Sep 18, 2023Liked by Marga Laube

Thank you, Marga. ❤️🙏

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This idea of sitting at the bedside of the ones we love as they are dying has so many layers that are related to how comfortable the family members are with death and subsequently attachment to form. I have four examples to draw from.

1) My grandmother kept my grandfather home alone and piously stayed with him (in anger) as he died and wouldn’t let any of the family say goodbye or come to pay respects.

2) My father’s death - he didn’t have a concept or language for death. So many men are programmed to be providers and to be do-ing. Feeling and the ephemeral were not something to be trusted so he dug in his heels, defiant of death until he took his last breath on the bathroom floor, after years of pulmonary disease.

3) My own mother in law who I spent the last 12 days of her life with. I went to the nursing home every day - singing to her and chanting and praying, rubbing her with essential oils and helping her to ease her grip on her physical attachment that kept her soul pinned to this earth. Deep into this process one of her sons, in denial of death, demanded she get up. He took her to another facility, he couldn’t tell that the veil had already parted and she was walking through. She died 24 hours later of a heart attack alone in a room without any family there.

4) My aunt Janie, my namesake whose 7 children and their children all gathered around her bed, candles lit, reading children’s stories, singing family tunes with guitars, love and golden light filling the air as she breathed her last breath.

That’s how I want to go- community, fullness, golden light.

Did I answer your question? I’m not sure. Though you’ve touched on something beautiful here.

This essential conversation around death is what is needed to fill the gaps and wounds of our past relationship to death. This conversation gives us a map to understand the benefits of being with our dying loved ones. It’s a a map to understanding that death is part of the purpose and meaning, rather than what happens after all the do-ing and attachment to form.

The formless as part of the form.♥️

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Jane, firstly, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for writing this. What a gift to anyone reading. Definitely a gift to me.

What an incredible set of initiations in how to and how not to sit bedside with those we love as they die. You have a wealth of experiences to reference in this contemplation. The stories of your Dad and your mother-in-law are just downright heartbreaking. It's so damn painful to watch loved ones die in less than sacred ways because of our cultural ignorance. Maybe you and I, having both had experiences of "good death" *and* "bad death," can function as bridges to those wanting to know how to do death better?

I want to acknowledge your point about how comfortable the family members are with death having much to do with whether sitting bedside even *can* happen, and if it does, whether it will be beneficial. There is such wisdom in what you're saying here.

Yes, it is a sad fact that we now have a sort of vacuum of understanding in the place where an organic culture of being with the dying used to be, as a natural, ordinary but also sacred part of life and living. A culture where Death is natural, where the wisdom of what to do breathes among us because collectively the wisdom has been passed down to us so we know how to hold this sacred process – I hope that in our lifetimes we reclaim this for ourselves. Yes, it's going to take a lot of conversation. I see it starting to happen in little pockets all over. Maybe at first it will be just us weirdos who have the conversations until it reaches the masses and once again becomes part of the zeitgeist again. I think it will.

We're death phobic and grief averse. And that's kind of chicken and egg with attachment to form. (Which comes first? I don't know.) My feeling is that the way in to cultural change is helping people feel their grief, and reshaping how we collectively grieve our dead. And just bringing the conversation about death out of its exile and back into our collective midst (like you and I are doing now.)

Thanks again for writing, Jane. I'll be thinking about what you said. (Ha! A barred owl just began hooting outside right now!)

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Sep 14, 2023Liked by Marga Laube

How beautiful Marga. I feel the depth of your hard earned wisdom coming through this piece.

Thank you for this offering. 🙏🏼

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Marga Laube

Thanks Marga, I also struggle with the too much stuff in my life. Then I think, well, It's for my children. When I really look at it though, they have what they need, so is it really for them, or is it for me to remain in my comfort zone? Then I can play the game of, hey, what's wrong with being in my comfort zone? As humans we play all sorts of mind games with ourselves. Reading essays like yours make us face those ongoing games, and then do with that realisation what we will. Thanks for bringing up that awareness, now I will go to sleep counting belongings, not sheep! Hopefully when I wake up, I will do something to shed some of the wordly things I am holding onto. Thanks again for the little nudge!

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Our minds try so hard – bless them, the sweet little rascals. Great to hear from you, Joe.

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Marga Laube

truly inspiring

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As I read your essay, I read through the lens of my own experience. Specifically, my lens and experience of not only witnessing my mother's death 4 years ago, but being the one who walked with her in the liminal space to the edge where she then crossed over. Words cannot capture this experience.

The experience changed me forever. I had a deeply challenged relationship with my mother for my life up until about 4 years before she died. The wounds in me ran deep and I healed and reparented myself the best I could and was able to find peaceful coexistence with my mom in the last years. I add this context in order to speak to what I was viscerally aware of in her death.

When she crossed over, she immediately left behind all personality. All the limitations, the judgments, the unique things about her that made her the unique individual human she was. All the things that create the sense that we are separate from each other. She entered the Stream of Oneness and simultaneously, I felt the powerful connection that had always existed between the two of us... which existed powerfully underneath all of our differences which challenged our human relationship.

Whoosh! Dropped like a sack of potatoes... like all of the personality stuff which separated us was gone as if it had never ever been there. I felt seen, heard, loved, embraced, known, understood as I never had with her in the physical realm. All of the old pain and wounds dissolved into the deep, eternal, profound connection that overwhelmed the triviality of the human journey and problems.

I don't know if my words do this justice. But this visceral experience which is so difficult to put words around gave me an bodily experience of letting go of the human condition which automatically comes with a sense of separation from all other humans and things. To have a body memory of this while I'm still alive helps inform my life. This stuff that is so troubling at times dissolves into pure Unity. And this Unity is eternal and is the true Self, as I understand it.

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