We have a lot to learn in this world but specifically about death. We have a hard time letting people go. And then there is the mourning and grief process. For some people they’re able to move forward, and for others they dwell in their grief for years.
My first exposure to death was when I was 17. People in my family had died over the years, but I didn’t really know them. This was the first time I knew the person. I was close with my Papa Paul. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without him, but at the end of his life he wasn’t truly able to live. He could no longer read and had trouble taking tape off a present. We had his funeral during the Ice Storm of 1998. There was no electricity at our house or the funeral home. The minister needed a flashlight to read his notes. My first experience with the grieving process was unique, but I have come to realize that the process of funerals and memorial services are as the unique as the person themselves. I watched my grandmother during the funeral. She had lost her husband of 57 years and the word that has always come to mind is stoic. I never saw her cry. She soldiered on. I learned that you soldier on.
My most recent experience with death happened only a few weeks ago. My Aunt Louise was 96 years old and had been in and out of the hospital. Her family asked for prayers. I prayed that if it was in her highest and best good for her to stay that she stay, if it wasn’t for her to have a peaceful transition to the other side. She was with us only a few more days. She was like another grandmother to me growing up. She had always been there. She was there to guide us and support us as she had so many others. But it was her time to go. I posted a message on Facebook in tribute to her. I received a multitude of condolence messages. I knew that she was in a better place. Aunt Louise was a person that deserved to be recognized in death with praise that she didn’t need in life. As we have done many times over the years, we gathered. When most of your relatives pass in their 80s and 90s, you learn to celebrate their lives. We told stories and laughed. There were some tears, but she wouldn’t have wanted us to be sad. She had accomplished everything that she had set out to do. She was welcomed to the other side by a pack of dogs and the family members that had passed before her. Her journey was complete.
Death is an opportunity to pause and reflect. What do you admire? Where are you off your life path? I cannot speak to the death of a spouse or child because that isn’t something that I have experienced. Longevity runs in my family. I am one of the fortunate ones. I have had the privilege of getting to know all four of my grandparents and their siblings. I got to know who they were and while I miss their physical existence, I know they are around me. I still have my own journey to pursue.
Death is one of the few certainties of life. We have an opportunity to view things differently. We can still communicate with our loved ones, but we may need a translator. They communicate with us in our everyday lives. During my aunt’s reception, the lights flickered. Her and our extended family was with us in spirit. They are still part of our journey but are no longer part of our physical world.
How do you view death? Do you celebrate their legacy? Let me know. Do you want to know more, click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.