On Witnessing Birth and Death

Divine Force, Primal Force: to You I Bow. Rising Up, Divine Mother: to You I Bow.

Where to begin with this one? I guess I will start by saying that I — as many of us have — had the blessed honor of welcoming in the embodiment of the Divine and seeing its exit from this plane on more than one occasion. Is there any honor greater than these, to see a soul birth into Being or to see a soul birth into Spirit?

I was quite young and naive when my own daughter was born. But I remember how special the moment was when she took in her first breath and how quiet she became merely by being held by the person that gave her Life. My eyes still tear up at the thought of it. It was truly love at first sight. And I am continually amazed at the unconditional love I feel for my daughter to this day.

After that, there were many years that were touched by death, but I chose to avoid the finality of it. Illnesses, addiction, and old age took my friends, family, and lovers, but I chose to keep my distance from such a dark and dire subject.

Then in 2016, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and there it was in front of me: the thought I never wanted to have, the face I never wanted to see, the voice I never wanted to hear. I remember my grandmother always saying that she wanted to die in her sleep. And so she did. But I guess she forgot to add in the details of what would happen before that.

A couple of months later, my grandson was born. My daughter did a lot of work regarding her birth plan and how she wanted her special day to go. I was invited to be there that day and I am still in awe about how it all unfurled. She said she wanted a natural child birth, no c-section, no drugs, no epidurals, etc. She also did some investigation into Reiki during childbirth which is how I ended up being there. I can tell you that, when it was time for that little boy to come in, my hands lit up like they never had before and he was born about 30 minutes later. I have never experienced anything more powerful or amazing before or since.

Did her visualization and planning really lead to that outcome? I am still wondering.

Since then, I started volunteering for hospice. The ones that are still ‘here’ I talk to and try to gather information from them. I am surprised at how many of them have some form of dementia and ‘don’t want to think about’ the past (my grandmother was like this too). For one reason or another, the past is too painful and the mind has shut down on so many levels. Some of them say they don’t know how they ended up the way they did and/or never imagined their life would end the way it is.

And then last week, through hospice, I was given the chance to witness a stranger’s death. With no family around, I was sent in to sit with this woman in her last hours. I wondered how I would feel with a stranger at my side as I took my dying breaths. How awkward and embarrassing in a way. But there I was, holding her hand, trying to reassure her that she would be ok and that so much love was there for her if she would just let go.

The next morning, I got a message that she had passed.

Can we CHOOSE the way we die? I am starting to believe it is so. Every waking hour, we are given a choice — from the foods we eat, to the thoughts we think, to the things we do or say.

What choices will you make?