No fear. What does that mean? We all have a fear of something….don’t we? A fear of heights, a fear of closed in spaces, a fear of spiders, a fear of failure, a fear of success, a fear of death.
My fear is the fear of being trapped. Not in a physical, caged up sense, but trapped as in being stuck in a situation in life because I was too afraid to get out of my comfort zone and find what makes me happy. So, in essence, I have no fear. I don’t fear getting sick, I don’t fear getting hurt, (emotionally or physically,) I don’t fear the “what if’s,” and as shocking as this is, I don’t fear death. I am fearless when it comes to life. I want to live. I want to experience everything there is to experience. I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve had my life ripped out of my hands, I have lost, I have loved and most importantly, I have been writing MY story. I have not lived in regret.
I am not always the “glass half full” type of gal. I have experienced pain. Lived through depression. I have been so low I have wanted to end my life. I still, at times, can find myself slipping back into negative thoughts, (not suicidal thank goodness,) and struggle to get out. I have heard twice in this last week, that it is not how full the glass is, it’s how long you are willing to hold it. Because of my experiences, both good and bad, I have been able to have a different perspective on life, and death.
The reason I don’t fear death is because I believe in living life to the fullest. When we live in fear of what could happen, we miss out on what we can make happen. I truly believe that no matter what we do in life, things happen when they are supposed to. There is a bigger picture that we forget to look at. When going through the struggle, it definitely seems impossible to see that side of the situation.
A beautiful memorial was put together for me in honor of my son. When I walked in my dear friend told me, “He is happy. We cry because as mortals, we miss him.” That has stuck with me for twelve years. He was right. To this day I still miss him. His smile, his laugh, his hugs, even the power struggle at bedtime, but I know we both signed up for something more. The work I have done, and am currently doing with my son is so much more powerful than we would have been able to do with him in his physical body. Together we are meant to change lives.
I know this to be true because I have been to more funerals than weddings in my day. I don’t dread them. Actually, even though I cry, I always learn something from their story, their history, that I do my best to implement in my own life. I ask myself, “What do I want to have said about me at my funeral?” And I try to live my life a little bit better. My human side is always sad to see them go, and my higher self is always able to celebrate their legacy.
For years I had been an in home health care provider and CNA. I have worked with many families who have loved ones that have lived a full life and are close to the end. I have watched friends and family members of my own suffer. They live day to day in pain. Not eating, not drinking, not sleeping, not being able to enjoy their life the way they once had. Yet, at the end of their lives, they are holding on…holding onto something. They fear letting go. I always have wondered why.
Perhaps they are waiting to say goodbye to a certain someone. Maybe they still feel like there is unfinished business to take care of, or that they have feelings of regret and remorse, maybe they are afraid. Maybe we, ourselves are afraid to let them go, because we are afraid of the unknown.
What can we do about this, especially when we find out they have a terminal illness? How do we fight through the pain, the sorrow, the scariness of losing them? (Although I am writing these things for terminal illness or end of life situations, they can still be used in instances of sudden loss. You will not be able to speak with them, but you can find others who loved them, or love you and remember their memories together.)
The best 5 things I have learned to do to make them, and you, as mentally comfortable and fulfilled as possible in these delicate times are are as follows:
- Start writing down as many of their stories as possible. Ask them questions such as, what has been the most important lesson you learned in your life? What is your favorite memory of your childhood? What was your favorite job? What do you want to be known for?
- Take too many pictures of them with you, grandkids, friends, etc. Creating some more memories.
- Get out in the sun and let them use as many senses as possible to feel life for as long as you can.
- Laugh, a lot.
- Hug them and tell them how much you love them…over and over and over again…not in pity or sorrow, but straight from the heart.
By making, or remembering, these 5 things you will not only be helping them to let their legacy live on forever, but you are making these memories a part of your story. You will be learning lessons you want to implement in your own life. You won’t have any regret of what you should have or could have done. You will cry because you will miss them, but you will be comforted by the memories…new and old, you helped them create. I have pondered and have written these stories about my son. Through my writing I am honoring him and I am honoring me. When I am feeling sad, lonely or depressed, I am able to read his story and remember how he lived and what he taught me.
My perspective on death? Focus on life! Live it until the very end. Enjoy the journey. When I’m struggling it helps me to check in with myself and ask: What do I want to be remembered for? What do I want to teach? What do I want to learn? I want to be confident when get to the end of my life, that I will be ready to pass on my legacy and let go…with no regrets, no remorse and no fear!