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Natural Awakenings Spokane WA/Coeur d'Alene ID

Death as a Spiritual Practice

Anyone whose read my letters from publisher in the past knows that death and dying has had a deeply powerful effect on my life and is an area I am passionate about. One of the reasons I feel so strongly about such a taboo topic that most people don’t want to talk about is the lies that we believe about it—that it’s “unnatural” and “shouldn’t happen” or that it’s “unfair” or “deserved” and so on. Believe me, I get it. Death feels like an absolute end and something that we should go out of our way to avoid or ignore exists—only life doesn’t work that way. Death comes to us whether we want it to or not.

When my mom’s heart started getting worse and she started feeling sicker and sicker, I went into denial mode. I convinced myself she was going to be fine and the doctors could help her, and I ignored the absolute misery she was feeling. I couldn’t bring myself to even consider a life without her in it. So, I denied what was happening, and in the process, I denied her humanity. When I was finally able to face the inevitable truth that was right there living in her eyes, that’s when everything shifted. And oh, did I cry and wail and scream and shout and cry some more. I hated this truth so much I almost couldn’t handle it. But I knew I needed to start acknowledging and processing my own pain before I could be there and fully present for hers.

As a result, I started reading about death and dying and what happens to the body as well as the soul, which is truly the ultimate mystery. I was led to the book, Journey of Souls, by Michael Newton, and it changed everything for me. Thanks to this book, I was able to release my fear around death and my fear around my mom’s pending journey. I was able to talk with her about dying in a meaningful and conscious way. I told her I thought it was going to be beautiful and that she would see her older brother who died in Vietnam and her mom and dad and others who had gone on before her. I saw it as a “liftoff” rather than an ending, and ultimately, so did she. Was she doing it while afraid? Yes. Did she struggle and fight and resist death? Yes. Did she also laugh, say her goodbyes, write her final cards and surrender to it all? Ultimately, yes. And so did I. I was blessed to be by her side throughout the process. Never had I ever felt such powerful moments, the feeling of time standing still, energy flowing through and around us as I did in those final weeks and days of her life. It was truly the most mystical, painful and powerful time of my life and it transformed me.

I am now an end-of-life doula and have been serving as a spiritual counselor for those who are experiencing their own difficult process with death—their own or someone they love. I am offering a free, 30-minute counseling session via Zoom or phone during November for anyone who resonates with what I have shared and who would like to talk with me about their own process. Check out my resource guide listing on page 29 for more information.

Please enjoy this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings Inland Northwest, and I encourage you to take some time to read our feature article on Dying WellFour Steps to a Good Death on page 12. Death and dying truly can be a beautiful letting go process—a liftoff of the soul, back to Source—my mom taught me that. And while her body is no longer here with me, I still feel her unconditional loving energy swirling all around me right when I need it most.

Happy November, my friends. Here’s to living our highest good each and every day knowing that we are all here for as long as is meant to be.

With love,

Amber


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