I don’t have a word for dying that matches how I feel about death. My Pawpaw died this week. He left this worldly life and his old body. He is free. He died in the company of his family at the end of a full and fruitful life, and as far as deaths go it is difficult to imagine one more beautiful than his. I hadn’t, before now, been present with anyone at the moment of their death. I stood beside his bed as his body took its last, struggling sip of breath, and I felt a feeling that I’ve felt many times before. I can only describe it as a wave of Grace, and I feel incredibly fortunate that it has become a familiar sensation in my experience. I stood there feeling as I imagine a harp string (or any instrument I guess) feels at the moment of its plucking when a wave of vibration issues from its center outward. I stood there, plucked by Grace, closed my eyes letting the wave of vibration flow through me, and I cried. It was an honor and a privilege to be there.
I don’t have a word for dying that matches how I feel about life. To me, to be embodied is the ultimate experience of love. For God so loved the world that he stepped into the body of a man so that he might truly know what it meant to be manifested. If we are all children of this life and of God, then we all, in each of our experiences, give to our creator the blissful knowledge of what it means to be alive. When we die to this embodiment, divine love returns the favor. We are free. Free of the suffering that is a part of this unenlightened, worldly existence. Free to return to the rapture and bliss that is pure being, pure love and boundless joy. We return to God and so, we return to everything that is manifested so that we, in divine bliss, may truly know the world.
I don’t think of Pawpaw as being above or below. I think of him as being in everything. He is more a part of me now than he could ever be while confined to the limits of his body, mind and human emotion. I imagine his spirit is delighting in this new state of being, experiencing everything for the first time, knowing intimately the connectivity of everything we see and the unlimited number of things we can’t. His being abides now in pure consciousness without pain or even a thought or sense of missing. He just is now, pure and glorious and divine. Its hard to feel despair knowing I will feel him again in every experience in which I willingly give in to the rapturous core of life. Its hard to be sad knowing that the gentle plucking of Grace I sometimes feel is his state always. Perhaps his energies, now dispersed and delighted, will someday soon coalesce into a new embodiment. Perhaps I’ll know him in earthly form again before I take my leave of this world. Perhaps he’ll wait for me, and we’ll go into our next life together, sharing a new and freshly manifested form. Whatever the truth, I am grateful. Grateful to him for all he contributed to my life and grateful for being present at his passing into a new dimension of experience. I think to celebrate life and not honor the beauty of death is unholy, for without both a life can not be complete.
In Honor of my Pawpaw, Ray Allen Trahan, January 16, 1932-November 29, 2011