How do we envision death and dying? Speaking of our own death or the death of others conjures alarm and dread when expressed or thought about. The fastest way to clear a reception or a room is to have death accompany you and encourage it to mingle with the crowd.  Within western society, death and dying are not words we like to use or feel or be around. Our responses vary   “That’s for older people, not me” “I’ve got lots of time to think about dying” “are you kidding, that won’t happen to me”.  We’ve all heard them.

Many of us are so busy with our lives; we feel there will be time to say what’s in our hearts, give that last hug, provide that last word of encouragement for whomever or just say “I love you” or “thank you”. Many individuals’ feel it will happen to someone else, not them. Many times we get intentionally busy, just to avoid or deny our emotions and what is in our hearts.

This post is not a scientific analysis or the advice from a therapist or medical professional, this is insight from a person who has been there, travelled the road and who knows the journey well. I understand the theories and how we are supposed to feel; however my voice speaks directly from my heart. My message is genuine and authentic. I understand being vulnerable and exposed. My experiences have made me wise and compassionate, and very appreciative of everything in life.

Being a widow at a young age, I feel I have thrived, not just survived through the help of close friends, family and my community.  As a result, I feel my calling in life is to assist others; whether it is the death of an individual, a job, yourself, or a dream. As we navigate our journeys in life, it is nice to know we are not alone; there is someone, who cares and who is there to assist and guide us  through life’s’ web. We are all here to care for one another and for many of us, it is important we give back in life.

Our world is logical, and very rational, with little room for our emotions to be felt and expressed. In our busy fast paced life, interpersonal communication and community support are not always available or perhaps we are too ashamed or reluctant to ask for help. For many, we have been conditioned to think if we ask for assistance we will look like a failure or appear weak? According to Zeitlin and Harlow in their book “Giving a Voice to Sorrow” they speak of how we attempt to put our sorrow or grief behind us, and begin to run through life, before we have begun the healing process. (90)

There is no preparation for what may lie ahead, whether it’s predicted or happens suddenly. When someone dies or something is lost; your world changes forever. It can happen in a split second and it can either change your lives in a positive or negative way. It’s all a matter of personal perspective.

Meantime, we flounder and we assume we know the way, yet feeling more and more vulnerable and afraid. We have problems concentrating and we feel isolated. We question who really cares about me? We have all heard the lines “just get over it” “be strong” “it was for the best” “just keep busy” ” just go and get another job “or “haven’t you got those forms completed yet”?

Our systems are very insensitive and heartless at times.

As we travel this road we call life, we need to connect and feel we are a part of something much bigger. Our stories are important, and with understanding, compassion, and believing, together, our transitions in life can be effortless and dignified.