Death is a hard thing to think about at all, let alone thinking about our own mortality in detail. Yet, I find that when people take some time out to consider what death means to them, they leave feeling a new sense of liberation and exhilaration.
On numerous occasions I have worked with people where the possibility of an imminent death has been the turning point of a person’s life. It has often resulted in people totally reassessing their beliefs and their values and how they want their life to be. Diane is typical of many in her response to facing her own death. “Getting cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me as through it I began to discover who I am and live my own life. All my life I had lived according to how other had wanted me to be. I had lived for my parents, my husband, my children and had not even realised how much I had denied of myself. When I got cancer I realised I could no longer live my life for them. I needed to do a lot of letting-go, particularly of my early conditioning, so that I could begin to be me. Cancer made me see for the first time in my life that it was I who was dying and yet this very same I had not even begun to live. For the first time ever I have started to feel truly alive and part of life”
Tom only lived for six months following his diagnosis of cancer. He was forty when he died and had thought himself to be totally fit and healthy up until the last year of his life. Tom began his last six of life full of fear and anger, unwilling and unable to face death. He spent the next few months of his life sorting through his unfinished business, a great deal of which revolved around his relationship with his parents. The more he expressed the feelings that had laid buried inside him, the more he was able to let go and feel at peace with himself. Although he became very weak, was in constant pain and needed a great deal of care and attention, he was determined to die literally with his house in order. He arranged for his house to be decorated and repaired, and died just after its completion. He even, in his stronger moments, managed to participate in the work and painted several doors and the staircase, which were a source of great satisfaction for him. He died in a state of openness, at peace with himself, having said that the last few months of his life had been the most enriching and meaningful for him. Tom is one example of many who have completed unfinished business in order to find inner peace, and how this can be done in a short space of time.
So why wait until there are only months left? Thinking about death, and all the things we want to get done and the relationships we want to heal can greatly enrich our lives. Whilst death is a tough topic to think about, our workshops provide a safe and healing space to explore and make peace with the only thing we can be certain is going to happen.
Christianne Heal and Adela Austin