe. I believe COVID was blessing in some small way as it reminded us of our own mortality, because it affected everyone. It affected the entire world. I honor those lives lost to this virus and to the health care providers who cared for them. The number one fear in this country used to be public speaking and now it is death. It’s time my friends, I urge you to start the conversation with your loved ones. You have way more control over how you would like your end of life experience to look like. It can be beautiful.
I think that when we talk about death we are actually talking about living. Living a life of love, creating relationships and making memories. Sometimes it’s a bit messy but it’s all beautiful and imperfect. We are all spirtual being having a human experience. We are all just walking each other home.
If you ever want to chat about death, I’m your girl. We can dive deep or stay in the shallow end, whatever feels safe for you. But I bet we end up talking about living because thats what we do until we die. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie called Shawshank Redemption “Get busy living or get busy dying”. I’s time my friends!
Many blessings to you my fellow travelers.