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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Life and Death

"Is that all there is? If that's all there is my friend then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze and have a ball if that's all there is. "---Patsy Cline

In some of numerous definitions, Webster's dictionary defines life as: 
"The quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body. 
"The sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual. 
"Spiritual existence transcending physical death" and "The period from birth to death." 
Interestingly enough, only sparse and vague definitions of death can be found. 
These include: "An instance of dying", "A permanent cessation of all vital functions: the end of life" and 
"the state of being dead." 
Many people are scared to talk about death and the transition from physical to spiritual life, but it really fascinates me. 
Recently, after a long hard fight with bone marrow cancer, my Aunt Norma passed away.
I had spoken to her not long before over the phone, and she reminded me as she always did that she was the first person to see me when I was born. 
It was a great conversation and I am happy to have that as my last memory with her on Earth.

I traveled home to Maine for her memorial service and entered a wallpapered, old school funeral home. 
Her name was printed outside the door on a panel which led us to photos from her life, and a guest book. It struck me as sad that she would never be able to see the outpouring of love for her which boiled over that day.
My family had gathered inside and outside the room. As I entered my vision was enveloped by a large, beautiful white coffin surrounded by flowers, photos, and things she loved in life. 
It was the true representation of a life well lived and starkness of death in close proximity. 
As I looked at that coffin throughout the funeral I couldn't help but think about how short, final and precious life is. Though her body lay inside just feet from me, her spirit had been set free far from this Earth. 

That afternoon triggered many thoughts regarding life and death for me.
This included the harsh reality that no matter what any of us do, or how much money we make in this world our physical bodies will all end up lifeless in a box, cremated or entombed. Depressing huh? 

Lately I have been feeling a true disconnect from my physical body and soul.
Not in a morbid way, but a realization that my body is simply rental cars for my soul to use while on Earth.
I believe in reincarnation, and that I am here to make mistakes and learn lessons that I did not in my past lives. I also believe that someday my spirit will come back on a  new journey.
The universe may have thrown many roadblocks in my path so far but I trust that in the end, I will have been here for a reason.
No one knows what happens when we pass, so death is a very feared topic. In actuality life should be more feared than death.
Is this why we have so many definitions of life in the dictionary and such sparse ones for death? 
I have two theories of how death will happen:

1: My body will stop functioning (in a quick painless manor and in one piece, fingers crossed!) and I will fall into darkness just as if I had gone to sleep, never to wake up or remember anything again. 
Yes it's a bleak theory, but doesn't it make you want to to order that second Martini, eat a cookie and live it up? 
OR
2:  I will be fully aware of my spirit leaving my body as I transition into an awesome universe of energy and light, taking with me all of the knowledge and love from my life. 
This is the more preferred theory option, but if in fact it is the first then we won't really know the difference anyway! 

To spite the never ending  mysteries of the unknown, I do know one thing. 


At my Aunt Norma's memorial service, what mattered the most at the close of her physical life were the many lives she had touched, children and family she had created and the memories she made that will live with all of us forever. That is the definition of a life well lived and a legacy we can all aspire to leave behind. 


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