This past year, death has visited my circle often. March 2011 Grandpa was taken in a freakish heart/auto accident episode; October 2011 Grandma tripped on the catbox, hit her head on the counter and passed; November we put my beloved Eliot (cat) down after much debate and struggle; January a friend who was a park ranger at Mt. Rainier was shot. In June, I learned that a dear friend's 14 month old drown in her wading pool and later that day, received a call that my Uncle Bill had a heart attack in his sleep. Yes, death has touched my little tribe more than once this year; it seems to have been silently walking next to me as a constant companion.
Sometimes this loss is the catalyst to change. My sister and I are both big girls; we've always struggled with weight and Uncle Bill's passing forced us to look at our own hearts' health. Something, good must come from the loss...
There is nothing anyone can say to ease the sadness. We've all been there. Everyone has felt loss and is familiar with the feeling of grief. Interestingly, it is what people do during this time that makes things better. A warm hug, being there just to provide companionship or watch a movie, making a special trip to ensure you eat and are sleeping or simply listening...those are the things that stand out.
Our landscaper just stopped by my office and reiterated something profound and very Buddhist. "It is our nature to get sick and die. Deal with it. It is our nature for loved ones to go away. Deal with it. Spend your time loving those who are here; focus on that." With these wise words, I've pulled the tribe in closer...hugged them more and freely expressed my love for each one.
Healthier choices... more authentic and honest relationships. Much like the effects of a forest fire, new life or growth comes from death.