I think it is important to put this out there. I am not afraid.
Nope. When I say death is my familiar it is not merely a throwaway statement. Seriously. Death has been my persistent companion for so very long now that it has lost the ability to intimidate.
I have thought about death a lot. Not because I’m morbid but rather because I am terminal. And I have come to the conclusion that it is nothing to be feared.
Not long ago I spent several hours with a close friend who was on their deathbed. And she was afraid, very afraid. This had to do in part with the fact that she was way too fucking young to be confronting the end of it all, and there is no way she could have been prepared.
However, I did my best to comfort her. Dying is not easy, I said, but death is. And then I told my friend that in my work on death I had come to the conclusion that it is a big giant release—and—contrary to what we are often led to believe—an ecstatic experience. The French refer to orgasm as ‘la petit mort’ or the little death. This is not, I think, a coincidence.
Death is a kindness. A place beyond pain and suffering. It is a letting go into that beautiful scrum of all that has lived before.
Dying is difficult because it is a separation from all we have known. In this respect, I am no different than most. Given a choice, I am not ready to die. In fact, a consummate late bloomer, I feel like I’m just getting the hang of this particular lifetime and I would prefer to have some more time to hone my craft.
I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to getting my physical affairs in order. I’d like to spend more time with friends and family, see more of the world, make more art and more love too 🙂
However, spiritually, I am ready. I have done the hard work around my own mortality. And because my love for life is truly unconditional, I am not married to outcomes. It’s all good, no matter how this ends.
Because it will end. For all of us. This, our life on earth. After that? Who knows. As an atheist, I like to think my energy will just get stirred back into the whole of the universe. You may have another vision–equally comforting.
But know this. I don’t think we need to be afraid. Our death is harder for those left behind–the people who grieve. And even then, I have learned that when someone I love dies, they continue to live on in my heart and my head. I just can’t call them up to go to lunch. But I sure as hell can go on loving them.
That’s the thing. Our flesh is not eternal, but love, as an intangible, can be.
Live now. But leave with love.