by Robert Wilkinson
Today is one of the most sacred days of my year. On January 9, 1988, I learned just how precious life is. Up to that point I had known the deaths of many of my friends as well as family elders, but I had never known Earth shaking, gut wrenching feelings like I knew then.
I suppose death is somewhat of an abstraction until it stares you in the face and hits your head and heart over and over until you wonder if you're in some kind of hellish dream. Usually we don't pay much attention to death until we have to face it "up close and personal." And yet it's all around us, every day we live.
Every one of us will die. Every one we love will die. While I lost many friends (itself a mindbender and heart wrencher) at way too young an age, I didn't choose to face the profound feelings around death and the importance of learning how to grieve in healthy ways until 23 years ago today.
That singular event led me through the valley of the Shadow and into deep grief like I had never known. Those of you who want to understand the process and signposts of this universally known "Twilight Zone" may want to get a copy of my book, "Love Dad." In it I share the profoundly sorrowful journey that led me to where I'm at, as well as healthy ways to grieve and how to help those who are in deep grief as a result of the loss of a loved one.
Though facing death can be fearsome and painful, it's necessary if we're to live a full life, unafraid of whenever our final moment will be. Many try to avoid remembering that tomorrow is never a given, and so pursue imaginings that someday will come to an abrupt halt. The only way to live a truly full life is to be unafraid of what tomorrow will or won't bring.
Recent events in our world make me wonder about the Souls of quite a few humans. I've read of killings near and far, and the glee and celebration that the killers meet from those who also feel they did a good thing in killing another. It seems like many feel that killing is okay, as long as it serves their limited selfish ends.
This "love of death" (thanatophilia) has stalked many throughout the ages, but it still makes me profoundly sad that anyone could celebrate the killing of another. That's because I've lost so many in so many ways that I know the profound sense of the preciousness of life. I do wish I had the ability to call up some of those who are gone. I'm sure they'd have some interesting insights we could all learn from.
All life shows us our own life. The stones, plants, animals, and humans we love in our life are a part of our existence. Sometimes we have a chance to say goodbye when they're still here, other times we don't. This has taught me to appreciate each moment I have with my loved ones, since sooner or later one of us will leave. This helped me to realize that death is not the enemy, since we all must confront it someday.
When we confront the death of a loved one, or one who is about to die, our task is to be as unconditionally loving as we can be as they turn from life in this world to Life Eternal. The love we share is forever, on the level of unconditional Love. That love, and all the love that can be mustered on behalf of the dying or dead, helps them prepare for and make the transition.
We can help those who are about to die by being as loving and kind as we can be as they move into the transition. I have found they are comforted (to the degree anyone dying can be comforted) by being reminded of the love that's all around, as well as the love waiting for them "on the other side."
Since hearing and touch are the last senses to go, then things like holding them, brushing their hair, talking to them about the love you've shared and will always share is often soothing, since approaching death does bring up a lot of uncertainty to their minds. That's why we appeal to their hearts.
Regardless of whether we're blessed to assist the physical transition or blessed to know that a loved one has died, our prayers and meditations make more of a difference than we imagine. When we pray or meditate from a place of greater Love, it helps those who leave the body to move through the various frequencies of "the Bardo" into the frequencies of "the heaven world" in perfect harmony within the greater field of Love/Light/Life that is the eternal state of things.
I find that grief is both expressed and soothed by meditating on, and sending to the deceased, the greater unconditional love that we and our loved ones all share together and have "forever." When we surround them with Angels/Devas it makes their transition easier.
I've written several articles on Jan 9 in recent years where I discuss various elements of death, loss, and healthy vs. unhealthy grief. You may want to re-visit them to get a deeper sense of the importance of knowing what healthy grief might look like, since sooner or later we all confront the need to grieve the death of a loved one.
I can also say that as we move through the process of learning how to grieve in healthy ways, we become stronger in our love, clarity, and ability to know what's important and what isn't. We never quite "heal" in the usual sense, but we do learn to live with the wound and use the power of that wound to serve the greater Love we're here to give and receive.
I'll close today by offering you one great big Truth: The price of love is grief, since where there is love between two beings, one must die first. My blessings to all who grieve the death of a loved one. Love is stronger than death.
* * * * * * * * *
If you want to explore more about the grieving and healing process, please visit my previous articles. Each one covers different elements and approaches to healing our grief. And of course, give yourself some space and time, since they will bring up some very deep feelings.
From 2008, For Those Who Grieve the Loss of A Child
From 2010, To Those Who Grieve the Death of A Loved One
Happy 23rd birthday, Blyth. You've changed my life and countless other lives forever. Thank you for making me a better man. Love, Dad.
© Copyright 2011 Robert Wilkinson