Are You Living Life After Death?

Getting older means dealing with the inevitable fact of death.  None of us are getting out of this life alive.

As we age we all see and experience our loved ones passing on. Dealing with death can be catastrophic for any of us, especially when it is someone near and dear to our heart.  I have read many articles and books surrounding death and how to deal with it.  It is difficult to fully comprehend how we would deal with death until the time comes.

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Here is an example of death I recently experienced.  I was very close to my mother throughout my life.  The last year of her life we hadn’t seen each other or communicated much because she did not agree with my choices as an adult woman.  There are many challenges we faced the last year of her life.  If I choose to sit and think about it, I am sometimes moved to tears.

My mom was a very healthy woman and was not dying when she went in for surgery (a surgery I asked her not to have performed).  She decided to go to the doctors at her local hospital to perform the surgery (removal of a tumor).  Needless to say, the doctors screwed up and my mom passed away due to a botched surgery.  She went from a vivacious 70 year old woman who would walk everyday to church, to a woman being kept alive by machines.  I can not tell you how traumatizing her death was for my dad, my brothers, my sister, my mom’s family/friends and me.  We never thought my mom would die this way.

Holding my mom in the emergency room before she went in to see the doctors, my only concern was for her to know how much I loved her and to make sure she knew not to give up.  I still had hope she would come out OK although she had pretty much physically wasted away and was extremely weak.

We don’t ever know when it will be our time or our loved ones time to leave this earth plane.  We could die driving home from work one day.  Moments are precious.  It seems we get so caught up in life, we often forget to live and cherish it.  Love yourself and let those you love know how much you love them.

Smile, laugh, and hug those you love.  I remember before hanging up the phone with my mom, I always told her, “Mom, I love you” and she would say, “I love you too”.  She wasn’t one for saying I love you without being nudged.  I am glad I did those things with her.  No matter how upset she was with me at the end of her life, I know she knew I loved her.

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Although my mom did not agree with my choices as an adult woman, she still felt she had to be a “mom” to me.  I have no regrets choosing to live the life I have chosen.  It is important to live life how you decide you want to live it.  Living life on your terms doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant or cocky.  You will find many times there will be people who don’t agree and hate or bash you. Be prepared for it.  Everyone has an opinion.  Don’t make their opinion your business. it isn’t.

I learned the following from my mother’s death.  My wish is one or two of these items helps someone improve dealing with their own grief (especially in the first few months after the death):

  • Don’t act on emotion.  You may be angry because of what people do or say to you or behind your back.  Acting emotionally can only cause more pain to you and other’s around you.
  • Understand everyone has their own process in dealing with death.  Not everyone will grieve the same way.  Allow people around you to grieve in their own way.
  • Love yourself.  Don’t condemn yourself or your choices.
  • Forgive.  Forgive yourself for anything you feel you did wrong or didn’t do.  We won’t ever be able to change the past and can never bring the person back.  Forgive who passed on.  Know when they were alive they acted in their flesh and we all, at times, allow our ego to call the shots.
  • Write a letter to your loved one letting them know how you feel.  Take responsibility for your role in the relationship.  Read it out loud as if you are reading it to them (privately).
  • Allow yourself to feel.  You will miss your loved one and it is OK.  You don’t have to be any certain way.  Remember you are dealing with this in the best way you know how.  Give yourself some compassion.
  • Remember the good times you shared.  We all had challenging times with our loved ones.  Remember the times which can help you to feel good and perhaps even make you laugh. Beating yourself up over the hard or challenging times will only make it more difficult.
  • Meditate, pray, or visualize about your dead loved one. Talk to them or see them in your place of peace.  Send them love.
  • Don’t feel obligated to be around people who want to make you feel guilty for being who you are.  If they don’t accept you that is fine, it is their choice.  You can choose to not have them in your life.
  • Don’t do anything out of obligation.  When you do something, do it because you choose to do it.
  • Live each moment to it’s fullest.
  • Love completely, don’t hold back for fear of getting hurt.

NOTE:  Make sure your loved ones set up a trust which is all encompassing.  Not only do they want to indicate how their assets are dispersed but how they should be dealt with in a life threatening situation.  If a loved one is being kept alive by machines how long do they want to stay connected?  Do they want to donate their organs? In an emotional time, the last you want is for family members to argue about conversations that were had while your loved one was alive.

I realized through my mom’s death everyday is special.  Don’t wait to do things you have wanted to do.  Don’t look for excuses why you can’t be who you want to be.  My mom lived her life for her kids, she wanted us all to be happy.  I’ve learned to live life for myself first because other’s can and will let you down if you expect them to live life by your terms.

Acceptance is the highest form of love. Acceptance does not mean you have to agree with the other person’s lifestyle, simply love them regardless of how their life is lived.  In the scheme of life, judgements only cause wedges within relationships.

Above all, I am glad my mom was who she was.  She taught me so much about life and even death.  I love her voice and I fondly remember the look she would give me when she was disappointed with my behavior.  I miss her smile as it would light up a room.

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Make sure you smile, love, live and appreciate your life.  Embrace today for there might not be a tomorrow.

Be The Best You at Any Age!

  • Ben

    Monica,

    This is excellent. This could actually be a blueprint for life. Why is it that as a society we always seem to wait until the end to tell someone that we love them and what they mean to us? What a culture we have created here in the U.S. Most inhabitants of this country are so jaded and cynical that they cannot see past their own egos or self-deluded lifestyles, let alone care for the individuals in their lives. And do we do really care for one another as a society? Do we commune with one another like we should? Do we do what you are imparting here in your words of wisdom? Or do most of us just kind of go thru the motions and think that it is okay. I will care for them tomorrow. I will tell them I love them tomorrow. I think some individuals do this in their lives, most do not.

    I watched a recent video about a homeless man in Germany that had 3 young musicians come up to him and give him a little impromptu concert. I thought it was pretty cool but then I read some of the comments about it and was completely surprised by most of them. Lots of comments about “bums” and “leeches” on society and how we should not encourage this type of behavior. It was hard reading those “enlightened takes” by some of the posters.

    Is that what we have evolved into? Have we lost that much of our humanity? I had a recent “device discussion” with someone you may know and I asked him why we are here on the planet. He gave many good answers. My answer is simply that we are here to care for one another. Yet, we fail at it miserably. I know I do a lot of the times.

    How does one change that and tell the people you care for how much they mean to you?

    I lost my father to a horrible disease back in 1998. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1990 and he held on for 8 tough years. The last ones were the toughest. It is hard to take seeing a loved one who no longer knows you or is aware of you. I would not wish that disease upon anyone. He died well though. When he went, his whole family was with him. His last moments were very painful, but at the very end, he went peacefully. His exit however, will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was the strangest thing, when he left. He opened his eyes, looked around at most of us, blinked a couple of times and was just gone. When it happened, I could feel him leave. I took a deep breath and I swear he “walked” right thru me. That is the God’s honest truth. That is the last time I saw him, but that is not the last time I have felt him. I feel him always. He is with me.

    I don’t think death is anything to fear. I do not fear it because I know that there is more learning to be had after I leave this realm. I do fear pain however. I hope I go quick. I would hate to have a long protracted illness or die in some horrific accident where I am still conscious. Whatever it is, I will accept it.

    I sometimes ask myself what am I doing to change this situation that we have created in our culture. I know living my best each and every day is a good way to approach life. I would also like to think that articles like this
    one are a good start. But there has to be more right?

    The bullet points you made were excellent. The ones about emotions, allowing yourself to feel, remembering the good times. All of these are excellent.

    If I may be so bold, I would like to add one.

    Give of yourself. Give the best part of yourself to people no matter what the cost. I guess that is part of doing your best and living life but I tend to think when you give the world and other individuals the best part of yourself it enhances your life and makes the world a better place. Caring for one another and serving one another is the highest honor. Most times you will get nothing in return and that does not matter. You don’t do it for points or because you think “God is watching” you do it because that is who we all should be as beings of light on this planet.

    Most men I know think that I am weak for being this way. That it is a sign of weakness by serving and being kind to others. That it is a feminine trait and not very Alpha. I am never sure how to respond to that comment. Usually I say I am just wired that way. It’s also a core belief system. It is who I am.

    This was a great article and brought back a lot of powerful and fun memories of the people who have passed on in my life. Some left me too quickly. I miss them all.

    Gonna leave you with one of my favorite poems by Marianne Williamson.

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    • http://www.fabfitover40.com/ FabFitOver40-Monica

      Hi Ben!

      I so agree with your comment! I LOVE any suggestions! I definitely don’t have all the answers :)

      I believe part of loving yourself is giving of yourself. When you love yourself, you can give freely. I think people are so critical of themselves and others which makes it hard to fully give. When you give, it is important do give from the heart rather than from obligation.

      Life is an interesting journey and it seems to me many people take things for granted. The ability to breathe freely is a gift and yet how often do we give thanks for the ability to breathe without the assistance of a machine. We have so much to appreciate in life.

      I believe the best way to make a difference in the world is to start with you. Be the best version of you possible. You will be a light for others and the impact you make can spread far beyond your own comprehension.

      The Marianne Williamson quote is my absolute favorite. I honestly believe most people fear their greatness. We have grown accustomed to being average or not giving all of ourselves. Many people have grown accustomed to being a victim. Why me? If we could all take responsibility for who we are and stop blaming (our parents, siblings, etc.) think about how amazing this world could be.

      Sending you love and light!
      Monica

      • Ben

        Indeed. I am incredibly tough on myself.
        Thanks for the article.