I found out this morning that some one I have known since I was a little girl has passed away. I remember going to her house. I remember her at parties that my parents took me along to. I remember her at the office everyday when I was working for my dad. I remember when I found out that she was diagnosed with lung cancer. And I will remember, today, when I found out that she passed on.
Death reaches out and touches me more and more the older I get. My cousin passed away a month ago. My last relationship ended because he couldn’t deal with a death. Last year, a woman that I worked with, who I used to see everyday, had a heart attack in her sleep. My friend from high school overdosed. Relationships die. Friendships die. Periods of our life die.
I know that I am sensitive, but I cry in the face of death. The tears come from love. They come from knowing that I will never get to be with this person or have this same experience twice. I cried when my yoga teacher training was over. The community that we had built broke itself away and our time all together was finished. Our teacher told us not to cry. Everything changes. People come and go like stars and butterflies and seasons and weather.
Where do people go when they die? We don’t know and that is what makes life so mystical and intriguing. We have to change the way that we look at death. It is not an end, it is a transition. The memories and feelings that we create from our relationships with people and the experiences that we shared live on in our hearts and minds. An end is a new beginning. Death is life. And the circle is eternal.
What will happen after this end? We don’t know. Not knowing is exciting. Fear is present, but, if we look closer, there is a positive side. There is a piece of enticement that comes with something new. A new phase. A new life. A change.
The more things get taken from me. The more I see how attached I was to them. How deep the bond truly was. The more I see how easy it is for me to love things with my whole heart. The more I see how big my heart truly is. Everyone is welcome. And it will never run out of space or overflow.
Attachment is the cause of suffering. It is human nature to latch onto people, places, and things. It is not wrong to love and get attached. It is natural for us. The problem comes when we can’t let things go or grip on too tightly to the things that need to go.
I will not stop myself from holding people inside my heart, but I will, mindfully, be aware of all that I need to untie myself from. And, with time, going with the flow of these transitions will become graceful. We cannot avoid pain. So, let’s sit with it and make room for it. If we look closely, there is pleasure in pain. Our lessons. The realization that we are alive. That we are loving people.
In the face of death and endings you can say: I love you, but it is your time to go now. Your presence enriched my life and I am thankful for that. I will try not to grip too tightly to the stories and the idea of what life could be like if you were still here. I release you.
The older I grow, the more I see how linked death is with life. So, I will create a relationship with it. I will make room for it. I will accept it. I will allow it to teach me. What has death taught you?
In memory of Dee Vlahos. Rest in Peace. We love you.