What is death? The article asks. I don’t know what else it says because I have flagged, but not read. I have flagged but not read, so many things. I feel like I take in their message just from reading titles and setting aside.

What is death? Well I think I know. It’s pretty cocky of me, as I am still living. But I’ve been reading and watching, and listening. Oh and I’ve been talking. I talked about death with Becky in New Zealand recently, for two hours. We could have talked for more.

Before I talked to Becky, I listened to her. I wanted to be prepared, to know her a bit. She spoke of opening the door so that others felt comfortable telling her of the uncomfortable, those truths that we don’t talk about anymore. Except that we actually do.

Be gently fierce, says Julie. She’s another woman to whom I have listened. Still do. And recently I read her voice when she spoke of how her daughter – now dead – talks to her. She does?! So it’s ok that I just spoke with Becky, of my regular conversations with Chris? I’ve been calling him Beardo when I talk about him, but I think it’s ok now … to let him be Chris. Because that’s with whom I converse, just as Julie does with Kate.

Becky eases her dialogues toward the idea that there can be connection with the dead. And she says that with this ease, others most always open. They know it too. They have it. But we keep this close now, kind of like that naked emperor. We keep it close because we don’t want to think each other crazy. Except we hear them.

Sweet soul Vanessa speaks openly of her dreams, the realness of her mother who is no more upon waking, and the lake of grief in which she continues to find herself. I wanted to tell her it was ok to swim there. But what words?

We don’t talk about how relationships never end …. it feels … like reaching through air.

But they don’t. And this, is death. It’s the never ending. It’s the grief that marries love. It’s the surprise that it’s not over. That you get to see them now without their pain and their shields, without their anger and fears.  The voice you hear now, allows you to sift out the good bits and carry them forward. They are, this being. Now. And you so want to wrap your arms around them, yet slowly come to feel your arms around yourself. As Elizabeth Gilbert says about her sweet Raya, they are now you and you are them.

Death is the carrying on, but not alone. Never alone. It’s the richness we pull from our bodies as we leave them. The sifting of our purpose in the go forward. We arch back into those we love, and hand them soft words of ourselves. We waft cool air into their tears and replayed stories. We move forward with them.

We really don’t go anywhere. And I can tell you this about death because tonight I heard my husband sing to me in a song. I heard him reassure me in dialogue. And I felt, who he is now. I felt the whole of him. I’m still here in this flesh so I picture his hands, run mine over his beard as it’s a bit wild just below his left ear. But really, he’s perfect. He’s whole. And he’s right here.

Shall I send him your way for a chat? Be careful. Before you know it you will be loving him too. Oh. And he likes chamomile tea. Order him one and place it beside your coffee. An offering.


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