Posted on November 28, 2018
“Some people never get, some never give. Some people never die, some never live.” – – Don Williams from “Time”
An acquaintance of mine passed away a couple of weeks ago today. I felt a sadness shared by some of those who new him as evidenced by some Facebook quotes. I didn’t know Dan well, and regretted not ever followed through and calling him after reaching out. He had reached out to me also. I’m under no illusion that I could have prevented his death. What I’m feeling is rather selfish: I lost out on knowing a really nice guy a little better, maybe. A sampling of Facebook quotes – – “I just saw him a week ago. How sad.” “I felt really sad when I heard about Dan.” “I was just in a group with him – so sad.” Genuine expressions of sadness that felt like validation of my own. So, I thought I had escaped the usual fear responses til I waited a bit and . . . sure enough . . . “God has a plan for him.” “Yeah – he does for all of us.” Good, God. No pun intended.
I think one of automatic responses expressed by those trying to come off as “spiritually sophisticated” is cliches. I remember a casual friend named Rose dying about ten years ago. Not long after she died I went to a meeting place we frequented. I am an empath. As I went down the steps, I felt a strong presence of Rose. When I got to the bottom of the steps and joined a small group of people gathered there, I said something against my better judgement – – “I just felt Rose up there.” I don’t think two seconds passed before someone came back with “Oh, she’s in a better place.” A better place than what? Anyone wanna buy a parrot?
I had what I feel was a more genuine (and awkward) response to death when the best friend I’ve ever had died in 1983. After his visitation, his sister Mary, his dad and I sat in their basement slamming a few beers. Finally I had to come out with an embarrassing tidbit: at four in the morning the day of his death, Paul had his last meal with me at White Castle. Talk about fuel for jokes. At first I think it was Mary who giggled, then burst out laughing as did her dad. I of course joined them, as an interesting new spin was put on death I had never known before. Humor? At death? Oh, yeah – – Shakespeare called his plays comedies, didn’t he . . .
Two of my cousins died in back-to-back months in 1989, my first year of sobriety. A friend of mine named Scott (who almost always was joking around) tried his best to express empathy to me after I informed a group of what had happened. “Yeah, it’s really depressing when someone kicks the bucket.” he said. Not exactly Hallmark material, but he was being sincere. Of course, we both laughed.
I have experienced the gut wrenching loss of both parents within a two year span which brought on a sense of desolation I’ve never felt before or since (What? I don’t get any more of these?). I lost my best friend in 1983. In my first year of sobriety, 1989, 7 people I knew in the program relapsed and died. I’m sure not making light of the devastation that death can bring about. I know grief well, and have friends who have been through more. My intention here is not to poke fun at others misfortune. Still, the experiences of laughter around my friend and cousins began what was the addition of different facets to my view of death as the years have gone on.
As totally cut off in mid-air as I felt in grieving my parents deaths, I found it to be an oddly fertile time for me emotionally. As I experienced and read more, I began to learn of cultures that celebrate death, that look at it not as an ending, but part of the continuum of life. From my own grief has grown a sense of richness that’s hard to put into words at the concept of a human being dying bodily, then continuing on to other dimensions for possibly further honing and refining, or whatever there mission. There’s just too much to ponder for me to just sit idly and accept mindless cliches puked out by a bunch of ignorant sheep who are totally entrenched in their pasture.
“God has a plan for him?” “He does for all of us?” Let me throw a monkey wrench at those two statements. What if it was Dan’s plan to leave? Is that ok or does that buck the “God’s plan” system too much. What if it was a mutual decision? What if he lived his life exactly as it was meant to be this time around? Is it possible that we don’t live past and future lives, but simultaneous ones, and infinite numbers of them at that? What if takes millions of “years” as we know time to work out “karma?” What if “God’s plan” has so many possibilities it’s impossible to conceptualize? Maybe those ideas are too much for a terrified mind that needs to express it’s “sophistication” in cliches. But then again, I have to admit it’s a bit staggering to try and even imagine comparing a life lived for 95 years to an eternity. 95 years all of a sudden looks like a drop in a bucket.
One thing I know in my gut for sure: Dan did not die. Neither did my best friend Paul. Nor did my parents. Heavenly bodies change form and pass into other forms. We are all in various stages of heading back to where we originated. We are in fact walking each other home. I have been involved in enough healing arts and mysticism to know that there is so much more to life than meets the eye, that in fact life and the world are not the same thing. Taking all of that into account it seems to me the least we can do for each other is spare each other spreading some fear.
Make no mistake, when I get a hangnail I want to call 9-1-1. My fear of death is physical. Beyond that I have the same emotional fears of growing up that everyone else has – letting go of the known. Thank God we get to do that gradually. I have a definite “investment” in getting to the other side, as I do believe that it’s what I’ve been preparing to do as cleanly as possible for the last thirty years. Beyond all concept, I truly believe there is only Love. In order to experience that once again, my body will need to die. Even after that, my mom showed me in some dreams that there may be work on other levels to complete before moving on. Our culture reveals again and again through cliched garbage how fearful it is to go out of our comfort zones and at least speculate about some different possibilities.
“He has a plan for all of us?” Sure, maybe. But maybe it’s also a bit more involved than throwing a cliche at because we can’t explain what’s going on. Heaven forbid us not having an explanation for something. This nonsense is one of the reasons I’m looking to steer myself away from social media. Like it or not, my reactions are a barometer for where I am emotionally, still it’s frustrating watching people minimize something with a magnitude beyond comprehension.
“God has a plan?” Maybe it’s for the person who makes that statement to grow some balls and wake up.
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