Present Tense

Who’s Ready to Die?

heavenI’ve been thinking a lot about death lately (yeah, I’m a bundle of laughs, eh?) and then I woke up this morning to the news that a friend’s husband died suddenly last night. He was there one minute and gone the next. Heart attack. Massive.

I’ve been thinking about my own death and I guess everyone else’s as well, since we all will die and I know so many people who’ve lost loved ones in the past year or so, including me.  It’s such a theme in my life right now that I feel as if something is telling me to pay attention.

I’m not really afraid to die; I think that it may be the greatest thing that ever happens to us. We leave the bonds of our human bodies, our human frailty, our human pain and that sounds pretty damned good.

I’m not sure exactly what we become, but I believe we become a wonderful, loving energy. The same energy that animates all of us at our core; the energy of God/creator/life.

The tough part is those left behind, right? The human condition. The person that leaves us to become loving energy isn’t the one suffering. We cannot imagine life without their physical presence. We’re not ready to let them go, to walk the earth without them. We may even believe that they are indeed, in a ‘much better place’ and yet, we still mourn their passing. Not for them, but for us.

And that’s okay. I wish as we progressed and evolved, death would become easier for us, but it seems as if it’s even harder to accept. We live under the illusion that technology can fix anything;  that we shouldn’t die.  After all this is 2015! We can put a man on the moon, Skype, make robotic limbs, orbit the earth, hack into sophisticated computers, kill people without ever seeing them with drones and clone sentient beings in labs. Why on earth do we still die?

I think that we’re too removed from death anymore. From our food that comes pre-packaged, no longer resembling the living beings that provide it to the way people are whisked off to hospitals to die, we just never see it or absorb that it’s such an integral part of our lives. We tuck it away and don’t want to look and so we deny the inevitable.

We fear it like nothing else. One friend told me, “I’m afraid that it will hurt and that’s why I’m scared”. What doesn’t hurt? Life hurts and yet, we cling to it like drowning rats. I suspect that most deaths are quite peaceful and yet how would we know since we never see it? I suspect that those who work in health care, who see death daily, might have a different view than the rest of us, but I’ve never really heard any of them talk about it.

I’ve been reading and listening to various spiritual teachers regarding life and death and spirit. The consensus is that we are infinite spirits. We’re not really ‘born’ and we don’t really ‘die’; we morph or manifest or arrive in our human form and then we move on again. To what, I really don’t know, but the more I study, the more curious I become. You are energy; you are light; you are love, as are those you’ve lost. Don’t let the silly stuff of human life clip your wings. Nurture your soul because that’s really who you are. You are infinite.

January 19, 2015 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , ,

26 Comments »

  1. Love this, Jane. Thanks 🙂

    Comment by Erica | January 19, 2015 | Reply

  2. Perfectly profound as usual. I felt the transition once from life to the other side… that side is much less painful than this one. I don’t fear death, but as you said I fear losing others to it. Thanks for the teaching.

    Comment by kandisnz | January 19, 2015 | Reply

  3. That touched me. My husband died on his 61st birthday, just like your friend’s husband. A massive heart attack while he slept. Thank you for expressing my thoughts.

    Comment by Teresa | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Well said Jane. I miss hearing you in the mornings.

      Comment by Sherene | January 19, 2015 | Reply

  4. I have also been spending time lately contemplating what happens when we die. I had a wonderful friend pass away a couple of weeks ago. A shock – even though he was 90. He was doing well. It has broken my heart to lose him, but as you have pointed out, he is the one who is probably in a better place than we are. I will admit that I am scared to die. I have a strong Christian belief, but I think the fear of the unknown is what bothers me. Thank you once again for bringing up a subject that many won’t talk about. It helps us all.

    Comment by Kathy Graybill | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Kathy
      Sounds like 90 years well-lived. Thanks for the note. Thanks for reading my blog!
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  5. Jane…Right on! Your spirit (soul) has an eternal future. I appreciate your growth from a sort of nihilism that Buddhism teaches into a realization that a loving God awaits you at your death. Keep growing…remember that many of the great saints went through the dark night of the soul. Read some of St. Theresa of Avila’s writings such as “The Interior Castle” available for download free at ‘catholictreasury.info’ or “Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross, available in many free formats. Google up ccel,org or “Dark Night of the Soul” Your neighbor, Ed

    Comment by edspolitics | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Ed:
      You’re the second person in the past few weeks to mention Theresa of Avila, so I guess it’s time to explore further. I don’t see Buddhism as nihilistic at all. It also teaches that we are infinite and impermanent as humans on earth. It teaches that we should connect to everyone and everything as we are all one and all emanate from the source or God or whatever we prefer to call it. Buddhism does not speak of a Christian heaven, but I think that the concept of some sort of afterlife is most certainly part of it. There is just no deity in charge, but rather energy or love or some sort of field of loving energy. And I kind of like the fact that there is a certain amount of not knowing what happens when we die because none of us REALLY do. I can live with that and look forward to seeing what comes next.f
      Thanks!!
      J

      Comment by janelondon | January 19, 2015 | Reply

  6. I think we all need to rethink this “retirement” thing. I notice that as people get to retirement age they begin to think “I am going to die next”. They start giving things away, cleaning and clearing out their homes and lives. They start sharing stories of their lives as if they don’t hurry and tell them, they won’t have time. Why should we become so morbid as we retire? Life should be just as full of fun and adventure as any other time in our lives…..except that we are older. Look at all the people who die young before they have time to think that they are going to die,…I think we need to progress back to that stage in our lives when we were carefree and didn’t have the thoughts of death. Celebrate life…..love….and happiness!! I totally agree with your articles….love them all. My thoughts…..”it’s not over until the fat lady sings”……and we meet our maker who will welcome us with open arms.

    Comment by Linda | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Linda
      Thanks for the note. I’m not thinking about death because I’m no longer working; I’ve been thinking about it because so many of us are losing people. In the past year or so, 8 of my friends have lost their dads; a couple more have lost their mothers and a friend just lost a spouse this morning, so it’s been on my mind.
      I personally am not tying death to retirement, but maybe others do. However, most of the retired people that I know, live way more interesting and adventurous lives than the younger working folks:)
      jane

      Comment by janelondon | January 19, 2015 | Reply

  7. I am afraid of missing people, my wife, my daughter and many others. I like being here. Do I like it enough to eliminate all the unhealthy choices I make about food, drink or money? Not right now I guess. Life is fun and my hope and belief is the next level will be even more fulfilling and painless. Nobody gets out alive. We all have death in our future. We do not get to choose how we die, only how we lived.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd, Ann Arbor, Mi. | January 19, 2015 | Reply

  8. I read your blog faithfully + am interested, intrigued + inspired by your written thoughts. I, too, lost a parent suddenly. Mom passed in April 2013 from a massive stroke. She was gone by the time she reached the hospital. It took me a good year to come to accept her passing + not cry like a baby every other day (I know sounds crazy). Yet even today, almost two years removed from her passing, I continue to be preoccupied by death. I wish I could move on from this + knowing someone else is experiencing the same thoughts + feelings helps tremendously. Thank you Jane — this has helped me more than you could possibly imagine.

    Comment by Jeri | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Jeri
      Thank you. It’s hard losing loved ones, isn’t it? But maybe some spiritual exploration or even grief counseling might help. Take care.
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  9. I never gave death a real thought until my dad, husband and two beloved doggies passed within two years of each other. That blindside sure ramped up my spiritual quest. At 54 and a half, I look at myself only being half way dead though. Probably because I still have that much left to do and am just now feeling capable of the bigger stuff;) No fear of dying, just think its easier to get this stuff done in clay form. That’s my egotistical human voice talking. I love watching your journey unfold and am always hugely blessed by your wisdom.

    Comment by talktraffic28 | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Love you missy. I hope you’re less than half-way dead:) Always appreciate your thoughts and encouragement.
      J

      Comment by janelondon | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  10. My thoughts are, to live life to the best that we can, each and every day. Because when we die, we go to star stuff. (dust to dust, so to speak) The afterlife (morphing, reincarnating, rising again, living on a cloud and looking down on our love ones, being sent to another planet all sound like wonderful)and possible conclusions to a life that ended) but is a fantasy and something people cling to so that death is tolerable. Life we can validate. Death we can not. When we go, we go. It is totally about the people that mourn our departure. And Time allows that hurt to fade away (never totally though). Bottom line: Life is how you define it, and so is death. We each just need to find what we can accept for each of these. But for Life: Be Kind (you won’t regret it).

    Comment by Sherry | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Sherry:
      I read a couple of books by Deepak Chopra that were really enlightening to me, since I sort of felt the same way that you do. When you’re dead, you’re dead. My beliefs have changed since then. The books were “How to Know God” and “The Future of God”. I’ve read and explored quite a lot the last few years and it’s been very helpful and mind opening. Having said all of that, your last line says it all. Be kind.
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  11. I have lost several good friends, when I was younger, to cancer and accidents. My Grandmother passed away 11 years ago at 94, and I still miss her. I am blessed to still have my parents but know they will pass someday and I will not have the luxury of their earthly presence. My daughter has a chronic medical condition and has spent much time over the past 12 years at The Children’s Hospital in Aurora. Many times I have walked the hallways and visited with other parents of sick children, some very sick. I have comforted some who lost their children and those who were afraid their child was not going to make it. My daughter almost died once, so that reality is very real for me. What I know to be true, is that there is a Heaven and there is God. Yes I am Christian and that is what my Faith and Bible teaches, but it is more than that, my SOUL knows and feels his loving presence. So death for me is passing from this privileged life to my eternal state with all the love and perfection he promises, what could be better. And yes to Sherry (above), I, as Christian cling to this belief, because I have seen parents suffer who had NO faith in any God or Heaven and I have wondered how can they go through this agony without any HOPE of seeing their child again, who, when they GO HOME, will be perfect and surrounded in pure Love…

    Comment by Melissa Ford | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Melissa
      Thanks for the note. I tend to think that people who have spent a fair amount of time around the sick and dying or those that have stared death in the face, have a different view; a deeper view. Be well.
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  12. Thanks Jane……

    Comment by Pat Rosenthal | January 19, 2015 | Reply

    • Pat
      You know I love you. You’re in my thoughts and my heart. I know it’s such a difficult time, but you’ll get through it. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Take care.
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  13. I still so enjoy your writing and I’m glad you’re keeping it up and sharing. I have always enjoyed learning from you whether listening or reading. Keep it up!

    Comment by Klynette | January 20, 2015 | Reply

    • Klynette
      Thank you for the note. I really appreciate it. I miss talking to you all every morning!
      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  14. Love this writing and the comments! Thanks!

    Comment by kab563 | January 21, 2015 | Reply

  15. Jane…is Demos home today?

    On Monday, January 19, 2015, Edward J. Hahnenberg wrote:

    > Jane…Right on! Your spirit (soul) has an eternal future. I appreciate > your growth from a sort of nihilism that Buddhism teaches into a > realization that a loving God awaits you at your death. Keep > growing…remember that many of the great saints went through the dark > night of the soul. Read some of St. Theresa of Avila’s writings such as > “The Interior Castle” available for download free at ‘ > catholictreasury.info’ or “Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the > Cross, available in many free formats. Google up ccel,org or “Dark Night of > the Soul” Your neighbor, Ed > > On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 9:50 AM, Present Tense <

    Comment by edspolitics | January 22, 2015 | Reply

  16. Jane…never mind…. I needed help with my hydraulic pruner, but got another person to help me. Thanks anyway.

    On Thursday, January 22, 2015, Edward J. Hahnenberg wrote:

    > Jane…is Demos home today? > > On Monday, January 19, 2015, Edward J. Hahnenberg > wrote: > >> Jane…Right on! Your spirit (soul) has an eternal future. I appreciate >> your growth from a sort of nihilism that Buddhism teaches into a >> realization that a loving God awaits you at your death. Keep >> growing…remember that many of the great saints went through the dark >> night of the soul. Read some of St. Theresa of Avila’s writings such as >> “The Interior Castle” available for download free at ‘ >> catholictreasury.info’ or “Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the >> Cross, available in many free formats. Google up ccel,org or “Dark Night of >> the Soul” Your neighbor, Ed >> >> On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 9:50 AM, Present Tense <

    Comment by edspolitics | January 22, 2015 | Reply


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