Live, Love, Die.
In the western world, it seems like we have renounced our connection to death. It is perhaps too unpalatable for our sensitivities, so we brush it under the nearest rug and stay busy with matters of the living.
So here’s something that’s bothering me.
Can we truly celebrate life if we have lost our connection to those who came before us; those we lost and those we will lose?
No, don’t grab your broom and head for the rug. I’m serious…
What does embracing death and loss have to do with with embracing life?
Could we step into life differently once we have faced and survived the ultimate loss?
Balance, with everything, is pretty much the universal law. So it stands to reason that to really appreciate life, we can’t blank out death and all that comes with that package. I’m afraid we really do need to ‘feel all the feels’.
So what’s our deal?
Are we simply too scared of grief? The pain, the memories, and the difficult conversations. We grieve behind closed doors and often alone. When we meet each other we shy away from the difficult questions, and it feels uncomfortable when someone lingers in their grief for “too long”.
Are we being too uptight?
Funerals are a gloomy affair here in Scandinavia. No clapping or laughing in churches or funeral homes. Not much of a celebration of the life that we are saying goodbye to.
As we are coming up to Halloween here, in Mexico they will soon be celebrating the Day of the Dead. And I find this culture’s approach to death really fascinating.
Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is based on the belief that on this one day each year the spirits of deceased family members return to their homes to be near their loved ones.
The families leave offerings of food and things that their departed family members liked when they were alive.
These are laid out on an alter in the family home for the spirits to just enjoy the smell and the gesture. At the end of the day this food doesn’t go to waste, but is shared with friends and neighbours.
I think this sounds like a lovely ritual for remembering loved ones who have passed, and doing so in the company of the loved ones who are still with us.
So maybe there doesn’t need to be such a defined line between life and death. Or in other words, perhaps we don’t have to sweep death under the rug and lock away our grief.
Maybe we could unclench a little and accept all angles of being human? We live, we love, and we eventually die. And you know what? If we gave love and were loved, then maybe death doesn’t feel like such a stark ending. It is, after all, a natural part of life for everybody – something that we all have in common, and therefore, it ties us all together.