Let Us Honor Death with Life

We are entering a season of rebirth, and yet, I often find myself thinking about death these days. This month and next mark the anniversaries of the passing of five people I have loved, including my mother and father. Two more family members died just this month. As I contemplate that, and the climbing death toll in Japan, I feel that a part of me has died, too.

My mother was a Buddhist and taught me that death is not the end of life; rather, it is the end of the body we inhabit in this life—and that our spirit remains. Some days that comforts me and I can even feel my loved ones near me. I call them my Holy Ones. Other days, I cannot feel them…and feel utterly alone. And then I remember what my dad—raised a Catholic—taught me. Daddy told me that even when people we love die, they are still with us—they are inside us. All I need do is look in the mirror and I can see this is true. I have my mother’s eyes, hair and skin. And when I look deep within myself, I see my mother’s dignity and grace. I see my father’s love of language and humor and sense of community. My parents live inside me.

But even those with whom I did not share genes are within me. When they passed, they bequeathed to me things more valuable than worldly goods. They left behind the best parts of themselves. Lexi left me love, faith and courage. Andi left me compassion and possibility. Ann left me fidelity and sweetness. Now, it’s up to me to ensure these parts of them live on forever through me. So I pledge to carry on these parts of my Holy Ones: I will be love, faith and courage. I will be compassion and possibility. I will be fidelity and sweetness.

In the face of death and destruction, the best we can do for those who pass before us—whether we are related or not—is to live in such a way that they continue in us. Will you join me in that?

I send you my love, peace and prayers.

6 comments to Let Us Honor Death with Life

  • Beautiful… My arms are around you and I miss Andi so much too.. I love to read your thoughts. Thank you for sharing.. They are very inspiring.
    Much Love

  • Randy

    Yes, I will join you in that!

    Denise, you said so eloquently and beautifully what I know to be true. The love of our friends and family live within us always, whether they are here or not. The teachings of your mother are true, as are the words of your father. For love is the source of both life and spirit.

    Finally, Denise, you said WILL be love, faith, fidelity, sweetness, compassion, or courage – a wonderful, yet unnecessary promise, because you already ARE all those things!

  • Heidi Lee

    What a beautiful and touching post, Denise. Thank you for the reminder that those whom we love who have passed on before us continue to live inside of us and through us. This is a wonderful and inspiring thought! And, I believe, too, that it is true.

    And, I agree with Randy’s post above: You already ARE these things. No heavy lifting required from you to keep them alive.

    Godspeed to all loved ones who have passed, those we’ve personally known and others that have simply touched our souls by inhabiting this earth with us at one time or another. The echos of their lives continue to have an impact and a positive imprint on our existence and the planet overall.

  • Anne Q.

    Reading this has touched me, Denise. I, too, have lost a loved one in 2005. I lost my Mother who was only 61 years old. I absolutely agree with you that they are a part of us when they move on to a Better Place. I have my Mom’s face, personality, and beautiful penmanship.

    Your Mother and Father are both very proud and smiling down on the beautiful daughter that they have raised in you. You continue to inspire me both on the camera and off the camera to this day. God Bless You, Denise

  • Edna Concepcion

    Thank you, Denise, for sharing your thoughts with us.

    You have reminded us in such a beautiful way how our loved ones who have moved on continue to be with us.
    I completely agree with you, Denise.

    Again, thank you for the inspirational thoughts and posts you share with us. You are a blessing!

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