Every experience in life after birth comes to us from another person, nature or animals. Think about that for a moment. From our conception onward, everything we do involves at least one of the three triggers.
We don’t need anyone to help us with that. It may come to us when we least expect it and before we are ready to go, but there is really no escaping the fact that the body has a shelf life. We have a reminder each year as we see more lines appearing on our faces and the body starts to disintegrate, yet the majority of people seem surprised when it happens and find it really difficult to accept.
What if we could step outside our fear of death and help our family and friends slip out of the world with as much joy as they came into it?
I spoke with my mother a few days ago and she told me that the man living next door to the house I grew up in is in hospital now, and it is unlikely that he will ever go home again. The nurses asked his wife if she would like them to resuscitate her husband if he were to have another life-threatening episode. Without hesitation she blurted, “Of course.”
Before this conversation, he barely remembered anyone, and he was incontinent and a mere shadow of the friendly and kind man we had come to know over the years.
The dilemma is not knowing that death is as inevitable as gravity, but that we believe keeping someone hanging on with maximum intervention and effort somehow shows to others that we love them more.
The nurse’s question was one of empathy for the patient and palliative care.
Families generally take minimal responsibility for the affairs of the departed; that’s often relegated to the lucrative funeral institution that washes and dresses our beloveds and prepares them for a “paid viewing” and service before they are cremated or buried. What happened to the ancient tradition of caring for our loved ones ourselves and having the funeral at home after a few days of gathering and coming to terms with the loss?
Recently I have undertaken training with Final Passages in Sebastopol, Calif., because I recognize that at some point in time I will have to grieve and come to terms with the loss of my loved ones. I want to have a coping mechanism to deal with that, to help me make sense of it all from a spiritual perspective.
I think it really helps if you believe in reincarnation, knowing that we are part of an endless cycle of birth and death, a process that allows us to evolve spiritually through life experiences on the earth realm. Even then, it is hard to let go.
On a practical level, we need to take back our responsibility for the departed and perform sacred ritual and ceremony to help a person find peace in the afterlife, and this means having a conversation before the calamity and emotionality of death comes knocking at the door.
Instead of bickering about who gets what and second guessing what the deceased would have wanted, making our end-of-life wishes known can help with the grieving process for those left behind, as well as allow the departed soul to move peacefully towards the next phase of its evolution.
Some things that we can do to help another soul make the transition:
- Make the room where a person is dying or dead a sacred space with flowers and photos and symbols that are meaningful to the deceased;
- Never argue with any family members around a death bed;
- Remember to share the good things that the deceased did in his or her lifetime.
In helping our loved ones transition peacefully, we are helping ourselves when the time comes, to crossover consciously.