Diamond-Cut Life

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Is Today A Good Day To Die?

March 17th, 2011 by Alison · 2 Comments · spirituality & religion

I’m actually not posting about the tragedy in Japan, although it relates to my topic today. The reason I haven’t posted in so long is that I’m spending my days here in southern California at my 82 year old mother’s bedside, supporting her in her goal of crossing over to the other side. She’s ready — more than ready — to die, to leave her physical body behind.

My Portland life and most of my work-life are on hold as I act as a sort of midwife to my mother. A new stage of her life needs to be born. It’s an honor, at least in my experience, to help a loved one die. It’s something of a crucible (I cry a good deal, for example) but God’s presence is much more palpable than in everyday life, the life we take for granted. I am closer to my mother than I have ever been, and the intimacy keeps growing as I sit with her, sometimes talking, sometimes sharing a peaceful silence.

Mom has advanced Parkinson’s disease, has been paralyzed and bedridden for five years. If you met her you’d think she’s one of the sweetest people in the world. Most of her many caregivers over the years have thought so. She can still think, talk, smile and even laugh a little. But those things will go, too, just as her physical abilities have left her. Mom wants to go — to heaven, in the belief system she and I share —  before those abilities leave her.

One of my themes here at Diamond-Cut Life is quality of life, and living in congruence with our values. Are we living in a way right now that would let us be ready to die tomorrow? I believe it was a Native American who once said, “Today is a good day to die”.  I feel, in my decision to leave my usual life behind for the time being and help my mother cross over, that I’m less afraid than ever of my own physical death.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Marci

    You are in my prayers as you make this journey with your mother. It takes both love and courage. Thanks for this particular post. My brother has ALS so we are on a similar path. It’s difficult but doable.

  • Sue

    Beautifully said, and honors the care-giver’s sacrifice, and those of all those around the person who is physically dying. We are all so interconnected and interdependent. What if we each lived each day as if all the choices we made mattered?

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