Stages of Life

The Gift of Death

In another article called “The Life Changing Magic of Shutting Up” I described my experience of having an argument with my father when I was 16 years old. We did not make up and then he died before we could have closure. It was a sudden unexpected death. Needless to say, I was beyond devastated.

I now regard Death as the ultimate frenemy. 

Death visited my home twice. The first time for my father and the second time for my mother. Then, there was the passing of my dear brother-in-law who was more like a brother to me than an in-law. When Death came to my dear teacher and spiritual father, Rav Berg, I felt like I was losing my own father all over again. It felt surreal. It just couldn’t be. How can Death to this to me?!

I once held a dear friend in my arms as she was dying. I witnessed her soul gradually slip away from her body. This was my closest encounter with Death. I could feel the presence of Death in the room. I could feel her soul gently slipping its way up and out of her body through the top of her head. At her request, I kept massaging her legs which were cold as stone. It was clear that her soul had begun its elevation. I was horrified and awestruck and fascinated, all at the same time. The experience was eerily similar to the many times I have been with women as they were giving birth.

The experience of welcoming a new soul to the world is my closest brush with God. Where did this soul come from? A few minutes ago, this human being was living inside this woman, part of her body. Now it is a whole and complete person. A few minutes ago, this human being didn’t exist. Now it does. It seemed to have passed through some invisible door into our world.

When I held my dear friend as she was passing, it felt the same as when I helped women welcome a new soul, only in the opposite direction! Fascinating!

In each of these cases I had been somewhat prepared. I had received a warning that Death was near. But, even when it was not obvious, I was warned through an intuitive knowing, a dream, or gut feeling. Death was alerting me to its presence, politely calling before its appearance. 

And then there were the surprise visits…SHOCKING SURPRISE VISITS!

People I have cared about, joked with, hugged, one by one by one.

NO!!!!! It couldn’t be! The list grows and grows. And, every time I feel that sucker punch in my gut. NO!!!!! I won’t accept it!!! It can’t be!!!! NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! This just isn’t happening.

My heart breaks for the wonderful vibrant women whose loved ones left them. One day they were wives. The next day they were widows. No warnings, no nothing. Just shock and disbelief. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This can’t be happening.

I can’t believe. I won’t accept it. How can this be?????

Then there is a dear friend who lost her teenage son. She cries to me as she presents me with her broken heart, torn to shreds. How do I respond? What possible words of comfort can I offer her? I cry with her. I can’t even begin to imagine her excruciating pain of losing her child, her baby, her young man who had yet to truly taste life. Her little boy. What could be more painful than a mother’s loss of her child? My heart breaks just at the thought of it. We cry some more.

Death, how can you be so cruel?!

But, then I wonder; is death really cruel or do we just not accept the bigger picture yet?

The Zohar informs us that death is a doorway to other dimensions and that there is really no such thing as death as an end to our lives. We are all immortal. 

The higher we raise our consciousness, the more we trust our soul’s intuitive voice, the more we allow ourselves to be open to the secrets beyond the curtain of our 5 senses, the easier it will be for us to one day realize there is no such thing as death.

My father’s death may have been painful, to say the least. But, from another perspective, it was also a gift. It clearly marked the beginning of my spiritual journey. My first introduction to the 99% realm was in a book called, Life After Life by Dr. Raymond Moody, which gave me my first perspective of death from the ‘other side.’ All the people he spoke with, from all walks of life, all ages, every socio-economic status, who left this world, were pronounced dead, then came back to life in this world, all reported how great it was to transition to the other side. In fact, it felt so wonderful to be dead, they were actually very annoyed about being dragged back here.

Hmph. It was a conundrum for me.

Not too long ago, I had a very vivid dream about death. I went to the upper world. It felt so real. I was there. There were certain details about other people in the dream that I could not have known, and upon further research, turned out to be true. This was an indication to me that everything I experienced was indeed real.

 The most impactful part of the dream was that I felt more alive there than in this world. Everyone I encountered in the dream felt the same way. As I looked ‘down’ at this world of the 5 senses, everyone on earth seemed to move at the pace of stone. Everyone in this world seemed ‘dead’ and all of us in the upper world were actually alive! What a perspective!

And yet, to a dear friend of mine, who was a wife yesterday and a widow today, all that doesn’t matter. I can’t catch my breath. That sucker punch feels just as devastating.

So, I ask Death – what do you want?? Why are you doing this??

And the answer comes to me.

Death reminds me that I don’t have the luxury to hold grudges, push away the people I love. I can’t afford to judge others and hurt myself. Where do I get the audacity to think I can afford to waste time by not living in the present moment? That is all any of us have – this moment. And we either are spending it in gratefulness or wasting precious time.

My dear fellow human beings, let’s awaken ourselves to appreciate the precious time we have to love, connect, appreciate all the abundance that life has to offer. We don’t have the luxury of time to take ourselves out of this moment by comparing ourselves to others or chasing after things that will never fulfill us.

So, love NOW. Hug your loved ones now. Tell them that you love them now. Forgive all those who may have hurt you and especially forgive yourself. Forgive yourself now. Don’t wait.

I now realize that the gift of Death is the appreciation of Life.

So, let’s start appreciating life - now. 

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