Those two words alone may stop some from reading any further. I know the feeling as I once felt the same way. I avoided the topic and anything associated with it, even to the extent of not looking at funeral homes I walked past.
It seems that many people in western society have a similar relationship with the topic and have a fear of death. The belief that there is only one life and once it ends there is nothing else may be a reason for fearing death or perhaps it’s a fear of not knowing what happens next.
There does not seem to be the same reaction in a lot of eastern cultures where there is a belief in reincarnation and therefore death is not seen as final but merely a step into a new life at some point in the future.
I think my fear of death began to recede when my father died and I just felt that it wasn’t as final as I had previously feared. There in front of me was someone that looked like my father but there was something missing that made him look different. It was at the funeral service when the prayer was being said around the coffin before the end of the service that it dawned on me. I heard the words about how my father would rise again on Judgement Day and be with God and I just knew it was wrong; he was already there, there is no waiting around.
For some people there has to be something significant that triggers that spiritual journey and I know for me it began with my father’s illness and subsequent death.
Everyone experiences grief in their own personal way. There is no right way or wrong way to deal with it. There is no timetable to be followed. Some will come to terms with it quicker than others but it can’t be hurried. Sometimes, even if you think you have come to terms with it, something can trigger it, like a song or something you read that makes you think of your loved one. Eventually the pain of loss will lessen and you will find it easier to talk about and I hope this will help you with that process.
I believe that fear of death hinders us in this experience we call life. Why worry about something everybody who is on this planet will go through? It cannot be avoided, it will happen to each and everyone of us.
If we think of the caterpillar and the form of life it has and how it ceases to have that form at some point in its life. To some it may seem as if it has died as it changes into the chrysalis but with the passage of time it emerges into a new form of life as a butterfly and soars into the air, no longer restricted to the earth.
I believe that when our physical body is no longer needed and it’s time for us to leave this earth we exchange that physical body for a spiritual body that is freed of the restrictions of this planet and we move forward in a spiritual life. There is also no need to wait until that happens to begin that journey. We can experience some of that freedom whilst still in our physical body and realising that we are all spiritual beings in a physical form. In recognising that we are all spirit and the experiences we each go through in this physical life are only temporary, we can release the fear of death and ease the pain of grief.
When we experience the grief of losing a loved one we may still have those feelings of loss or regret at things we didn’t say or do. However, the knowledge that they still exist in another form and place can ease that pain. A few years ago when a friend lost a relative, I wanted to find some words of comfort to help them. I couldn’t think of anything suitable but woke up one morning with the following passage placed in my mind:-
“When the sun disappears from the sky each night although we cannot see it, it still exists and with the passage of time we get to see its light once more.”
I hope these words will also be of comfort to you and all who need it.
LB. If you would like to speak with Paul or need help then get in touch or you can come along to our next Day of Healing on the 24th of September at Crosby Library where Paul will be attending.