Death

Written by on October 29, 2007 in The Healing Journey with 2 Comments

On my birthday week, I want to talk about death. Somehow it seems fitting. Not because I’m depressed, but because I am encouraged and feel stronger within myself than in my youth.

My growing fine lines, the appearance of more white hair and whiter white hair, the change of the texture of my skin and the slowing of my metabolism do not trigger a panicked desire to run in the opposite direction. That happened over a decade ago for a couple of years. I’ve moved to a place where I feel the desire to stand with my feet planted firm in the ground and look at what awaits me straight in the eye.

Ronni Bennett, one of my all time favorite bloggers, made an awesome post not too long ago entitled “On the Advent of Our Death“. My approaching birthday at the beginning of the 2nd “half a century” of my life makes me contemplate this reality, that seems to move closer to me with each passing year.

She writes,

Ageism. However wrong it is, however much individual pain and debilitating consequences result from it and how many people are harmed is, to a degree, about fear of death.

She includes a number of quotes about death down through the ages from the book, “Light on Aging and Dying” by Helen Nearing.

I was not only thrilled to find out about this book, but the author’s life was simply inspirational. She was a fascinating woman who left an incredible legacy along with her husband, Scott. Perhaps, when you live a life as rich as this, you are less afraid…perhaps not. I don’t know.

I do know we do associate death with aging, but really, death doesn’t discriminate like people. It has no preference for old age, like we have no respect for it. Far too many children become well acquainted with Death, embraced in it’s arms through the courtesy of starvation and indifference.

And Death is a gracious guest. Whenever invited by human cruelty, Death will enter and take a life, take a dream, take someone’s last hope. There’s the death of esteem or self worth. There’s the death a child experiences when abuse descends upon her innocence just as sure as any Grim Reaper.

But Death isn’t a solitary, for wherever Death goes, Life goes too. Like the inhale to the exhale, Life emerges from Death like the Phoenix from the Ashes or the Pegasus from the Medusa. Just because the living can’t follow the dead, doesn’t mean there’s no place to go, and just because the spirit lays crushed under snow, doesn’t mean the ice won’t crack in the spring.

I like the Zen philosophy about death, as a continuum and as a teacher. Being mindful of it is a great humbler of pride and the foolishness that follows.

How many bad choices have I made in my life because I thought I had all the time in the world? Perhaps wisdom is the beginning of realizing we don’t. But for now, I will not fear the closer proximity to Death as I grow in years, because measuring time is an illusion, anyway. This could be my last post or one of thousands more. I don’t know. And neither do you.

What I do know is that for whatever reason, I don’t feel alone, and I don’t mind if among the angels, Death is one of them.

~ ~ ~
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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, uses spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. "For the Sake of Love” is her collection of songs written on Demian's healing journey, and “Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes” is a children’s book she wrote for her daughter about the interconnectedness of life published by Illumination Arts and endorsed by Jane Goodall. Currently, Demian is working on recording episodes for her podcast and writing on the "Where There's Smoke Series on Covert Abuse". .

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  1. raoel43 says:

    I so agree—I used to be so, against all reference to Death in any category.
    Aging__illness causes one to reflect closely on the physical changes, and to also come to terms with the inevitable.
    I for one no longer fear that day, when I leave this plain, to journey to the next.
    For me, perhaps, that may be a day of greater joy, than some; not only for the release of all the suffering and ongoing pain; but also the wonder of so many spiritual experiences in my lifetime, and the absolute incredible curiosity that has arisen in late years, concerning those who have already crossed over, and their ability to communicate with us.

    Death is not an ending; as we perceive it, it is a new beginning of our sojourn elsewhere. Actually I very much dislike the words “Death” or “dying”, as I feel they are very misleading in nature. There is no such thing really __that is to say; “my Dear beloved” is dead and gone forever__ideology.

    We are never__just dead and gone forever—as we __”always are”—just in another place and time. We are timeless, and of such wonder, we need to remember, we have more value, than the “dust” we seem, to be made of.
    Perhaps this is why, so many are devalued, and insecure—emotionally. If all we have to hold onto, is the thought that; from ‘dust’ we have come, and to dust we shall return___”not a bright prognosis” truly for anyone to be joyful about. 🙂

    However if we see ourselves as ever changing and of “The Almighty’s” timeless creation, perhaps then__”Death” will have much less significance and dark forbidding thought.__and only be what it is, another part of life, and our adventurous journey.

  2. I have an idea of how much you’ve gone through. What you’ve shared with me touches me and I am continuously inspired by *your* “stubborn idealism” 🙂

    Thank you for spreading your light and not hiding it.

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