It reminded me how death intensifies life. Some of the calmest people I know were on edge, even got angry over silly little things.
We question a lot. Death inclines us to introspect a lot more for a little while. That is a gift. Not all gifts are gently handed to us. Some are thrown at us and knock us over when they hit us.
Deaths bring friends and family together. Besides the mourning, there is sharing, laughter, reconnection-- remembering and deepening of appreciation of connections we've taken for granted. It's almost like fertilizer. When a crop is harvested, what remains of the plants, of the unharvested parts of the crop get turned over, into the soil, to help feed the next year's crops. Death brings together the people who are left to keep life and love, community and connections going.
Eulogies pull together the stories of the departed. The eulogizer spends a day or three collecting the stories, eliciting them from the people who cared about her. Then these story threads are woven into a tapestry that is used as a balm to ease the loss, to reframe the loss. She is not gone, she is still with us, in our hearts, the way we serve food, the way we treat people.
My friend and mentor, Elmer Green wrote a book, Ozawki Book of the Dead, taking a spirtualist approach to life and death, describing how his life partner (more than a wife) Alyce lingered, with Alzheimers, fluctuating in this earthly plane and the other world plane, with her Alzheimers being a kind of transitional state before she passed over.
When I pray, I seek oneness, to drop the boundaries my mind sets up and sustains between me, I, and we, all-- the unitary oneness that is all.
And I talk to god. God pops into my head. At first, god would appear as a guy, in my head. Then a woman-- embarassing, when confronting my lustful thoughts, say, when working out at the gym, on the treadmill, and there's a woman 20 years younger than me in a tight workout outfit. Female god comes into my head, looking over my shoulder, "So, do I turn you on too?" Hard on for god(dess?) Uh uh!! Nope.
And lately, god appears as a squirrell, a snail, a monkey, a pile of sh*t... Yes, a pile of sh*t. Unitary. It's all god. The space between molecules in outer space, pondscum, mountains, the ocean, snowflakes, bacteria, dengue fever, that yucky taste in your mouth when you wake up after having had two beers and not brushed your teeth before going to bed-- god, all god. and god smiles as all of them, tolerating my sh*t.
My atheist readers will scoff, probably, except perhaps for the sh*t part. My born agains will, I don't know, call my a polytheist. Not.
My relationship with death has changed as I've grown older. When I passed the age my father was when he died, that was a big one, going from feared time to borrowed time that is all a gift-- extra, at this point.
Because, if you are not doing that, if you are not living to the max, doing to the max, aren't you already starting to die?
Sure, it is necessary and healthy to rest. I concluded long ago that life goes through rhythmic cycles, like waves-- that the nature of the unviers is like a spiralling wave-- hearts beating, lungs breathing, tides turning, days turning to night-- all cycles and our minds, our lives, our feelings do the same.