We never know when our last breath will be, perhaps today or tomorrow? This is why wise sages tell us to live each day as if it were our last! However, one day each and every one of us will go on our journey, one that our ancestors took before us. Isn’t it sad that no one in our family took the time to write it down for us? This way we would know what to expect and how to follow when it was our time?
Knowledge lessens Fear
I’m a firm believer in the more we know, the more our fears are lessened, leaving us to be more peaceful. It is about death, our death or that of a beloved family member or a dear friend that I’m talking about. We really rarely plan to take this journey into grief or death.
Our ancestors were all too familiar with death, they understood it and knew how to cope. Somewhere along the way, we have lost this ability. We have become so uncomfortable around death and dying, we will do anything to stop it from happening. Often delaying or averting the pain and turmoil we know will descend if allowed to happend.
Our ancestors built homes with a parlor, a room suitable for such an occasion as death. The family, aunts and other females would help to prepare the body. Then family, friends, relatives, and neighbors who would come by to pay their respects. There were no conveniences such as funeral homes where all this now is taken care of for us.
The person dying was cared for at home. The home was central to birth and death. In those days, families young and old knew how to take care of the dying and what to do when the death occurred. They had their supports readily available and their wellbeing was considered.
Long gone are the tools of what to expect or do at these moments, it is no wonder our fears can run rampant because this art has been lost to us. The person dying would teach those around them all about dying and how to die. There is more fear now of death itself as the dying process has been shielded or taken from our collective.
Facing Death Today
This is what happened to me when my dad died, I was clueless, felt alone and had no idea what to do or how to cope because no one had ever shown me. Once, I had healed and moved through my mourning and grieving time, I decided to make it my mission to help others understand.
As part of my mission, I wrote my first book, Griefs Abyss Finding your Pathway to Peace. It was the poem The Journey that became my map and would guide the chapter titles. I do hope through this poem others will become familiar with the twists and turns of our mourning time and become less fearful.
Being forearmed, forwarned with knowledge doesn’t necessarily take away the pain. What it does do, is take away the mystery that Society today has allowed. There is such a cultural averseness to death and dying that has allowed fear to run our lives instead.
The poem The Journey
The music for this was composed and recorded by Dr. Barry Whitney, Professor of Religious Studies, the University of Windsor (retired)