Dealing With Death and Dying

dyingThey’re not topics I like to talk about. Even though death and dying are part of life, and an inevitability that has affected nearly all of us. Still, I find it so overwhelming. And it never gets easier. I’m unable to get a handle on it. Death is so final. It’s one thing you can’t change, no matter how deep the desire. It’s too late to say goodbye. Or make amends. Or offer love you wished you’d given. It’s a reminder of how precious my loved ones are, including the furry ones. That reminder gives me patience and acceptance.

Sadly today was the end of days for my parents’ cat, Suu Kyi. She was 14 and had been losing kidney function. She’d been happy enough, and was still mobile and doing her day to day things. That all changed this afternoon, and gratefully for Suu Kyi, she didn’t suffer. So we have a big gap in our family. Mum and Dad of course will miss her most. She was their baby, and a source of love and love bites she will be remembered for. Animals aren’t just animals with us, they are family members. We’ve lost some beautiful souls, but their memories live on.

The universe must currently have an opening for good souls. An old friend I read, had to have her family dog put down today as well. A loved relative of Mum’s died last Tuesday and on Thursday I’m attending the funeral of a neighbour and friend. I’m dreading it, I really hate funerals. Not that anyone enjoys them! But the sadness is overwhelming and I always cry. Sometimes too much, while others around me are more composed. Remaining dry eyed while people are hurting and crying around me, is an impossibility for me. I can’t help but put myself in people’s positions and imagine their loss. If it’s my own loss, hook me up to your water tanks, there’s a big rain coming!

dyingI can’t get my head around dying, and that fine line between life and death. That moment of death when the heart stops beating and life leaves the body. Where does life go? How can a body have personality one moment, then be completely void of it the next? What happens to “us”? Things don’t just disappear. Sorry, they don’t. Disappearing acts are illusions, tricks on the mind.

Our soul, our essence, leaves our body, I have no doubts about that. The first body I saw was my friend Steve. He was on life support for 5 days before his parents made the heartbreaking decision to turn it off. While I still visited each day and talked to him and held his hand, I believed he looked like his soul was gone then. Maybe it was the machine breathing for him, and his pale colour. He might’ve started packing, but he didn’t move out until half an hour after life support was turned off, and he was pronounced dead. There was no doubt he was gone then.

I remember after my cat Zeppelin died, sitting there for so long, just looking at this empty vessel that was not long ago him. I was so upset and I wondered if I was waiting for him to come back.

At my Gran’s funeral, I wanted to go in to the viewing room to say goodbye. I had to see her and hold her hand. Her soul had gone, but to comfort our human needs, she was made up to look like she was just taking a nap. As the tears flowed, the clash of images was confusing. I wanted to stay with her and talk to her. Maybe some clarity would come? But even your body is on a busy schedule after we die!

dyingWhen Gran was dying, we’d travelled to visit her. She was rather hazy but knew who we all were. It interested me incredibly to see Gran focusing on young Jessie in particular. She wanted to hold her hand all the time, and the way she looked at Jessie was really special and full of love. It seemed really pronounced, and I’ve always wondered if it was youth Gran was drawn to in her final stages? Could she see her younger self in Jessie? I’ll never know.

Losing people and animals we love, doesn’t get easier. It hurts. It hurts a lot. I still find it a shock when the grim reaper comes, whether he was expected or not. Dying scrambles my mind. In an instant, we, with all of what makes us us, leaves every cell of our bodies. We’re never to be seen again. Never to be hugged or cuddled again. Never to be conversed with again.

I used to feel comfortable with what I believed in regards to our souls after death, until I started thinking about them put together. Instead of creating a nice tidy connected line, my brain exploded with ‘need to knows’ and ‘but hows’.  I have so many questions. Questions there are no answers for. In reality we only have our beliefs, to help fill an otherwise void hole.

Death leaves a heartache no-one can heal. Love leaves a memory no-one can steal.



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