Last week I sent you a link to a short audio conversation I had with my friend, Patty Burgess, who is Founder of DoingDeathDifferently.com.
I hope you had a chance to listen to our conversation, because I really believe that talking about death can bring us to life. It’s one of the keys to living a life of celebration.
I know that might sound kinda of odd, but when we open up the conversation about death — our own or that of people we love— it reminds us that life is fleeting. When we’re reminded that life is fleeting, it changes the way we live. We’re more likely to love in this moment. We’re more likely to send that note to tell someone we love them. We’re more likely to schedule the beach walk with our friend. We’re more likely to splurge on an airline ticket to go see our mom.
We’re more likely to celebrate what is here in this moment if we remind ourselves that in the blink of an eye, it could be gone.
When people are injured in accidents or are diagnosed with a terminal illness, they often feel life’s nudge to live more fully. Patty and I hope that these conversations can be that same kind of wake up call — without the illness or near-death experience. We want to shake things up because it is important to not fall asleep at the wheel. If we’re not paying attention, life zooms by and we miss so many amazing moments.
Granted, life is full of all kinds of moments — including some really painful moments. Our instinct can be to run from the hard ones. But avoiding feelings we don’t want can leave us feeling anxious or flat. I know for myself when I practice experiencing “unpleasant” or “difficult” feelings, I actually end up feeling more connected to myself and to other people. It takes a bit of risk to dive down into the dark waters, but there’s a depth and weight to it that is part of being human.
Same thing when it comes to our fears about death and dying. Avoiding these conversations with people we love sadly also lead to avoiding important connections so needed at the end of life — and actually, all throughout life. If we’re practiced in feeling the myriad of human feelings all throughout our lives, then at the end of our own lives or those of people we love, we will be more present and compassionate.
To keep this conversation going, Patty has generously offered to give away copies of her eBook, which is all about “doing death differently.” It is a first step in helping us all reframe the way we view death. This eBook is full of compassionate ideas about how to be with a loved one who is dying.
If you listened to the audio, you know that “presence” is a word Patty uses often. This eBook is one of the tools that can help us all be present in a situation that is often fraught with fear and anxiety. After all, it is an unknown. This book helps us familiarize ourselves with the process of dying so that we are ready to support our loved ones (or ourselves) when the time comes.
I know this isn’t an easy or light topic to talk about. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it because our lives — and those of the people we love— are fleeting and fragile. Let’s be here for every moment we can. Let’s celebrate and appreciate ourselves and the people we love every single moment we can.
With deep appreciation to you for being on this journey with me,
- P.S. One of the chapters of Patty’s free eBook is all about looking at our own beliefs and feelings about death. As she says, “As part of this journey to care for your loved one, it only makes sense to examine your own views about death.” It’s worth downloading the book just for this chapter alone.
- P.P.S. I’ve always had an affinity for cherry blossoms. I chose them for today’s post for a specific reason. Obubu Staff of Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms said: “Cherry blossom season is notoriously short and hard to predict. A feeling of sadness rises up with you when you realize that after seeing the first blossoms, it will only be a few short weeks before all the beautiful petals are gone. Indeed, the fleeting nature of the cherry blossoms reminds us all that nothing in life lasts forever and that the most lovely things are often the most fragile.” Let’s be here with the beauty while we can, okay?!