surviving death

ghosts in front of a brick wall
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

They’re there, pressed against the glass,

The curtain drawn between ourselves

And the other side. We press our palms

In hope of touching those we loved,

A message or a gentle whisper in our ear.

We need that simple word to smooth

Away the thought we could have changed

The way the story came to end,

That somehow we are not to blame.

I’m watching the Netflix show, Surviving Death and I’m finding it fascinating. I think a lot of people have a fascination with death, a need to know that our loved ones who have died are OK, and that we have nothing to worry about when our time comes.

I’ve always been terrified of death and I’ve had some struggles in dealing with it. And I’ve not really lost anyone close to me so I don’t know where the worry comes from. The only thing I can think of that may have kicked it off was when I experienced a few deaths in quite violent circumstances when I was young.

When I was seven, a family friend committed suicide and I remember my mum trying to explain to me that he chose to die. It had never occurred to me that you had the power to choose and it made my blood run cold.

Not long after that a family member was murdered. He was gay and somebody who was very against the gay community followed him home from a club and stabbed him to death.

So I guess that I did learn to fear death that year. I found that life was quite fragile and could be snatched from us easily. And I guess that I worried that it was painful in these circumstances. That could be why I feel drawn to mediumship and the like. I want to know that it’s OK on the other side and that death wasn’t a painful experience. Was it quick? Was it euphoric? How aware were they of those final moments?

I’m so fascinated by it but I’ve never actually visited a medium. I do have my reservations that some of it is a scam, and that God may be angry at me for messing around with the spirit world.

There are so many questions and none of them will ever be definitively answered. But I do believe that if trying to communicate brings some comfort to people who are grieving, surely that can’t be a bad thing?

Much Love

Rachel xx

talking about death is really hard

angelic statue and sunset scenery
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

She touched the fabric of his shirt

As he slipped away to who knows where

In a shallow breath and a foggy stare.

She touched the fabric so that she knew he had been there,

He wasn’t just some trick of the mind

Their story really mattered, it really existed

Those memories of the kisses, births and parties too.

It was a happy book, written in their name

But still, it was hard to not know where he was,

It was frightening to stand with toes curled over

The edge of the gaping abyss

And not know where the bottom may be,

If there is a bottom anywhere at all?

I went to the solicitor’s office with my dad to get his will signed this week, and the effect that it had on me was quite profound. I really felt bent out of shape as we left, having thought properly about the fact that my dad could leave me at any time.

I think most humans try to avoid thinking about death because it’s enough to drive you crazy, but when you do finally sit down and consider it, it’s terrifying.

For those that are left behind, we don’t know if we’ll see that person again. And for the person facing death, there is that fear of nothingness.

I believe that we must go somewhere. I’m a Christian but even if I strip away any biblical teachings, I don’t believe that a soul and all the memories that we store up in a life time can just vanish in a moment.

It is the uncertainty that is the real kicker. And, of course, there is always the chance that I could go first. Life is so fragile and my trip to the solicitor reminded me of that, which can only be a good thing.

Enjoy it while you have it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i was too scared to close my eyes

beautiful waving sea splashing on shore

I knew to slip away would be

The easiest thing I’d done for months.

After fighting tooth and nail to grasp at shreds

Of silken life that fluttered in a summer breeze,

Letting go seemed natural, the simplest thing to do.

But taking up that final step

Of closing eyes and letting Death take me by the hand;

That is where I stumble in the hope

That those around my bed may come

Along that final route with me,

Despite the fact I love them so.

I have a colleague who had to rush home last week because a family member was slipping away. Sadly, she passed and it’s got me thinking about death. I struggle with death, as I’m sure most people do, and when someone in my circle passes, I really find it difficult to comprehend.

The ‘funny’ thing is that it’s not always the people who are closest to me that affect me the most. I find that it’s things that are said and done in those final moments that stick with me, no matter who they come from.

One of the things that affected me the most was another colleague who lost her mother. They knew that the end was near and as the time passed the mother became scared to close her eyes to sleep because she was worried that it would be the last time that she saw her family.

This broke my heart and terrified me all at the same time.

I think I put myself in people’s shoes too easily and it made my skin crawl to think that I could close my eyes and never see my family again. It’s funny how death can make you say the most thought provoking things. Death comes to us all and yet none of us are ever ready.

Stay safe and love each other as much as you can,

Rachel xx

my fear of death

When I’m crossing the finish line of a running race,

That feeling is quite marvellous,

It’s one of utter relief.

It’s over, I can rest,

I can go back to pizza and the sofa

And an endless episodes of Friends and ER.

*

And when I finish the book that I’ve been reading

I have a feeling of enlightenment

That I wear proudly like a prom dress,

I can show it off in public,

The colourful things that I now know,

And the authors that I’ve read.

The closing of the book is the beginning of my fun.

*

But what can I say of what is certainly coming,

That fearful black entity that will swallow us all.

Yes, death is inevitable,

We can’t run away and we can’t close the book.

But is it an end like the end of a race or a classical work?

Or is it the beginning of something mistook?

The line is in sight and we’re heading that way,

But why all this talk about how to keep it at bay?

I’m thinking that maybe we should run at full speed,

Collecting our medal and the praise of our friends.

And we deserve it so much,

For surviving this world we live in today.

No, I don’t think that death is the end,

I do not think it is evil and dark.

But rather a blanket that’s placed round the shoulders

Of the tired distance runner who has battled it out.

It’s a hug from the coach and a medal in hand.

I agree that this world sees the pages slammed shut,

But only to wake in the bookshop of dreams

Where there is so much to read

That the fear and the pain are no longer things

On which your imagination can feed.

So, death terrifies me. I am a control freak and not knowing how or when or what even happens is something that makes me sweat. I mean, we all think that we are going to die as old people and our hearts just give up while we are sleeping. But the truth is that it’s probably not going to be a pleasant as that.

And then there’s the big question that is ‘where do we go?’ I’m a Christian, but even the Bible doesn’t tell me exactly what is going to happen. Do I go to a waiting room where they decide if I’ve made the grade to get into Heaven? Or do we go into some kind of hyper sleep until the second coming? There are so many questions still left open that I need the answer to. And I worry that if I think about it too much then my head will go pop.

That’s why I like to think that it’s not the end. Whenever I finish a race, I know that there are nice things to look forward to at the end. And I know that there are other races that I can enter to have another go at bettering my time. It is a similar experience when reading a book. There are times when I fall so in love with the characters that I can’t bear for it to end. But when the book is finished I can sit and think about it in my own head or discuss it with friends. I can read other work by the same author or see if the book has been made into a movie. Life won’t end as soon as that book is finished because the characters live on, and more importantly, I live on.

So, if death also terrifies you, try to think of it as a little break in the proceedings. It’ll be a time for you to have a look back at your ‘best bits’ and then prepare for whatever lies ahead in the great unknown. And if you have recently lost someone, it might be comforting to think that they have just finished this race, but they’re still out there running another one and waiting for you when it’s your turn to join them.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

flowers on the side of the road

I stooped and touched the drooping petals,

I guessed those flowers had been there

For several weeks at least.

Cellophane all cracked and crumpled,

And a greeting card that’s long since disappeared.

I wondered how the person these were for

Had died, had perished, lost their life.

I wondered if they had a spouse or kids,

Or anyone who missed them dearly, now that they were gone.

And then my thoughts, they trailed away,

To my own life and my own pain.

I missed her even though she lived.

But the breaking of those bonds,

Were just as violent and severe.

I missed her with the same intensity

That I would feel if I were taping flowers to this tree.

She’s gone, not dead, but vanished from my life.

Perhaps I need to buy some flowers,

Make a little grave to mark

The passing of a love that’s done.

Then perhaps I’ll find a way to put her ghost to rest

And remove this heavy weight that’s rested on my chest.

I miss my mum so much. She’s not died but she has cut me out of her life completely and I have found that some of the things I say to people make it sound like she is no longer here at all. I’m so sad about everything that has happened that I just want to put it all to rest. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t give up on the hope that I might get her back. I can’t have the ‘funeral’ because there is so much uncertainty. And I love her and would have her back in a heartbeat.

If you are mourning the end of a relationship I hope that you are staying strong and looking after yourself. Just be open and ready if the person does want to reconcile because hatred is a horrible and energy draining emotion.

Much Love,

Rachel xx