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Death: Our Inevitable Expiration

Concealed in Lady Life’s shadow exists her essential counterpart and dearest companion. Since the dawn of time, Life and Death have illustrated the necessary give-and-take required for love to flourish. The continuity of each force is reliant on the other’s prosperity- and our existence is molded somewhere in the harmony of the two. Death waits patiently as his lover provides us with the lessons intended to help us grow in this lifetime. And once our destiny no longer resides in the world of the living, Life gently places us in Death’s grasp, so he may resume care of us. The only certainty humans can claim of Death is that he has never faltered in fulfilling his inherent responsibility to Mother Nature. Death demands all blessed by life’s touch without discrimination. He is the tenacious magician leading our disappearing act- the choreographer of our great finale. Life giveth, and death taketh away.


Recognizing and processing through the reality of death’s prevalence in our lives is a courageous way to befriend it. Many of us have been conditioned to avoid this unnerving topic of thought until, of course, we are inevitably faced with the pain death inflicts. We shield our children from the emotions and questions associated with death; ironically depriving them of the durability gained by developing coping skills at an early age. Ignorance towards death correspondingly breeds ignorance during life. We can develop an invincibility complex that leads to poor decision making. We miss out on opportunity for an improved sense of gratitude. The longer we bury ourselves in denial, the harsher the reality check when facing death’s wreckage.


Learning of a familiar face passing on wakes up a sliver of our consciousness similar to the way emerging into a brisk February morning does. The spectrum of emotional turmoil that lingers from death’s touch instinctively throws all involved into a mindset of cautious compassion. Somewhere inside of us recognizes that souls are suffering and has no interest in inflicting anymore pain. No one knows quite how to act or what to say. A service can be filled to the brim with people talking about death and just about every one of them will be performing the same script. “They’re in a better place.” “They’re no longer in pain.” Slight variations of these verses spew and splatter all over in a genuine attempt to comfort those affected without skimming real emotional surface. But if you’ve ever been on the receiving end, you know how empty they convey when empty is all you feel. When you loved that familiar face with all of your being, your reality becomes a bitter winter morning. You feel raw. You crave real, raw conversation to relate to. You want to scream at the top of our lungs about how unfair it all is. You don’t even remember what the word condolences means at the moment.


I’ve strayed away from recalling personal experience thus far because I prefer to speak from a place of unity. I speak of the things “we feel” and “we do” because it is so easy to feel alone. And we are never, ever alone. We struggle unitedly. But I am just another struggling human. Yesterday marked six years since my mother’s transition into death’s care. Each year passing carries different emotions with it. My experience rings that time reveals all wounds rather than heals all wounds. Over-reactive tendencies unveil themselves as repressed resentments. New emotional triggers arise out my subconscious, revealing wounds I’d not known were ailing me. Opportunities for reflection show themselves and I have the choice to act or wallow. I have done both.


Grieving has no set pattern or remedy. I see mothers laugh with their daughters, and ache for the irreplaceable comfort from being in one another’s presence. There are times when I sing my son the songs embedded in my memory from her own voice, a twinge of sadness following every note. I melt into my baby’s warmth as I hug him to my body, recalling that my mother felt the same overwhelming gratitude when she held me in her arms. And I shatter. All the progress I’ve made is forgotten for the moment. I get angry because I just want my Mom. I get angry that my son will only know my Mom through memories composed in the past, never intended to write any together. I get angry that there are others all around angry and hurting and living in misery and dying in misery and it’s hard to justify any of it. I get angry because death makes me angry, but the idea of living forever makes me equally uncomfortable. And I have no control over any of it, anyhow, and that makes me angry, too. Opposing, are the frequent are the days when I am so immensely grateful to wake up with the perspectives I hold, that I know I’d not have gained without losing my mom. Her magnificence continues to mold me. I am driven by her passion to heal the very wounds inflicted by her absence. It runs through my blood. I honor her existence by choosing to see the beauty in the world. I choose to use her absence to motivate me into gratitude. Her endless love is the source of the love that I lead with.


We are here for an unknown reason, to be ripped away at an unknown time, for more reasons unbeknownst to us. People we love are taken from our lives and it’s all terrifying to face alone. So let’s talk about it. Let’s normalize talking about the emotions and fears we have associated with death. Let’s make healing our priority. Let us be the voices who aid the suffering in feeling less alone. Let us equip our young with the emotional tools to guide them through the hard times in life. Maybe openly acknowledging that we’re all destined to the same fate and on the same random time frame, will encourage us to stop arguing differences. Maybe it will encourage us to value our variety so we may thrive alongside one another in a life in the short time we’re granted. We can only know if we try.









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