Death and All of His Friends



It appears I have slipped— twice subconsciously, and once consciously.

In looking at the first two posts of my new blog home here, I see that their titles are related… and so I have deliberately balanced this Trinity with a third:

D E A T H .

Over the past month, I have been contemplating and looking at Death more closely… and his friends Impermanence and Not-Knowing.

It began with the unexpected blow of a new and unfathomed viewpoint on death, specifically suicide.

On April 16th, 2010, I received the news that two of my dear friends were no longer on this plane… these two were absolutely the most giving, most loving, most encouraging couple I have ever met or even heard of… a complete example of living generosity and support… they were happy, healthy, astoundingly creative and successful in multiple artistic fields… and they uplifted and validated me personally, even when nobody else did.

At the beginning of the year, they decided they were going to retire. They reduced prices on all their artwork and jewelry and stained glass, sold their collections of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia and statues and figurines, and exchanged it all for a grand tour of Europe. They were going to see all the places they’d always wanted to see, and come back to a simpler life in a smaller apartment… they were off and having a blast!

And then we (as well as the international news feeds) got word… an American couple had made a suicide pact in Rome, intentionally overdosing in their hotel room, leaving a note reading, “We want to die together in the City of Eternity…”

What!
Them??

How is that even possible the nicest people??

Only the severely depressed and hopeless commit suicide… right??

How could they??

Never in my wildest imaginings would I have comprehended anyone— much less people I actually knew— would choose to end their own lives out of… happiness!?

Even though I understand their spiritual viewpoints, and agree with and believe the same, it was still such an unexpected blow to the mind… I cried so hard I could not take a breath.

They felt they had completed their life… fulfilled all they had desired… found and lived true Love, Knowledge and Wisdom… knew they were much more than these human bodies, and that death is by no means the end that this life had not been their first and would not be their last… and chose to leave in each other’s arms, together, before health fled them, before one of them was left alone one day

Beautiful to the Broad View… tragic to we who cling…

“Selfish!” cry some in their grief, including myself in the beginning “How could they rob us of their presence in our lives?”
 
And yet at the same time there is a rejoicing present, that those two were blessed to have had the option to choose when and where and how, and move on…

I found myself asking, “But what about their house, and their stuff, everything they’ve worked for and built, and— good Lord!— their beloved dog-children!” 
 
But what is it we can take with us when we leave this planet?
As I placed myself in their shoes, a releasing began to wash over me…
 
If you know you are leaving, you don’t care what stuff you have anymore.
 
And we are all leaving.
 
That triggered a further shift in perspective on possessions in my own life that had already begun its work when my fiancèe and I moved in together, with our 6½ year old triplets, and newborn on the way— after I had lived alone for seven years… that adjustment required a lot of flexibility and letting go, both of a perfectly ordered environment and my stuff not being moved/touched/used/handled… when you sit back and remember you can’t take any of it with you anyway, and none of it is in fact “yours” to begin with, it makes it a cinch to simply laugh and enjoy the entertainment around you…
 
Which introduces Impermanence.
 
All things change… nothing EVER stays the same… our very bodies change with each breath, not to mention our mind and thoughts and feelings… no matter what we are feeling in the heat of the moment, no matter how gripping and life-or-death it may feel, just wait… it will always change… shift… pass…
 
Our brand new cars will not always be shiny, not always work… our clothes wear out… even our friends will not always be around.
 
One day our parents will no longer be here… one day our partner will no longer be here… one day our children will no longer be here… even we ourselves are not guaranteed another hour…  
 
How can we NOT treat others in our Life as if it were the last time we would see them, speak to them?
How can we waste endless hours worrying about physical stuff, or things we cannot change?
 
There is a Buddhist concept taught of realizing something is already gone, already changed, thereby enabling us to become fully present and enjoy what is now, while it still is… and also enables us to honor it and release it with gratefulness more open-heartedly when it does move on… this applies to all things, from a drinking glass to a family member. 
 
But Impermanence is not only “negative” aspects of loss… a flower or a tree grows and changes into greater beauty each day… when something is upsetting or uncomfortable for us, we sit and be still and wait, it will change…
 
And it is in the clinging to, the desire for something to remain the same that we suffer… nothing can stop the progress of impermanence, whether we consider it as negative or positive… And I think it is the fear of the unknown that causes us to do so… we would prefer to be in control, to know what is going to happen if this, and what will come next if that
 
I was once floored by a teacher who referred to this as “the wisdom of uncertainty…”
Wisdom?!
You’re kidding, right?
 
This is called “Not-Knowing.”
In not-knowing, we can embrace a flexibility that is not weakness, as some may view it… but is in fact a strength… a “going with the flow” of “what is, is,” providing us with a clarity and wisdom free of gripping, constricting, and clouding panic.
 
In looking back, have we ever been truly harmed, destroyed, or snuffed from existence as things we had no control over or knowledge of the final outcome loomed, arrived, and passed?
 
Yet this is not saying we are helpless to take action, that we should sit meekly by and care less about what happens… there are plenty of moments when the inspiration and the knowing of what we can do or should do hits— then we leap!
 
Death takes our hand… as it eventually takes everyone’s… and leads us step by step to the bottom line…
 
L O V E .
 
Our Selves,
Our Family,
Our Community,
Our Universe.

And this is where my meditations upon Death have led me these last five weeks: Life.
 
As Coldplay sings, in their song of the same title as this post,
“So come over, just be patient, and don’t worry…”
 
 
 
. . . .
Thank you, Jack and Rhonda, for continuing to play a role in my Life and growth… even from your new vibration.
I am eternally grateful…
I love you both!
Namaste ૐ
 
 
 
.

One comment

  1. Melissa Rae says:

    Death has a way of gripping us when we least expect it to …. Today I walked into a church …. for purposes of work …. had to park half a mile away … worried my car would get towed …. huffed and puffed into the building …. and looked to my left. On the table there was an adorable, blond headed boys face appearing again and again. Blue, white, and yellow flowers adorned the church hall. Sad music was playing. It was this small child's funeral. All the people … the reason I parked so far away …. were there to console the parents and say goodbye. Teary eyed, I walked up the stairs … 8 months pregnant…thinking too about my baby boy and his memorial service …. and remembered how death can get stuck in one's head. I've been to many MANY funerals and memorial services of babies. Boys. Girls. Tears through sun and rain. Pink. Blue. Yellow. And without a doubt …. I believe there is always a reason for this particular brand of pain …. for those of us left behind.I love you. Your blog is amazing. xo

Leave a Reply to Melissa Rae Cancel reply