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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial and Remembrance--Thoughts on Death

With it being Memorial Day--a Day to remember those who were lost defending this country's way of life--I am reminded that there are many others that we remember.   Memorial day is a very poignant weekend regarding death due to a death that occurred a few years ago.

My dear mother-in-law (mil) passed away on Memorial Day in 2009, and while it was not the beginning of the end of our nuclear family's stability (as that demise had already begun about 10 months before that when A found the bottle again after years of sobriety), it was a huge turning point in A's life--which being my spouse and the other parent of my children, meant it was also a huge turning point in our lives.  Cleta (my mil) was an amazing woman--beautiful, giving, caring, stubborn, strong willed, and strong.  Her passing to the next phase of life was sad for those left behind, but she left a legacy with her children and her grandchildren, her love to them and through them carried her spirit on ward.  Grief and mourning are a part of life, as the passing of a great lady reminded me. 

I have had a great deal of difficulty understanding A's reaction to death--not that I expect it to be the same as mine, and obviously as it was a parent who passed, the grief is much deeper, and loss felt much more keenly--there is no return from it, only a moving forward to find a new normal for life to stabilize to.  I will not go into everything, or really anything more about A's reactions and such, as they belong to A, not to me.  (though I will mention with joy that A has decided to go to rehab (as detox just isn't sticking for more than few days) and will be entering a program next week in an effort to work through a variety of issues--And best case scenario is that she will find healing, and come out able to rebuild a life in a nearby city, and be able to be a solid, nurturing, part-time parent to our children.  Minimum desire on my part, that she will find healing and be able to build a new life.--sorry long tangent)

But I have reflected often on my views of death since then, and am finding that I do not view death the same way that many people do.  For one, I do not believe death is the end--it is AN ending, but much like the ending of one book in a long series, just as birth is not THE beginning, but a beginning.  I believe that I existed LONG before this particular incarnation of me arrived on this planet in 1974, and I will exist long, long after this body has returned to dust (and with modern preservation that is a long time).  I believe that people's spirits are connected, in non-corporeal ways, and (well I will not go into all of it) but I believe that "soul mates" are really just old friends finding each other again in this incarnation, because on a spiritual level, they are still connected.  So when you meet someone, and feel that instant connection, it is because on a deeper, non-physical plane--you already ARE connected.  And I am not talking about romance either, a soul mate can be your best friend.  On a spiritual level you attract each other like magnets.  Oh--that is actually a whole different topic--very closely related though.

When someone we love dies--we don't lose them, they are still with us--not in some "they taught you and you carry their memories and love with you" kind of way--though that is also true--but they are still as close as they always have been--time out of mind.  Our spirits are still intertwined and on that level, there is no loss.  Yes, grieve that you can not hug them or call them on the phone, or have a corporeal relationship with them any longer--yes that is hard, that does make you cry, it makes me cry--I LOVE hugs.  But it is not the end, they are not gone anymore than I will be gone when this body gives out eventually (when I am around 97 years old--I've decided that would be a good age to live to).  Death is not the end--even though the loss of a dearly beloved may bring us to our knees and wrench a bottomless scream from your throat, even though the overwhelming sadness that comes with knowing that this you will never again be able to hug that them again or hear that voice, even though the idea of living life with a hole that can never be filled but just has to be gotten used to seems impossible--the fact is, if you are tightly twined together in this world, in this life, your spirits are intertwined in eternity, and you will meet each other again and again, in various ways and various relationships. 

Death is hard...loss is hard...but remembering that it is NOT the end makes it a little easier.  I do not fear my own death...I do not fear the death of loved one...I know that anyone I love who passes will be painful for me and all that love that person.  I know that it will take time to grieve, time to heal, and time to find a new normal.  I know that everyone's time is different, everyone's grief is different...But I also know that in the end--there is no end!

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