I seem to be compulsively drawn to an awareness of death and dying. Of course, there are the circumstances of my life: The death of my husband at 49 after only an 8-month journey with cancer, and my own direct experience with a life-threatening leukemia diagnosis just a few years later. Death wasn't much in my awareness before these two events. And afterwards, it seems to have dug into my awareness.
In the years that followed I have worked with people confronting life-threatening illness and at the side of those who are dying. In the past year or so I have become involved with The Wake Up to Dying Project and then helped launch a Death Cafe here in Montpelier which has been meeting monthly since last December of 2013.
This work has been – quite surprisingly – the most amazing gift. I relish the opportunity for the sense of full presence and intimacy that life-threatening illness so often offers. I always find it remarkable that I have sense of coming home every time I enter a Death Cafe. I feel relief that there is no pretending, no avoiding what is inevitable for each of us. As my yoga teacher says, "We are all compost." And each visit makes me feel and think about the question: Am I making the most I can of this precious life?
Am I awake to how I spend my time? Do I notice what I feel? See? Smell? Touch? Alive to now?
What do you think about discussing this often taboo subject? I would love to know your thoughts.