I hate death.
Or, I used to.
I hated death until my dad died six months ago.
This may sound wrong, I know, but let me reassure you, I adored my dad. I adored him despite his lifelong struggle with depression and his tendency to pull away from us – even me – when his anxiety got too big for him to be in the room with the rest of us.
So, let me tell you why I no longer hate death, before you judge me.
It’s actually death itself, (not my dad’s absence) which is teaching me not to hate, or to resist, death.
I’ve been raging against death since I was a little girl. Literally. I would tug at my mother’s pants and insist, “But why? WHY does everything we love have to come to an end?”
But then, I came face to face with the thing I’ve hated and resisted for so long … for 54 years to be exact. It’s not that other people I’ve loved haven’t died. They have. All four of my grandparents. My step-dad, who I was very close to and who was a fantastic grandfather to my kids. Harry, my step-dad, was actually a better grandfather than my biological dad, Elliot.
But my dad and I were a lot alike. In the first week after he died, my step-mom even said to me, “Well, Barbara, since you are his clone…” He was there for me as I struggled through my own cycles of anxiety and depression, never judging me. He always reminded me to “Go get ‘em, sweetie!” and “To not let the bastards grind me down!” He also taught me that, “Everyone is doing what they need to do survive.”
Why don’t I hate or resist death anymore?
Death took away this version, or particular embodiment, of unconditional love from me. But, death didn’t take my dad away from me. In fact, in a phone conversation with my step-mom recently, I felt the particular love my dad created on this Earth. I felt it so strongly—in fact, we both felt it — and we later described that phone call as “heavenly.”
Now, we’re not true believers—either one of us—in any traditional or religious sense of the word. But, there was no way to avoid his presence on the phone with us. There was no way not to acknowledge the presence of his spirit through our tears. So, despite myself, I’m thankful to death today, for teaching me love can’t be destroyed or erased.
Love lives on beyond our bodies.
Love is right here. Right now.
All Souls shares messages crafted around themes which impact our lives. October’s theme is Death.
Join our ministers the first Wednesday of each month to discuss the month’s theme as part of our Wednesday Connections program.