“Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is no different from taking off a suit of clothes one no longer needs. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (Life Lessons, 2000)
I lost an aunt recently; my father’s sister. This was just on the heels of the loss of a beloved uncle. Our family has taken some hits. One by one they are gone too soon and we are feeling the reverberation. I’m not sure it wasn’t more painful than the passing of my own father, since the experience of watching her husband and sons (and brother and sister) suffer the process was excrutiating, since her sons made all the tough decisions.
It was in stark contrast to my experience with my father. Although extremely difficult, my sainted step-mother was a buffer for us kids during those last weeks with my father. She handled all of the details that nobody wants to handle and I have a special place in my heart for her forever for being so gracious about his care. I will never know the depths of hurt she must have felt being there so close.
Outside of all of the physical suffering that my aunt endured for so long, the end was somewhat welcomed by those who loved her, if only to have her experience peace. I hope she knew how much she was loved. Those last days visiting her in hospice were hard, but we filled the hours with a room full of family, reminiscing and laughing; praying and weeping. We held hands. We prayed. We listened to gospel songs that we hoped would comfort her. But most of all, we brought light and love into the room where she would make her exit. I hope it made a difference.
For Uncle Bill and Aunt Joyce, thank you. We miss you, we love you, and we are rejoicing in your presence of the beloved family members who went before you. Godspeed!
And because this topic always leaves me with more questions than answers, I submit the following video. It’s such a normal part of life and yet remains a mystery.
Top photo: pixabay.com/geralt
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