What Death Taught Me

A recent family tragedy put me on a nightmare rollercoaster I never wanted to be on. After a few weeks of trying to push away my experience and move on with my life, it resulted in me having to take time off work and face to up how I truly was.

I found that a lot of my pain came from resistance of the situation I was in, and even with myself in how I was feeling and acting – I was essentially telling myself constantly that it wasn’t ok. I needed to be ‘better’ – whatever that was. I had forgotten some lessons I had learnt already about when bad things happen to us in life – that acceptance makes it easier. The difficulty doesn’t go away, but it’s lessened, you adapt to your new reality which can be the first step for a better one. It was like a pressure had been lifted, and for the first time it was ok to not be ok. It was ok to feel down and experience one of the darkest periods of my life, and while I’m still working through it, acknowledgement and acceptance has really helped. It’s to let what happened in, to let it change me, which is only the natural course of things.

The tragedy matured me somehow in subdued tones, and I feel older in a way that can’t be seen from the outside.

I was all at once humbled at the temporary nature of life, reminded of how little time everyone really has. Death wasn’t a shadow on the wall that scared me, it was a visiting teacher. It rearranged the areas of my life, shrinking some in size and increasing others to show me what was truly important. Death is traditionally illustrated with a hood and scythe, but in reality it’s a messenger to the living. Worries that I had before the tragedy faded as I gained for a second a shocking, crystal clear clarity on life. Right now is what is truly important in life, seizing the present moment and appreciating what you have. It’s so much more the beautiful because it won’t last.

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