I have been thinking so deeply over the last few months about death and dying. Between having a health issue that I was worrying about, thinking about my own aging process, and the deaths of a friend to suicide, and my beloved Felix, it has been a topic that feels closer than usual. And, besides the circumstances around me bringing it more to mind, I have found myself drawn to the subject of death and my feelings around it.
There is no doubt that my feelings around it have changed; changed in the sense that I am deepening my understanding of what death is, and what my fears are around it. There are a couple of specific parts of death, and all that is involved in the process, that are new and peaceful revelations for me.
First, I have deepened my understanding and acceptance of how close to death I am in every moment. We all are. We are literally one breath away from physical death, in every moment. As I consider that more deeply at this stage in my life, I appreciate the moments even more so, the moments that are here, on earth, among my loved ones and friends, doing work that I enjoy and playing fully and happily. There are times that I believe that this is all a dream, an illusion, and that the life that I am living is all in mind. However, even if that is the case, I enjoy living it. So, presence of moment is more important to me than ever.
The other way in which I have been considering death, is that I don’t have to live in fear anymore, at least not as much. I don’t have to complete countless diagnostic tests, just in case I am prone to some disorder that has come down through my family, yet I may never have it myself. I don’t have to worry that if I don’t eat precisely a certain way; go to the doctor and take medicines; or miss a day of exercise, that I will shorten my chances of a long life. I may, indeed, not live to be 90. Yet, I don’t worry on that so much anymore. I want to live a life that is full, rich and free of concern about what comes next.
Felix and her death has taught me a specific lesson regarding death, and the body. After she died, we brought her body home from the vet’s office, because we both felt as if we would want to bury her, rather than have her cremated. Both Jamie and I have had several pets over the years, that are buried on the property that I lived on with her. I wanted to have Felix buried there, with her friends. But, right now, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, there is still snow on the ground, and in most spots, is frozen solid. So, on Tuesday night, when we brought her home, we wrapped her lovingly in a scarf of Brenda’s; put her into a bag, and placed her on a bed of ice and snow in a large blue cooler. That cooler is on our porch until we can bury her.
It felt weird at first, to put her body in there, and now, to walk by it every day as I go to work and return home. I have even been opening the lid each day, to make sure that there is still plenty of snow left. Yet, she isn’t in that bag, in that cooler, out on the porch. She is not in that body.
After all, what is in that cooler, what I walk around in, it is only a body. When she left this place, just like when I do one day, what stays behind of me is not the physical body that I was appearing to be in. What is all around this house, in every room, and in the air and in my dreams, is her spirit, her light, her voice and bright eyes. Felix’ soul is every where here, and she surrounds me, as do all of the souls of my loved ones who have passed on. What we bring to this world is so much more than flesh.
When we remember where we come from, we remember that we are light, soul, and part of everything.