Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Death and Dying

I host a Spiritual Journey Meetup group that meets monthly. We met earlier this evening - the topic was death and dying. I'm always amazed at how Spirit provides in the way of support for each of these meetings.

With my mother's terminal diagnosis, I have been forced to look at my beliefs around death, my fears, to surrender and honor my mother's journey. This experience is what motivated the topic for this evening's meeting. A wonderful discussion of shares from personal near-death experience to the loss of loved ones due to illness. One of the attendees asked the group a really powerful question: Are you afraid of dying? Am I afraid of dying? I know that dying is simply a rebirth into another form - an exit from the human experience into the experience of something different, better. This new birth can be back to our original form of Light, the One Source, and/or eventually a new birth into another life. I am revisiting this question within myself, as I know this truth intellectually, but I'm not sure I'm feeling the peace that accompanies the understanding of what death is.

What I do know, and I believe is common for most, is that I am afraid of the process of dying. In my mother's case, I am slightly envious that she will return home and be met by loved ones, including her father who died when she was in her twenties, with celebration and joy. She's going home to Source. But I fear the process of illness that she will undergo to get to that exit point. And this fear is pure selfishness. I don't want to watch her deteriorate under the cancer, to watch her become a woman who isn't my mom as I have known her for 44+ years. No one would, for it is painful to watch a loved one go through pain, become vulnerable and helpless, and lose all capacity to independently function. So I know I'm no different, but it is a fear I must face and release.

So when the question "Are you afraid of dying?" was raised in the meeting, I realized that I am not afraid of dying, but of how dying might look. Just as I don't want my mother to suffer, I don't want to suffer. I realize the urge to "control" how dying looks, but that isn't possible, unless I choose suicide; and, uh, been there, and ain't doing that. But death is a part of the soul experience to be had in this human journey. I must honor my mom's journey. And if it involves a lengthy illness, I must honor her soul's choice to have that human experience. My being pissed off and upset about it isn't going to change how it looks, (though it's natural and healthy to express the emotions, the sadness and the anger as a natural part of the grief process) for having resistance to "what is" only serves to make my journey within this human experience more difficult, and drain me of the energy that's needed to support my mom, my dad and my family.

I have and will continue to grieve before her death; and when she crosses over, I will begin another process of grief. For in this experience, I am learning and understanding grief so I may be of support to others who have lost loved ones. While this human experience totally sucks, I can find moments in which I am grateful to be in it. I'm learning about living in each moment, surrendering in trust that God is present within this experience, and to let go of how it all looks. These lessons help me conserve my energy, and strengthen my ability to serve my family, and eventually, others.

Love and Light,

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