Why do people shy away from talking to people that are dying? Death is part of life. It completes the cycle and could be the beginning of another round, the concept of reincarnation. My most recent experience was my grandfather who died early December 2006. Many friends did not know what to say, literally. They were feeling awkward around my grandfather.
What to do? And most of all what to say? Often trying not to cry and failing badly at it. Saying goodbye to someone for the last time is emotional. Who cares about the tears? The dying person does not. We are all human and of course you can be emotionally affected by saying your last goodbyes.
After people said goodbye, they wiped their nose and then they really began talking with me. Much longer in the hallway, outside of the ears of my grandfather. It was a strange thing to watch for me. How would it be for both my grandfather and for his friends to be able to have that conversation together? Where every one can be who he is and can say whatever there is to say?
Yes, my grandfather was dying. He was still the same person as before. The only difference was the label ‘dying person’ that he got. He had not changed himself at all. I found it a gift to be around my grandfather dying. To share this last part of life. To deal with the emotions coming up. To feel awkward and perhaps afraid of what was yet to come.
There was so much opportunity there, both for my grandfather and for me. To let the love flow freely between us. To connect and share a moment in each others life. The last part of life is something that I will also encounter. Maybe alone and maybe with other people present. I will see when the time is there. I would like to connect with others at the time of dying you know.
Death belongs to life. I felt sad and not knowing what to say, and that was all right. I felt it, I let it be there, watching it, having it. I experienced emotional growth, it may sound strange to you now. Because my grandfather chose to die with family members present. He gave me all the time and space that I needed to cry. He often called me his angel and that made me happy. I felt so close and connected to him, he became my mother and father in one person. I gave it all. At one stage the tears just kept coming and he slept. He suddenly woke up and stroked my hair and it was just so sweet to feel him do that. We were really together in that moment.
I got that death is a part of life, and that it is nothing to be afraid of. I lost that part of me that was afraid of dying. Where I was feeling awkward. It was an unexpected gift, to release the fear of pretending. That I could cry and show my tears. To experience that being emotional is all right. That being myself was important to my grandfather as well. To feel and act real and loose the pretending part is just the perfect thing. It is liberating. Not only around people that are dying. Always.
ps this article belongs to the article called Dying is Part of Life. My sweetheart suggested to split the story, because it would be too long.