My heart was heavy as I received the phone call. “If you want to say a final goodbye to your grandmother, you must come soon,” my mother’s voice quavered through the line. With a sense of urgency, I knew I had to act fast. I booked a flight and soon found myself standing in my grandmother’s bedroom, the sunlight streaming through the slightly closed shutters to keep the summer heat at bay.
The very last good-bye
As I walked towards her bed, I saw a fleeting smile on her fragile face. It was a profound moment – I was grateful to be by her side but heartbroken at the same time. Tears streamed down my face as I smiled back at her. These were intimate moments of a special bond between grandmother and granddaughter. No words were needed. We both knew this was our last goodbye.
My grandmother’s ever so positive attitude was an inspiration for me and my life. I knew I had to let got off her unconditional love and support.
The sacredness of death and dying
In that solemn room, surrounded by family photos and flickering candles casting a gentle shadows on the wall, and a light scent of lavender we were all united in love and grief. I stood beside my mother and other relatives and each of us shared a positive memory about her life as we said our final good-bye. An aunt recited a prayer while another sang my grandmother’s favorite church song. The atmosphere was one of serenity, offering a sense of peace that all comforted in that moment.
And then it happened
As I looked at my grandmother, I knew that she had begun her journey.
I witnessed something that would stay with me forever. As my grandmother took her last breath, I saw what I can only describe as a brilliant white light soaring upwards towards the ceiling. I believe it was her soul leaving her body.
Looking back on that moment, I realise now that I was not simply a passive observer. As fate would have it, I had recently read a book that opened my mind to the possibility of the spiritual realm, and I believe that this newfound awareness allowed me to be more receptive to the experience I was witnessing.
In that moment, I felt a deep connection to my grandmother and to something greater than myself. It was a humbling reminder of the beauty and mystery of life and death.
The circle of life and death
Despite the profound experience of witnessing my grandmother’s transition, little did I know that it would not shield me from the intense fear and anguish that would grip me some years later when confronted with my own mortality. The thought of dying and suffering was something that I couldn’t shake off, and the weight of it was beyond words.
No matter what our belief is as for after life death is inevitable, and it is a journey that we all must embark upon.
Life and death are interconnected. There is no life without death and there is no death without life. By understanding and accepting the inevitability of death, we can learn to appreciate and make the most of the time we have in this world.
Of course, the topic of death is more complex than what meets the eye, and there are many cultural beliefs surrounding it. However, the first step towards overcoming the fear and taboo surrounding death is to talk about it.
My Pandora box carried a big warning sign “Danger – Death. Do not open” which made it all the worse.
Making peace with death as a spiritual journey
Just a few years ago, writing about death would have been impossible for me without feeling a crippling sense of anxiety coursing through my body. Its overwhelming force would have left me paralysed.
The mere mention of death in any conversation was enough to send me into an overwhelm of fear. Looking back, I can see that it was an irrational fear, one that had been ingrained in my subconscious for as long as I could remember. I remember clearly it started as a 6-year-old girl. I will keep this story for another time.
As I began to explore my spirituality, I also could see death in a new light. I came to realise that death was not an ending, but a transition – a journey of the soul to a new and for the human mind an unknown destination.
I have learned to embrace the mystery of death and to see it as a gateway to something greater.
Start with small steps!
If you are anything like me and drawing from personal experience, I would suggest approaching the topic of death in small incremental steps. Taking on too much too quickly can overwhelm you emotionally and put a strain on your nervous system. By breaking down the topic into smaller, more manageable steps, you can gradually build emotional resilience and develop a more peaceful relationship with death. This may involve educating yourself on the subject, discussing your feelings with trusted loved ones or friends, or seeking professional support from a therapist or counsellor. Remember, there is no “right” way to approach death, and the journey towards acceptance is a personal one that requires patience, self-compassion, and courage.
What Can You Do to Make Peace with Death?
Reflect on your own beliefs: Take some time to think about your personal beliefs and attitudes towards death. What emotions does death and dying evoke in you? Perhaps, journal about it or talk it through.
Learn about death and dying: Educating yourself can help you develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of this natural process. Consider reading books (I share two recommendations below). In my case, I have reached a point where I am considering attending a workshop to explore this topic in a safe space with others.
Make your wishes known: Consider creating a living will or advance directive, which can help ensure that your wishes are honored if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Personally, I am not at this point yet, but I can understand that taking control of end-of-life planning can create a sense of relief and emotional freedom.
Connect with loved ones: Building strong relationships with family and friends can provide a sense of comfort and support during difficult times. I’d like to make an effort to nurture connections with loved ones or even an elderly neighbor. I look at my husband, knowing that one day this relationship will end. It makes me more appreciative of him, though I do keep this thought to myself. But remember we are all different.
Live in the moment: For me, this is the most important point. Practicing mindfulness or meditation and being fully present in the moment can help you appreciate the beauty and richness of life, even in the face of mortality.
“The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying” and “Death: An Inside Story” by Sadhguru can provide valuable insights and perspectives on this topic. Additionally, the annual Death Matters Awareness Week serves as a reminder to come together to support one another in our experiences of death, dying, and grief. Or check out the support offered by a death doula, also known as a soul midwife, which can help restore sacredness to dying and bring deep meaning to the dying experience.
I am still on my own journey of making peace with death and continue to reflect on my own beliefs, learn about death and dying, and connect with my family on a deeper level. I am slowly finding a sense of peace and acceptance. It is a journey that requires courage, and an open heart, but I believe it is one that is worth taking and talking about.
Food for your Soul is a regular column featuring short posts for moments of reflection – to look at life from a different perspective (should you choose to!). Invest a few minutes and allow your thoughts to ponder. Awareness creates choice.
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Claudia is a compassionate spiritual guide and Quantum Energy Coach helping clients to live authentically from the heart and to find clarity and alignment with their deepest values. Join her upcoming events and retreats in Tuscany, Italy, England and India. www.soul-luxury.com