"Love and death are magnificent gifts which many of us leave unopened." -- Rilke
When asked the other day about my first experience with death, this was my response:
In the third grade I volunteered to be a part of a death education film. I had no concept of what death was at the time. I didn't pay much attention to what I was signing up for. In my 11-year-old mind, the promise of pizza and missing class was equivalent to hitting the jackpot.
Little did I know at that time, death would become my greatest teacher.
Since then, death has challenged me, torn me open, brought up my worst fears, and introduced me to grief. It has helped me learn how to cope with some of the most uncomfortable feelings and it's paved my road to resilience.
Death reminds me to appreciate the moment, it has filled my heart with boundless amounts of love, it has taught me the beauty of raw emotions, and the liberation of a good cry. It has helped me find the freedom to be vulnerable.
Death is a teacher that will visit each and every one us, guaranteed. Just as we prepare a nursery for the birth of a new baby, may we also prepare the space within our hearts for death, befriending this teacher long before it's time to leave our bodies behind.
For resources on becoming more intimate with death, visit The Conscious Dying Network.