On Dying II
Hello and welcome to Saturday, September 25, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. Today is a day that did not come for my dear friend, Leslie R., to whom this week’s Mindfulness Support is dedicated. Thank you, Leslie, for enriching my life!
Leslie passed away on September 19th from an aggressive form of colon cancer. He was 37. Upon sharing this sad news with some of my closest friends, I heard a common response, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” I know that this comes from heartfelt empathy. I know that they are expressing care and concern and acknowledging the gripping pain associated with death and dying. In no way am I trying to minimize their earnest condolences. In writing this, I’m concerned that it may seem I’m being insensitive to the trauma of losing a spouse, child, friend. Though I have experienced the death of a parent, many close friends, and family, the loss of a spouse or child is not something I’ve had to endure. With this pain in mind, I still can’t help to wonder how it is that we can lose something that doesn’t belong to us.
With the acknowledgment of the raw emotions surrounding the death of Leslie, this week’s Mindfulness Support is an invitation to explore a different way of thinking about death, and how we live our life.
Having recently experienced the death of my mother, I fully acknowledge a feeling of loss. But is it truly loss? I know that we all think about these things differently, but I have come to believe that death is not a loss.
Leslie is a gift in my life. From the time I met Leslie, through all our experiences together, even in his passing, nothing was taken. Leslie only added to my life.
Leslie brought me an abundance of joy, companionship, laughter, wisdom, and inspiration. At times, he also added to my life frustration and sometimes concern for his well-being. Whether positive or negative, regardless of the quality, these are the ways in which he added to my life. And just because he’s gone does not mean that he stops giving. Memories of our times together continue to add to the richness of my life. Even more so now.
Our lives are a gift, and throughout our lives, we give. Sometimes we give away peace, love, compassion, and joy. At other times, what we give away is disrespect, agitation, and hurt.
If it is true that all that we do is give, I feel like an important question we can ask ourselves is, “What is it that I am giving away?” Am I adding pain, stress, tension, and worry to the lives of others? Or am I adding to the joy and richness of their lives?
That fact is, no one is promised a tomorrow. We only have today – this moment. Who is it that you want to be and in what ways do you want to add to the experiences of others? How do you want to be remembered? How do you want to remember and honor those who have passed in your life?
Time for mending varies based on proximity to the deceased – the closer we are the more deeply we feel the passing. This mending time is real and needed. And yes, I will miss Leslie’s smile and dry sense of humor. I believe in my heart that Leslie added to the richness of my life. I am better person for knowing him. In these last few days, my sadness has transformed to gratitude for all that he has and continues to give me.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
Contribute to the Turning Leaf Foundation
If you would like to help bring Mindfulness to the less fortunate and to help pay for current services, your generosity is deeply appreciated.