Dying to Live

So we did what you do when the medicine isn’t working, and the doctors are at a loss…and when the ‘statistics’ say you can do more chemo, but it will only buy you a little time… We came home. Not to die. But to live. – Rory Feek

If you are not familiar with this couple, they are country music singer song writers that made up the duo Joey + Rory.  Their story has been made public through Rory’s blog, This Life I Live which chronicle’s the couple’s journey of her diagnoses and ultimately her passing.  If you have a moment, its worth checking out.     

I will warn you though, you will need Kleenex.  Not because it is so sad, and it is, but more so because it is honest, real, and raw.  The vulnerability by which he expresses his thoughts, heartaches and miracles are nothing short of inspirational.    

He captured what we all try to capture in moments like that . . . a surrendered acceptance of what we absolutely can not change, hoping like hell that not even death can separate us, while finding the strength to let go yet hold on to the beauty of every moment left, all the while struggling to find gratitude in every bit of it.     

I think we have all been where this man and family have been, either directly or indirectly.  Going through the dying process with a loved one seems to offer both sadness and elation brought on by the extraordinary miracles of love that are expressed in the last days.  It is as if more life is lived, emotions are felt more deeply and honestly, and the hatchets of our past easily fade into the reality of what is truly meaningful.     

And then comes the final breath . . . 

One soul surrenders and welcomes it while the other souls try and do the same.  Life is over.  It is over as we knew it to be.  The delicate breath we once drew together in those last days turns to a sharp pain.  Memories come rushing in and we would give anything to have one more hug, one more smile, one more “I love you.”   

Like a thunderstorm moving across the sky in all its furry, so does the tidal wave of grief.  It is relentless and unmerciful.

So it seems . . . for a while . . .

A Course In Miracles says that forgiveness is not known in heaven.  I can’t help but wonder if it is the same for grief.   Both of them are necessary.  And both of them are always preceded by a wound from the hand of another, a broken heart, or a loss that comes in the multitude of forms we know on this earth.  

I suppose that is why God made roses with thorns – so that maybe we could get it that the very thing that hurts us is also the very thing that holds the power to heal us. 
Somewhere deep within us is the memory of infinite and timeless life.  If we were to get still long enough and quiet our minds, we would sense it.  We may not understand it or be able to articulate it, but we would know it.  

I love how God proves us wrong over and over again.  Despite our temporary amnesia to the truth, life transcends death over and over again.

Songs are written about it.  Movies are made about it.  People like me write about it.  Those who have had near death experiences talk about it.  Knowing it and living it depends on how much do we really want to exchange our concept of death for the reality of infinite life, miracles, and revelation. 

How much do we really want to know?

Joey Feek passed at 40 years of age.  Many people would say that is a tragedy.  Children die, toddlers die, teenagers die, newlyweds die, mom’s die, dad’s die, our beloved pets die, and some people take their own lives and those too and are labeled as tragedy’s.      

We can’t see the divine order in a tragic or early death.  We don’t see it because our hearts are broken.  The experience of our loved one’s hug, the sound of their voice when they first pick up the phone, their quirks and goofy ways, their practical jokes, sense of humor, their favorite sports channel blaring in the living room, the way they look at us, their thoughtfulness sent in a birthday card, how they don’t clean up after themselves, how meticulous they are with their stupid car, all of “their little ways” are gone.  

So we take a deep breath and trust that just because we can’t see the life and divine order within the death at the present moment, doesn’t mean its not there.  No one can see the internet, but its there.   One of my most favorite quotes is by Mark Twain, “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”  

I felt crushed by my father’s passing and sometimes on a very rare occasion, after 15 years, I can still feel the sting of it today.  

The “fragrance”, I have come to see, of his passing is still unfolding.  It’s in the intuitive work I do with clients.  Nothing, at this stage of my evolution, brings me greater fulfillment than standing in the gap of heaven and earth, collapsing time, and authentically connecting with those who have made their transition.  It is the space where I feel the most connected to God, my loved ones, and the real world.

If that was all my father’s passing gave to me, it would be enough.  But that isn’t the way of life, the kind of life that spirit gives.  Life deepens our awareness to love, miracles, revelations.  It doesn’t leave us empty.  It fills us the same way the ocean fills our foot prints at the waters edge.    

That is the difference.  Death ends.  Life keeps going . . .   

You know those memories you think back on when your loved one was still here that were so sacred, so rich in love, and so meaningful to the point it felt like your heart would burst open?? Well, what if the essence and energy of those moments could turn into a lifetime?  What if those moments weren’t just moments but a timeless awareness from which we lived the rest of our physical lives?

That would be a game changer . . . .

We are going to get it that death is just the flip side of the same coin.  I really do feel that collectively, we will see the truth of death . . . its not what we think it is.  Its not the end, but a continuation of their existence and a “to be continued” on our end.  

I like to think of grief and forgiveness as the same – they aren’t known in heaven.  But given from heaven to help us out of the nightmare of death and separation.  It reminds me of driving through dense, heavy fog and all of the sudden the skies are clear and the air is clean.  Its as though the fog never existed.  If we use our grief to take us to that depth of clarity, we’ll get there.

How I love God!!  I love Love.  And I am thankful from the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet, inside and out, that the life of God will always and forevermore transcend death.   I don’t have to understand a bit of how all of that works.  Simply trusting it will do me just fine.  It hasn’t failed me yet.    

We live.  Our departed loved ones and pets live.  Love lives.  When we reach and open to that as truth, a new reality is born.  That reality exchanges our nightmare of loss for a joy-filled birth.  

But you know what?  We could just keep it simple and follow the sweet and innocent wisdom of Winnie the Pooh . 

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