The act of dying and how it affects friends and loved ones is difficult at any time of the year, but during the Christmas season it seems to intensify by a hundredfold. Many times in the past month during moments of silent lucidity, I've found myself lost in deep thought and when the realization that most of what happens in life are things meant for people to just accept without question, I struggle desperately with that acceptance especially when it involves the untimely death of a kind, gentle soul.
I know we all live and eventually die. The end unfortunately will come like an unwelcome visitor that we cannot avoid. As the end grows near, the ability to see a clear light at the end of the tunnel no longer exists. A new light emerges within us and we are able to let go of all we have known and loved as the light illuminates the pathway we all must take. That old phrase "and this too shall pass..." has vanished into some dark, abyss and what we are faced with is a journey into the true unknown.
The process of our final decline is a difficult process for all involved. We not only shutdown physically, but often times, we shutdown emotionally as well. At that point, hindsight and foresight become one very narrow view and a social death often times precedes the actually physical death we will experience. For many of us, we enter and exit life the same way...alone! Yet, how uplifting an experience it is to witness a family come together and rally around a loved one to make their transition easier. In the past month, I have seen courage as I have never seen it before. I know I have been in the presence of true love and amazing grace.
Each time throughout my life when death has called, I've asked myself what is death? Is it the end or a beginning somewhere beyond our comprehension? I know religious people can quote many passages from the Bible depicting how the afterlife will be. But can the afterlife really be a state of perfection for such imperfect beings? And how are we imperfect beings supposed to adjust to all that perfection? Won't all the harp playing and singing become deafening and maddening? Won't it make those blissful souls seated in such angelic dwellings wish for something a little more "earthly" or less perfect? A road less traveled, perhaps? I've never been one to go quietly into the night! The norm has always bothered me and as I get older, I find myself asking "why" a lot more often than I did during my defiant youth. For now, I smile knowing that I'll always sing a little off key and forget the lyrics from time to time no matter where I am or who I'm singing with.