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Our Life is About Life June 6, 2012

Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
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While talking to some friends the other night I was reminded about how part of the hospice team consisted of someone to help with the emotional/spiritual side of things. It got me thinking about how K and I had never called upon this person for help, at least not while K was alive. Afterwards I did arrange an appointment for grief counseling which was of big help.

The fact is, that while K was alive neither of us felt like we needed a conversation about spirituality or about anything we were experiencing emotionally. Looking back we were amazingly grounded.  This is one part of our journey I feel very satisfied with. A lot if this “groundedness” had to do with our involvement in the development of our own personal peace and appreciation for life for many years. Our common understanding and experience played a big hand in the way we related to each other and to what was happening. Even during the most difficult times it gave us a base of understanding from which to get over whatever we encountered.

It’s one thing to know that everything will go fine on a physical level, i.e. to have the power of attorney in place, have the assets divided up properly, etc., but it’s another thing having to face leaving the world and head into the unknown. It’s an amazing sensation to have our mortality so exposed and to feel the irreversible power of it. Our perspective changes considerably. What was important yesterday becomes trivial today.

We are all presented with and taught so many ideas of what happens after we die but in reality we either choose to believe something or accept that the mystery will be revealed in good time. But there is a third approach as well, and that is experience. In the book I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, The Wheel of Life, Elisabeth Kubler Ross devotes a chapter to her extensive study with people who went through a clinical death but returned to life. The stories from those who returned, about their experiences, were all similar and very hopeful. Some were enjoying their death so much they didn’t really want to return but only did so because they said there was still something left unfinished. We can’t prove the experience of any of these people as true but for them the experience was profound and often life changing.

During the last couple of weeks K was alive, her brother and sister-in-law were over the house to help out for a couple of days. Her sister-in-law and I were talking in the living room while K slept in the bedroom. She asked me about our belief in what happens after death. She knew we spent a lot of time listening to Prem Rawat and were practicing going within ourselves, which some people refer to as meditation, so she was curious as to our belief and how we approached this subject.

I thought it was caring and brave of her to ask and it came from a genuine place.  The question was interesting to me because it was not something K and I discussed very much nor felt we needed to. It just wasn’t an issue. The lack of discussion wasn’t because we were afraid of the subject or didn’t talk about things; it was because we both agreed that we will know for sure what heppens when we experience it. She had a great confidence that whatever was coming next was good, but that was completely experiential and came from her experience of life itself. The rest was speculation. Experiencing the joy of life, just on its own, provides a consistent and dependable comfort and it doesn’t beg for answers nor does it generate questions. Being in the moment was the most real thing for both of us. We had entered unexplored territory and we were the explorers.

During those last couple of weeks I could see and feel K withdrawing into herself. It was not scary nor did it cause me to feel rejection. It was as if she was preparing to move on by allowing the ties to our world to drop. It was very gentle and I felt a great respect for process. There was something holy about it. It was full of kindness for both of us. When I think of the simplicity she embodied at that time I still get overwhelmed. She was not seeking any entertainment or distraction from the process; rather she appeared to embrace it. There were, of course, the physical disturbances, but each time we took care of those things she was able to peacefully go back to moving inwards. The most important thing was to provide her as much physical comfort as we could muster so she could go through her very personal end of life journey.

Whenever anyone came over the house, whether the hospice nurse, family or friends, they always remarked about how “peaceful” everything felt. If she saw you and smiled it was from a place of such a pure joy that it would melt the hardest heart. These are memories that will never leave me.

Feeling grounded in the understanding of life may have been one of the biggest assets we shared. For K it gave her a focus, calm and an ability to go through some very tough stages with no visible fear. For me it provided stability, sanity and the ability to attune myself to K’s needs.

I guess you can say we had been both preparing for this for many years, even though we were not preparing for anything but rather looking to enjoy and be amazed by existence. For us it was a matter of embracing life and recognizing it as a gift. Taking time to understand life and to find inner peace is something everyone seeks even though we go about it in different ways. Our life is about life, not death, and it gives us is the ability to enjoy even if there is only a little bit of it left. In the end having that peace in our hearts will be one of the remaining things we’ll be able to do successfully.

WOPG: Words of Peace Global is a website devoted to the message of Prem Rawat. Prem Rawat is an internationally recognized spokesperson on peace with human insight that has helped people around the world from all cultures and religions. Many free audio and videos can be found under the “ webcast/ video-on-demand”  menu.

The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying  – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross . A memoir of her amazing life.

On Life After Death: Elisabeth Kubler-Ross  This is a collection of essays taken from her research done with 20,000 people who had experienced clinical deaths but returned to life.

Comments»

1. blessedbebeth - June 8, 2012

“During those last couple of weeks I could see and feel K withdrawing into herself. It was not scary nor did it cause me to feel rejection. It was as if she was preparing to move on by allowing the ties to our world to drop. It was very gentle and I felt a great respect for process. There was something holy about it. It was full of kindness for both of us.”

First, and foremost this is so eloquently written, but also as always your words are very moving and profound. This is the part of the journey, with mom that I most want to capture. The transition – wow!!!! I am looking at some combination to photo journal the parts that do not have words, a few words, and maybe a video.

When I set out last year to post the daily photos of my face last year during a course of topical chemo treatment (February – May-iish) it was a lot more difficult than I originally anticipated, but I am so glad for all that I learned about myself in the process. I have the same sense of importance now. I hope that courage is a muscle memory as I am certain that this journey will be a lot more difficult to ‘see’.

It seems very similar process to the births that I have been privileged to witness. (I have experienced the dying process with others but only once with a family member and it is so differently direct)You continue to resonate as a pioneer who leaves cookie crumbs to follow, they are both nutritious, and delicious.

Thanks as always, for a terrific post. Beth from middles capes.com


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