death is all around us, can you feel it?
a few months ago, approx 6 weeks actually, someone discarded a dead dog on the side of the dirt road we travel om everyday to and from home. right there at the edge of the road. my children saw it before i did when they left to run an errand or something with their dad. my oldest reported to me "mom, you have to see this beautiful dog that is dead on the side of the road"...spoken with such reverence and admiration. It moved me. and when i finally did see it, he was right, it's fur was so beautiful and it was laid up in such a position where it look like it was at total peace, maybe even sleeping.
and then, over the course of the next 5 weeks, we observed it's decay. each time we walked by or drove by, the body was at a new place of decomposition. sometimes it was so stinky we all held our breath from the car as we zoomed by. other days, after a rain, we couldn't smell it at all but could see from a short distance the fur falling away and the body being devoured by bugs.
and then one day, as i walked by after not having taken notice for a week or so, i came upon the beautiful bones. the remainder of what was once a big, beautiful, strong, furry creature of mother earth. just bones, in the dirt and stones, blending in to the scenery, the foliage, the landscape. and it tickled my heart strings in a way i didnt expect on that casual walk to town.
some may say its gross or sad or weird to witness this with children...and i would say quite the opposite. it is graceful and wise to witness these processes. it is healthy and safe to see death, speak of death, honor death and know what death feels like in our hearts. it is important to name death and see death as a deep connection to life, to open the conversation, the practices and the portals to what is beyond death and what is before birth and to connect spirit to our every day actions and existence.
i would even say that a huge part of the chaos of our world, the deep and terrifying cavernous divides that are creeping in and haunting our communities, nations and families have everything to do with our disconnect from death.
the need to save and sanitize, always searching for a sense of security, a sanctified promise of assurance that death is actually not at our doorsteps. the need to know that we are saving ourselves, saving others, saving the planet, saving humanity. when indeed, that savior complex is exactly the problem.
death is always near. it is always heartbreaking and devastating. it isn't something we can be saved from. it comes for us in the night when we are asleep, it comes in the form of tragic accidents or violent crimes, it comes to freshly newborn babies and great grandfathers turning 100, it comes when we least expect it and when we have been patiently waiting for it. death is at every turn, when our children climb a tree or cross the street or ride a motorcycle on the highway without a helmet, a blood infection, a surprise diagnosis of a terminal illness, a tumor, a snake bite, a poisonous mushroom, a drug overdose, a heart failure, etc etc. the list goes on.
who do we think we are trying to mask that truth from ourselves and the rest of humanity?
what if we stopped running from death stopped being disgusted by it, scared of it, repulsed and confused by it?
what if instead we welcomed death and decay into our lives, into our families and communities, spoke about it with our children, honored it in ceremony and allowed ourselves to be guided by the bones and all they have to teach us.