My Unique Understanding of Death

I want to detour through a specific part of life for a moment. I want to talk about Death. On this stormy October morning at 3 am, as the wind was whistling through my window, Death literally woke me up.

My phone was going crazy, just vibrating away. To my (half asleep) surprise, There was one single message from my father-in-law from 4 hours prior. My nieces mother passed away unexpectedly. As a sensitive, I loathe waking up at this time because there’s always a message and not necessarily one I want to deal with. I didn’t know her well, but I know Death. Individuals are asking me if I’m okay, but how do you tell someone you’re just fine after being told someone just died? The short answer is you don’t, you tell them you’ll be alright instead. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s not that I don’t have feelings. I just understand that Death is as much a part of life as waking up each day. It is sad and my nieces energy pulls at my energy. So yes, I can feel what she feels, and explaining it may cause me to burst into tears that are not my own.

Death first introduced themself to me when I was about 10. One of my supplemental Grandfather’s (I called him Pod (sounds like Pa with a d)) passed. We walked into my supplemental Nana’s house and his meatsuit was there, neatly tucked and lying in a hospital bed in the living room. We were allowed to touch his skin (which had been releasing heat and energy for the last 12 hours) and sit with his husk. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t cry, I wasn’t even angry, I just understood.

Death came again when I was 14. A childhood “boyfriend” if you will, was shot and killed. I was hysterical, but only at the funeral. Not because I felt anything more than when Pod died, but because I was mimicking those around me. He felt just as cold as Pod had, lying in the casket that I can no longer see in my head.

When I was about 17, Death left me 2 voicemails. My Grandfather (Howard) on my Mothers side and my supplemental Grandfather (Wayne) on my paternal side both passed within months of each other. Wayne came to say “fare thee well” to me in a dream before I received the message in waking life, and much to my aunts then, current state of shock, I told her “I know” and then I hung up and went back to sleep. I still chuckle when I think about it. When Howard passed it was sudden. It was a painful release for some, including him. For others it was emotional relief or freedom even. For me it was more anger than anything. Not because he was gone but because I never got to know the compassionate part of him because of who he was whilst alive.

3 years ago Death escorted my supplemental Nana from earlier, to her next adventure. There’s not much to say here. I was indifferent to her passing. She was in pain and now she’s not.

Death and I have a unique understanding. Knowing that from here to there is just a transition. The thought of adventuring from one place to the next is oddly comforting to me. Though feeling other individuals feelings and involuntarily holding space for them is overwhelming at times.

J.M. Barrie, Creator of Peter Pan

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