When asked the other day about my first experience with death, this was my response:
In the third grade I eagerly volunteered to be a part of a death education film for the Catholic Church. I had not yet developed much of a concept of what death was at that time, in fact I really don’t think it occurred to me what I had actually signed up for, I just knew I would get to miss class and have pizza. In my 11 year old mind, I hit the jackpot!
Little did I know at that time, death would become my greatest teacher.
Since then, death has challenged me, torn me open, brought up my worst fears, kept me up at night, introduced me to grief, put me on a roller coaster of emotions, and it’s knocked me down right when I thought I was strong enough to stand on my own.
Some kind of teacher right?
Well, death has also forced me into the moment, filled my heart with a boundless amount of love, introduced me to inner peace, showed me the beauty of emotions and the power and liberation of a good cry, and how to reach out for a helping hand- giving up my defiant independent attitude.
Death is a teacher that will visit each and every one us one day, guaranteed. Just as we prepare a nursery for the birth of a new baby, may we also prepare the space within our hearts for death, befriending this teacher long before our time to leave the body comes.
I love these words of wisdom from Ram Dass written in Polishing The Mirror:
“The only real preparation for death is the moment-to-moment process of life. When you are fully present in the moment, there is no anticipatory fear, no anxiety, because you are just here and now, not in the future. When we are resting in our souls, death is just another closing chapter in a book.”
My wish is for everyone to rest in the moment, the sacred space where life and death merge together, leaving only one thing in it’s place, eternal love.
“Love & death are magnificent gifts which many of us leave unopened.” -Rilke