Death is my most powerful meditation.
When it manifests in some shape in my life, I am gifted a telling reminder that this physical shell, which we momentarily occupy, is but small next to the vastness of Creation.
I recently had two very different conversations, with two very different men, who were reflecting on deaths of important men in their lives.
“I like to think he’s saving me a seat up there.”
On January 3, of this year, I learned that my Dentist, Dr. Scott, had passed away. I was very shaken by this because I saw him about once a week for over three years. No, my grill isn’t in constant disrepair, our offices are located right across from one another and we would talk pretty often as a result.
Dr. Scott was always a positive light in the lives of many and is quite missed.
In my case, we’d chat about spirituality, surfing, traveling, food, and all sorts of things in the few minutes we shared each week. Though just an acquaintance, I valued the relationship and he always showed up during times of high stress for me. His ever present smile and positive attitude were gentle reminders that there was more to live than the stress of work and to enjoy the journey.
His death bothered me all month and on January 31, I was told that Dr. Scott took his own life. Dentists have one of the highest suicide rates and when I first heard that he had passed at just 57, my heart sunk because I had a feeling that might be the case. I hoped it wasn’t but it was and it is still shocking. His friend who shared the information with me had this advice on processing the news:
“You cannot think too deeply about it. These kind of situations, no one sees coming.”
And it’s true.
Last person on Earth you’d expect because he was so uplifting. No one saw it coming. Not Dr. Scott’s dental practice partner of three decades, Dr. Kent, or their colleagues, every one who knew him, is in absolute shock that such a positive, loving, and encouraging being would leave that way.
When Dr. Kent and I talked, I shared my own appreciation for his friend, and I thought openly how each person can live on through all who encountered them. We spoke of reading scripture and Dr. Kent had shared that after it first happened, he felt like God was really speaking to him, but as the pain starts to become more manageable, he wasn’t hearing the same.
I thought for a moment on those words. I’ve been experiencing a very “dry season” in life for some time and each day I struggle to open my eyes. Most days, I sleep beyond my alarm, and I have to force myself to give thanks even though I know life can be so much worse. Living isn’t the easiest of circumstances no matter what your experience may be and the pain we encounter can be crippling. But it is in times like these where we feel like God’s voice is not speaking that we have to open up, look, and listen because it is not that God has stopped communicating, we have.
I told Dr. Kent that these times were the times where we had to pray more, meditate further, and just trust that God sees more than we. He smiled and shared that Dr. Scott always got to the conventions early, and no matter what, would always save a seat the table for Dr. Kent. He said he likes to think that Dr. Scott is saving him a seat at the table up there, and said he was going to read from scripture that night.
We shook hands, said our goodbyes, and I like to think Dr. Scott was there in those moments with us.
“It still saddens me that he is gone and I try to find answers as to where he might be.”
My night was a bit different than reading scripture. After checking out a Maui Brewing Company limited release, I received a message asking about an article I had shared via social media about there being more to life than this singular plane of experience. A friend, O., reached out because he still feels challenged that he struggles with the passing of his father this past year.
A different experience, a different man, but the questions and subsequent emotions surrounding each death still very relevant to both men.
I wrote back to O. to encourage him to look, listen, and feel his Father living through him and others who were touched by him. He said it felt as though his friends were tired of hearing it and people have told him to just get over it. To that, I shared it was okay to feel however he felt.
I don’t think pain really leaves. It heals, it changes, but the memories certainly live on.
O. thanked me for taking the time to share my “opinions” and I laughed. If energy cannot be created or destroyed. Where does it, or we go? Physically, we return to the Earth, but what about the Ether?
What becomes of that?
In order to cope with the loss of someone, I think it helpful to recall that when we pass from the Flesh, we merely change form, and our Soul, which really is the essence of who we are, lives on in Spirit. To be one there means our work on this plane of existence is done and that we’re ready for the next adventure.
As haunting as Death can be, it is also a celebration, a wonderful guide, and something we all share.