The debate about what happens after death will continue well into this century but I have no doubt that one day soon we will have, not just the technology, but the ability to know and go beyond at will.
My personal views aside, I believe there is way too much evidence, of the afterlife, for non-believers to try and dismiss altogether.
I wanted to share a little bit about what I have experienced around dealing with death, my personal beliefs, some additional challenges you can expect and how to overcome them.
Also, how to cope with the loss and most importantly how you can turn the tragedy into something more than just a painful experience. I would go as far as to say it can be a blessing rather than a curse.
Earlier this month my sister, Sheila, passed away. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago but opted not to have conventional treatment. She chose to take alternative forms of treatment but didn’t always follow through with them.
In the last 8 weeks of her life, my sister couldn’t eat and in the last 3 weeks or so, should could barely hold down liquids. She passed away at hospital while my father was with her which was appropriate as he spent the last four weeks caring for her full time.
I consider myself very lucky in many ways as, a month or so earlier, I was with John Demartini at his ‘Breakthrough Experience’ weekend in London and we conducted a process called the ‘Quantum Collapse’. We were asked to select a person that had pushed our buttons or challenged us in some form and chose that person for the task. My sister had indeed pushed my buttons, and I hers, but none the less we had a lot of love for each other and a good understanding of the others needs. The process enabled me to feel more gratitude and love for my sister and in many ways I feel the reason that I have been able to let go much easier.
It was even more so the case because a few months prior to her passing, I was at her house in the morning before work, and we ended up having a heated argument. I remember I called into work that day to let them know that I wouldn’t be in and Sheila and I continued our discussion. It was because of that day that we both gained a greater understanding and appreciation of each other. It all ended with smiles and laughter. As far as people go Sheila and I were both totally different individuals; like chalk and cheese you might go as far to say.
Death & Beliefs
Most importantly for me I don’t believe in death. I only believe in death so far as the body becoming a corpse but the soul continuing its journey. Technically even the body doesn’t die. The matter and energy remain constant but changes it’s form or presentation. The ashes are still billions of atoms that were once the vehicle for my sister.
Isn’t is amazing how when we’re born, we’re approximately 9lbs in weight. When We’re cremated, our ashes are about 9lbs in weight.
The body itself, whilst alive, is constantly changing. You are not the same person you were two years ago. You are 100% brand new! Every atom and every cell has changed and the thing the maintains the memories and persona is the soul. Even though deep down I know all this to be true when the death first occurs you cannot help but feel saddened, grief and shed a few tears.
When it happened I was unaware as I was driving to the hospital. As I walked into the room I asked my dad how she was and that’s when he told me that she had passed away. Naturally there was the initial shock to deal with and so my dad and I sat with her for a couple of hours before her body was taken away. For a small portion of that time I decided to keep myself occupied so I started to call the family and inform them of what had happened.
Later that evening my family and I had the chance to all go and see the body together in the morgue; that was important as it allowed us all to grieve together. Over the course of the next few days I had to take various family members to the morgue and so I spent a lot of time with the body. I considered this a blessing as it allowed me to almost become immune to the emotional effects of seeing the body.
Towards the end just before she passed away she did look very ill but after passing away her body looked incredibly peaceful so that was another reason I didn’t feel the effects as much. She did have a large lump on her forehead crossing over into her scalp but after she passed that lump seemed to disappear.
When looking at a dead body you can’t help but feel that any second the person in front of you is going to wake up. Another thing that people often notice or observe is that the body appears to breathe. That is not the first time I’ve seen that on a dead body.
My parents are Hindu and so we observed the Hindu tradition of doing the 13 days of prayer. Every evening family would gather and we would sing Hindu prayer hymns. The purpose of the prayers is to give the soul a peaceful passing. During the day of the funeral we had an open casket and the priest who came did a traditional Hindu ceremony. My brothers and I adorned her body with little bits of blessed food, flowers and new clothes and then after which the body was cremated.
We also decided to dedicate a song to her so we chose a song called ‘Joy’ by Blackstreet and Marvin Gaye. I remember on the day that my sister passed away I was driving to the studio to do my radio show as normal and I heard that song on the radio which I hadn’t heard in years. I just thought “what a beautiful song; I’ve got to get my hands on a copy”. A few days later I found that song on Sheila’s phone; it was one of only a handful of songs on her phone and it just seemed perfect to dedicate to her. If you are ever in this situation you may also experience certain synchronicities that occur. Call them accidents, call them coincidences; I can assure you they are much more than just that.
The Effects Of Death
Initially dealing with death can bring people closer together but just as quickly it can also drive a wedge between people; something I’ve seen first hand. The beauty of death is that is can remind you to live. Death will initially increase the value of life and will often get people to re-evaluate life. It’s a time when you will feel like making some sharp decisions about life. It’s good to act quickly to follow through since the sense of urgency will be fresh in your mind.
If we could remember those thoughts and feelings throughout our lives, about how short life is, then think of where your life would be today? How would your life be different? How would you treat people differently knowing that tomorrow they might not even be there? Suddenly you start to appreciate those around you more. You start to feel grateful for what is already in your life rather than thinking about what more you could have.
After my sister passed away, my two closest friends, on separate occasions both said the same thing to me: They both said: “A death of a close relative will always reveal peoples true colours.” They weren’t wrong! You would think that a death would bring out the sympathetic side of people but I’ve seen it bring out the most selfish side in people you will ever see. It will add to the challenge of dealing with the grief and all you can do is handle it honestly.
There is no point in holding back your opinion especially if it’s just to pacify people. Speak your mind and let people know why. Once it is said and done go within and offer your gratitude to those people for helping you to grow. That is their sole purpose. Revealing to you a side of yourself you have yet to love. It of course flows both ways but they might not know that. You cannot control the reaction of others, only you can choose how you deal with the way others react.
Over time thoughts will come into you mind and you will realise there are things to deal with. The big thing of course is money. Any time the subject of money comes along again I believe it also reveals the true colours of any individual. If you were especially close to the person then dealing with any estates and money can bring fourth guilt and that is completely natural. If anything, if you feel guilt, it is a testament to your character. However you feel, know that you are just doing what needs to be done.
Dreams and memories are another big thing that will be a big impact on you over the grieving period. I said to someone recently that the purpose of us having the ability to let our memories fade is so that the pain eases. If we had perfect recall then we would always experience the pain.
No one likes to admit that they are forgetting the person or that the pain is easing but it will as your habit of recalling those memories will lessen. Having a strong focus and purpose in life will naturally also be of benefit to you and will assist the process of knowing any tradegy, no matter how great can also bring with it and equally powerful blessing. I know that this point will be a tough pill for most people to swallow but all you need to do is look for them.
I don’t just believe, I know that although you will no longer be with your loved one physically, they will continue their journey and you will always be connected with them spiritually. Just last night my mother saw an apparition of Sheila and I had a dream about her. That connection is something that is intangible and can never be broken.
What Death Can Mean For You
Ultimately we are all connected but naturally you will feel an affinity to those who you’ve shared a journey and I believe that sharing having a much deeper purpose. You shared a journey with that soul for a reason and it is for that reason that you will be reunited with them in some form or fashion in the future.
Above all there is one key message here I wish to share with people. I want you to know that death is something we must all face whether that be as a participant or a witness to. Know that it is on it’s way and live your life accordingly. Prepare for it, for it is less likely to come unexpectedly to those who know it is never far away.
Those who truly understand death will be the kind of people who live according to that dharma and shine as a result. They will act as if there is no tomorrow and will live life passionately and purposefully without taking it too seriously. So be grateful for the present moment as it is the only true fragment of time by which we can live and act.