Over the last year and half, I’ve been honored to witness one of my best friend’s mother’s (let’s call her “B”) battle with brain, lung and bone cancer. Not only have I gotten to see & support her experience, I’ve also gotten to do the same for her son, my friend.
I regard this time as invaluable and quite an honor. I’ve never been close to the dying process. I have experienced loss—both my grandfather and grandmother passed away a few years back. But, I was only there after they transitioned, so I didn’t see their decline. And, that is a whole different ball game.
This time, I’ve been upfront and center. I’ve watched “B” go from walking to walker to wheelchair to immobile. I’ve fed her and changed her and bathed her. I’ve seen her go from vibrant and alive to pretty much a comatose state.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s not been an easy process. Especially yesterday when the hospice nurse shared that “B” would most likely pass by the weekend. Not the easiest news to take in.
On a side note: Boy, do I have to sing praises about hospice. What an absolutely incredible organization. They really do take amazing care of not only the person transitioning, but also the family involved. Their insights into what to expect & what to do . . . to their delivery of hospital bed, oxygen, diapers and pain care. It is a gift. Their presence and just the simple fact that you can reach out to them anytime day or night is a real comfort at a time that can feel so lonely and isolating.
As I write this, “B” is somewhere in between. Her body is still across from me, working very hard to keep her here, but I imagine her soul is in the initial phase of returning home. A home where I know she will feel love and peace and no pain.
Never have I been more clear about the body’s role in our soul’s journey. Our body works so hard for us day in and day out, because that’s it’s job. It’s designed is to keep us as healthy as possible for as long as our soul requires.
If that isn’t the ultimate gift, I’m not really sure what is.
I feel lucky. Lucky enough to see a little more behind the curtain of death. Something I’ve been afraid of in my past.
Honestly, we go out the same way we came in—with needing someone else to care for us. Someone else to feed us, change us, bathe us and so on. We stare off into space the same way babies do. I believe that space is the sacred beyond. On the way in during birth we are leaving that world and entering this one. On the way out, the reverse.
Yet the strange thing in our culture is the dynamic difference between how each are viewed. Birth is celebrated. It seems like something everyone wants to talk about and knows what to offer as support. And, death is the opposite. It’s viewed as a loss, where most people shy away from the subject and aren’t clear what to offer as support.
It’s amazing how as a whole we are terrified of the unknown and death is the ultimate unknown.
Obviously, I will miss “B”. I will feel sad and grieve. That is part of my process. But, I’m not viewing her passing as a negative. It’s not a loss for her, it’s a gain. And, it’s also a gain for me because I got to know her and share a part of her life with her.
This experience has brought me comfort. Death isn’t scary. It can actually be really beautiful. Our souls simply outgrow our bodies and we shed our skin.
“B” has lived an amazing life and made a huge difference in the lives of those who knew and loved her. And, that’s what it’s really about. Today, I celebrate her life. I celebrate her choices. I even celebrate this beautiful lesson she is providing me before she goes.
In honor of her, I choose to live a little more out loud. I choose to respect this body and it’s role in my soul’s evolution.
This weekend, I invite you to try that on too.
With tremendous love,