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Sunday 23 August 2015

Alan Watts - Acceptance of Death: VIDEO

Published on 31 Jan 2015, and now at 1.6 million views at time of writing, this video about death will truly get you thinking. And sad. And it's very powerful. But yes… you will quite possibly think of death differently. 

Says the video description:

"If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over - fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don't die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.”

One of the most powerful thoughts Watts expresses in this video is this: ”We live in a culture where it has been rubbed into us in every conceivable way that to die is a terrible thing. And that is a tremendous disease from which our culture in particular suffers.”

From my perspective, I was constantly on edge about death. I was constantly finding ways to keep my mother alive. I was her daughter, but in the last decade of her life, I was her carer, even before that. Only I can define when it began and ended, that carer journey with her.

What I DO now is that when it officially ended on August 15, 2014 - she was, I believe, born into a new life. An afterlife. And in her death, she gave me even more life. Only a carer, deeply entrenched in the keeping someone alive, truly understands that statement.

I also know that now… I am no longer afraid of death. Mine, yes. My husband's, my family's, my extended family's, my friends'. But that feeling of deep and utter dread, where I did not when she would die, which I correlated with how well I could advocate and care for her, has left me forever. Life is different now. And I do understand that journey more.

Ironically, last night - before even seeing this video - I contemplated what the circle of life meant. Now that the one year anniversary of my mother's death has just passed, I again feel different about the new stage on the journey of grief. 

I can see - even more clearly now - that my mother was ready to leave this earth. She looked around and even in her heightened state of advanced dementia knew her job was done. I can only imagine the fear and sadness knowing you are leaving a world, a family, a whole existence you have created for yourself. But, the circle of life, of having children (and even if you don't), of knowing our place in the world, makes more sense when you truly experience the deep and utter heartbreak of death. Although, as Alan Watts explains, we need to, as a society, approach death differently.

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