As I move further into my seventh decade of life, I find developing within a transformational and relational experience of life, with a presence unlike anything prior.
I've developed a spiritual mission to bring understanding, wisdom and acceptance of the ‘difficult graces’ that we, as humans, have.
One grace is the acceptance of the ‘transitional’ nature of life, of our aging and eventually death … a reality often seen abused.
Stephen Jenkinson, in Come of Age, wrote, from years in palliative care, that most people do not know how to age well. There is, arguably, much of our culture that bears a perception of aging and dying that is disabling - a perception that is actually a denial of life.
Sara Harrison, though, in a recent New York Times Magazine ‘Letter of Recommendation’ tells an amazingly affirming story “My Grandfather’s Death Party Was a Final Gift to His Family” as an experience full of life.
I wrote this blog piece primarily to share this article (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/27/magazine/death-party.html).
I am blessed to have a similar experience in the final hours of my father’s life. It was an occasion of great and unexpected peace and joy … with generations of family around my father as he passed.
Harrison wrote, as affirmation to this experience, “For a brief moment, at my grandfather’s party, I got to slow down the inevitable, to be with the people I grew up with, in the place we held sacred and dear.”
Writing this piece, I paused many times asking what was my purpose and while I have no definitive response, I sense there is benefit – we are better-off as humans for the visibility of end-of-life of those we love rather than invisible, as is too often the case.