I'm not afraid to die.
I know those I love will miss me but really they'll be okay. They'll have my memories...and an awesome wisteria! We talk openly about death and dying in our home. Almost three years ago we lost James-Teds dad-to pancreatic cancer. We were so blessed that he was able to take his final breath in the comfort of his home surrounded by family. While we miss his smile and ornery chuckle, he still is with us every day from the crazy tape measure to the sparkle in the eyes of his grandkids. We often tell stories and share his memories.
As for me, my family has known for years my chosen funeral song is "Spirit in the Sky" and that I want a celebration of my life. They know the generalities of my funeral like I don't want to be cremated, I don't want a casket or a concrete vault or even to be embalmed! I want a soft blanket or "death shroud" and to be placed gently and lovingly into a hole somewhere in the earth; they can plant a nice wisteria on top for me to fertilize (I'd be okay with a tree). Check out this video!
You've stuck with me this far, if you'll hang around a little bit longer I'll share with you what is really on my heart. About a year ago I read a blog about "death midwives" and I felt a strong call. I really believe this is a path on which I am meant to journey. Sounds crazy, right? This is what I feel is a great description taken from BeyondHospice
"The work of death midwives does not duplicate the work of professionals such as nurses or funeral directors. We work alongside them and our skills are not medically oriented, they are more heart-oriented. This work can be done in any setting...when a loved ones death is dignified, peaceful and meaningful it can be a sacred experience for those left behind."
Death, a sacred experience-dignified, peaceful and meaningful. How beautiful. I was blessed to be with my Grandma Cassel when she drew her last breath. I believe she was at peace and ready to go, she looked so calm as she inhaled deeply and left this earthly place behind. Many families would like to have this type of experience as would their loved one but they need help expressing their desire. Death midwives assist the family as they prepare for those final moments and the days that follow as they celebrate the life of the one they have lost.
I'm feeling a deep call but I'm planning to take the slow path. I have a need to get a better understanding of my own religion and faith before I begin to help others. I'm currently taking an online course through Harvard via edX along with 20,000 others from around the world on Religious Diversity in order that I might:
- learn tools to better understand how religions function in human affairs.
- interact constructively with peers from diverse religious, worldviews, regions of the world, experiences and perspectives.
I'm so crazy blessed to have so many opportunities to learn and grow! I hope you'll keep me in your prayers, thoughts, blessings, chants, etc. as I begin my journey. (Oh, by the way when I die IF my family does some type of funeral and you see my dead body please do not utter the phrase, "she looks so good!" I won't look good, I'll look dead. Just dead. Because I won't be there any more the spark that gives my body life will have moved on to a better place and if you utter those words I'll be haunting you!!!)