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Thread: Is natural death the only way out? — On the topic of death

  1. #211 The Day I Found Out from the Internet my Estranged Father Had Died — by Jen Hinkkala 
    On a lazy Sunday morning as I lounged in bed, I picked up my phone, scrolled through my news feed on Facebook, and decided to Google my parents’ names.

    I am estranged from my parents, and I have not had much of a relationship with them in over fifteen years; however, there’s a part of me that will always care about them.

    I Googled my mother’s name first and found the usual articles about her dance classes, and her name on church and community bulletin boards. From what I was able to find, it appeared she was doing well.

    Then I went on to Google my father’s name. The first item I came across was an obituary posted on the website of a business that provides cremation and burial services. However, there was no actual obituary, only a few pictures of a much younger man and a profile of a much older man.

    Was this my dad’s obituary? It couldn’t be, could it? In shock, I convinced myself that it wasn’t his obituary, but I could not shake the nagging feeling that it was.
    The Day I Found Out from the Internet my Estranged Father Had Died — by Jen Hinkkala

    https://tinybuddha.com/blog/the-day-...ther-had-died/


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  2. #212 Death Isn’t the End — by Leo Babauta 
    Death Isn’t the End — by Leo Babauta (from an email)

    Recently a couple of our loved ones died, and my family have been hit by grief and loss. I’ve been letting myself feel it as much as I can, and letting it bring our family closer together.

    It’s not the only time death has hit our loved ones in recent years — aside from my father and Eva’s dad dying, we’ve had other close relatives and friends die as well. It can hit you pretty hard.

    I’ve been coming to see death differently as I’ve been studying as a Zen student, and while it doesn’t take away the grief, I’ve been finding it helpful:

    Death isn’t the end.

    I don’t believe in an afterlife, not in the traditional religious sense of heaven or hell. But I do believe that what we think of as death is just a continuation of an ongoing process.

    Let’s think of an apple: it is formed from water from the apple tree’s surroundings, sugar and other materials the tree gathers from the ground and air and sunlight … so before the apple was an "apple," it was the world around it. The world came together to make an apple — it’s not like it just appeared from nowhere. The apple grows and continually changes, and then falls and becomes the earth again. There was never a start or end to the process, it was just continually ongoing.

    Everything is like this: part of an ongoing process, without a real beginning or end. People included. In fact, what we think of as a person is just a part of the ongoing process of the world.

    And when a person dies, they aren’t gone. They become the earth. They grow into apples, and mangos, and breadfruit, and water buffalo (what we call "carabao" in Guam).

    That’s just the person’s body. Their personality doesn’t end either — we remember them, and laugh about jokes they made, and retell their stories, and live lives inspired by them. Their legacy becomes a part of us, of our families. A part of all of humanity, just as they were a continuation of the legacy of the people who shaped them.

    The loved ones who died are not gone. They are in all of us, in their kids and grandkids. In the culture and society they helped to shape. In the work that they did, the DNA they passed on, the spirit that they instilled.

    My loved ones are in me, and I honor them with every act.

    gratefully,

    Leo Babauta



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  3. #213 Learning to Honor My Grief When the World Has Become Desensitized to Loss 
    Since losing my husband Matt over eight months ago to cancer at the age of just thirty-nine, I have noticed so many changes happening within me, and one of those changes is a fierce sense of protectiveness that I have over my grief.

    We are living in a unique time in history. The world has turned upside down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and at the time of writing this the UK had just passed 100,000 Covid-related deaths with many more not involving Covid.


    That is an obscene amount of grieving people, and when I also consider the fact that not all loss is related to death, I suspect that everyone in the country is experiencing grief on some level right now.


    But I worry that this universal loss has become so entrenched within our daily lives that it is now considered the norm to be traumatized.

    The news of more deaths no longer seems to shock us. We’ve become detached from each other in order to survive and preserve ourselves, and this is being reinforced daily with messages of staying home and socially distancing.

    Our human need for closeness and connection has become secondary to the very real threat to life we are facing, and so we willingly obey to these new rules—we wear masks and keep away from each other, we retreat, and we don’t complain about the psychological wounds we are facing as a result of this because the alternative is even worse.

    There is a collective sense of numbness, which is a well-known coping mechanism for extreme levels of stress, and I cannot help but tune into this from my own fear response.
    Learning to Honor My Grief When the World Has Become Desensitized to Loss — by Claire Austin

    https://tinybuddha.com/blog/learning...tized-to-loss/


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  4. #214 Oh For Crying Out Loud — by Barbara McAfee 
    Death has been visiting my life a lot in this past year. During those times, I have frequently heard Mary Elizabeth Frye’s well-known poem, “Do No Stand At My Grave and Weep.”

    This morning as I was lolling abed, I began naming my departed-beloveds in my mind, calling their sweet faces to mind and silently speaking their names one by one. This is one of the ways I honor them and deal with their absence. In the midst of that familiar ritual, I “heard” a distinct voice speaking into my mind. This is what it said.


    Now, Honey. You just go ahead and stand at my grave and weep. As a matter of fact, you could fall to the ground if you wanted to. If there’s snow or mud, no matter -- you can always get that funeral suit cleaned later on. Or you could forego the suit altogether. Wear your pajamas or your favorite sweats to my funeral. You’re hurting enough all ready without having to wear tight clothes and uncomfortable shoes. And please, please…weep! It’s bizarre to be where I am now -- in this lovely though totally indescribable place – and see you expending such precious energy on NOT weeping, NOT breathing, NOT living this experience. Sweetheart, you are still alive. So be…alive!
    Oh For Crying Out Loud — by Barbara McAfee

    https://www.dailygood.org/story/2705...arbara-mcafee/



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  5. #215 Turning Grief into Random Acts of Kindness — by Kristin Fitzgerald-Zita 
    Sixteen years ago we said hello to our only child, a beautiful boy we named Thomas. Twenty hours later we said goodbye.

    There are lots of other things about me: I knit, I write, I live with an anxiety disorder, I’m still not sure what the offside rule in hockey is all about, and I have an alarmingly large collection of stuffed Snoopys for someone who is about to turn 51. But in so many ways, “bereaved mom” defines me because it’s the lens through which I view my world.

    I’m living and Thomas is not. There’s no other way for me to exist now except in the shadow of that still-surreal reality. I will always be in two places: both here in this world and there, in that other world of enormous grief and overwhelming love.

    When I sat down to write Thomas’ obituary, my husband Sandy requested that I include a line asking people to do something kind in Thomas’ honor.

    That was the spark that lit the fire that has become March 9 Random Act of Kindness Day for Thomas. Each year on his birthday, we encourage family, friends, and strangers to reach out and make the world around them a little sweeter by actively looking for ways to be extra kind in his memory.
    Turning Grief into Random Acts of Kindness — by Kristin Fitzgerald-Zita

    https://www.mindful.org/turning-grie...s-of-kindness/




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  6. #216 The Transformational Effects of Bereavement — by Steve Taylor, Ph.D 
    One of the most famous stories in Buddhism is the parable of the mustard seeds. A young woman named Kisa Gotami was grieving the death of her baby son. She carried his body from house to house, pleading for some medicine to bring him back to life. One of her neighbours advised her to go to see the Buddha, who asked her to bring him a handful of mustard seeds. The only condition was that, in the Buddha’s own words, “The mustard-seeds must be taken from a house where no one has lost a child, husband, parent, or friend.”

    Kisa Gotami returned to her village and went from house to house again. But of course, she was unable to collect any mustard seeds, since every family had suffered a bereavement. By the end of the day, the mother had realised the impermanence of life and the inevitability of death.

    This parable is so powerful not just because it illustrates the universality of death and bereavement, but also because it suggests the transformational effects of bereavement. Kisa Gotami’s acceptance of death transformed her perspective on life. According to the parable, she became a disciple of the Buddha.

    How People Grow From Bereavement
    The Transformational Effects of Bereavement — by Steve Taylor, Ph.D

    https://wakeup-world.com/2021/03/22/...f-bereavement/



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  7. #217 Why a Vancouver Cemetery Is Planting Squash, Kale, and Corn — by Laura Kiniry 
    This is a different perspective on death and dying but I thought it was fascinating.

    Trevor Crean considers himself a city slicker, but ever since he cofounded Heritage Gardens, a cemetery in Surrey, British Columbia, he’s learned to embrace the land. That’s because Crean, the director, oversees much more than burials. The family-owned and -operated business also has its own beehives, as well as a lush vegetable garden where resident gardener Stan Turner grows brussels sprouts, corn, and kale, as well as butternut and acorn squash, Stardust runner beans, loads of potatoes, and even broccolini. It’s the kind of place where you can visit your loved ones’ remains, and then go home with a box full of produce and some fresh honey.

    “Over the last couple of generations, funeral services have become very commercialized,” Crean says. “There’s this underlying sense of burials being a sales-focused transaction. It’s created a lot of mistrust in our profession, unfortunately.” So the Crean family (including both of Crean’s parents, his brother Sean, and Turner, who is Crean’s uncle) decided to do something different. “We really wanted to rebuild that trust,” Crean says, “and give people a reason to return.”
    Why a Vancouver Cemetery Is Planting Squash, Kale, and Corn — by Laura Kiniry

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/article...ry-farms-honey



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  8. #218 A 10-Minute Guided Meditation for Working with Grief — by Judy Lief 
    Our hearts break, but our hearts also heal. The thread that pulls us from heartbreak to healing is love, says Judy Lief in this practice for working with grief.

    Death is a natural part of life. From the beginning to the end, life is constant change and nothing stays fixed. And that gives life its vitality. But it also causes a certain heartbreak when we face the difficult truth of impermanence. Grief is a recognition of endings, but it’s also a birth and a beginning. We enter into a difficult and solitary journey and we come out transformed.

    There’s nothing really to be said about grieving that doesn’t sound trite. There’s no simple way through it. It is extremely difficult to put the gravity or the force of grief into words. And there’s no one way to grieve. Neither is there a cure for our fragility and vulnerability. We have only one option, which is somehow to figure out a way to love and embrace it.


    We don’t want to let go of anything, but through grief, we learn to love and appreciate what we’ve had and lost—friends, family, a way of life, a job, our youth, we grieve it all.


    Every goodbye is a moment of connection. Grief teaches us how very attached we are to everything. We don’t want to let go of anything, but through grief, we learn to love and appreciate what we’ve had and lost—friends, family, a way of life, a job, our youth, we grieve it all. Grief is heavy, painful, difficult, and powerful. We need to touch into it at all levels, really acknowledge it, before we can release it.
    A 10-Minute Guided Meditation for Working with Grief — by Judy Lief

    https://www.mindful.org/a-10-minute-...ng-with-grief/



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