This was taken the day before my Grandma died, my face is stained with tears. But in my arms, my new little niece not even a month old. Angels on either side of life.
I am the Grim Reaper Girl. If I speak my truth, the inescapable truth I walk in, along the lines of life and death, you might turn away because you’re not ready to hear it.
Because my story of death sounds like a beautiful tragic story of pain, loss, and degradation.
And it is. I promise you that. It is tragic.
But it is also beautiful.
It is only in toeing the line of death repeatedly, from every angle, paying witness to this great transition, that I’ve been able to face my own mortality…
And even more so, that I’ve been able to face my own life.
I think we shy away from the subject of death because it reminds of the fragility of our own lives.
I haven’t shied away from facing death – I’ve thrust myself head first into the experience repeatedly.
And here’s what I’ve found.
There’s not much difference between what we experience in death and what we experience in life.
In each, there is an unbelievable, inexplicable, overtaking “peace that passeth all understanding” that is always, eternally available.
Ben Breedlove died three times before he finally crossed over into the afterlife at age 19. He left behind a video that rocked the world and in it he said, the last time he had died and come back, all he’d known in that space of death was inexplicable peace, and when he woke up, he just wished he could go back there.
I think we all wish for that sort of peace at some point in our lives when we are suffering or struggling. We might be wishing for it right now, and not even know it. It’s a sort of peace that doesn’t come from success in our careers, attaining the American dream, or buying a new car.
The peace that comes at death is omnipresent. And the peace we seek in life…it feels elusive, but it is also always available.
The thing is…that bright white light sort of experience we all hear about that comes at death, and the wave of peace and joy that comes with it…it is always available here on Earth…anytime…no near-death experience required.
I know, because each time life thrusts me a re-defining tragedy, I have to return to that place in order to survive.
It’s a place many of us avoid…a place of silence and stillness…that is so rare in our over-amped, media-driven, fast-paced, information-packed society.
“There’s even televisions in the elevators now,” I heard someone say recently, and she went on to say, “What?! We can’t be alone with ourselves for 9 seconds between floors?”
What are we so afraid to find in the silence?
I think it’s this…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson
My beautiful family at the memorial service I helped plan for Grandma. That was the first day I was brave enough to use my voice again, when I stood up in front of everyone & told them what she meant to me. It was one of the most profound, blissful days of my life, and one of the hardest. Proof that joy and beauty, loss and sorrow, can exist in the same space.
I have found the greatest peace in the deepest pain. In the open wound of my heart, I have welcomed the most immense and intense bright light that fills me with bliss. I stood on a rock and spread my beloved Grandmother’s ashes to the wind in ecstasy because I was so filled with that light and peace.
…And I didn’t have to die, or almost die to reach it.
Maybe my losses have been little deaths of their own…but it didn’t require those deaths to bring me to my inner peace.
It simply required a moment of silence.
We take a moment of silence to mourn a fallen soldier.
To honor a day that changed all of our lives. (9/11)
To begin a baseball game with honor.
Why not, take a moment of silence today…to give yourself some peace?
Five minutes. Five minutes of silence. Can you give yourself that?
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of the beauty you’ll find within? Are you afraid of facing your inner torments? Or, are you afraid that if you face them and let them go, then you’ll have nothing to hide your greatness behind anymore?
An ancient poet Bunan once said, “Die while you are alive And be completely dead. Then, do whatever you want. It’s all good.”
What do you think he meant?
Take a moment of silence for yourself.
Maybe you’ll find out.