When one we love has been told they are dying, we begin the grieving process. Yet at the same time we continue to make memories and cherish their physical presence that is still with us.
Jim Chastain and his family and friends are in this process. Those of us reading over his shoulder have much to learn and hopefully much to talk about as we face his dying experience openly and honestly.
Much has been written about dying and grieving, but seldom do we have honest conversations about them. Typically we try to avoid even saying the words because of the painful feelings that arise, but avoiding doesn’t stop the pain and it leaves us ignorant of how to move through the process.
I will be sharing the words of others that are meaningful for me. I encourage you to share your own readings and thoughts that have meaning for you. In so doing, we learn and help and support each other.
Following are some words for you to ponder by Jean Vanier, a philosopher and former naval officer: The death of someone we love is always painful. To love is to carry another within us, to keep a special place in our heart for him or her. This spiritual space is nourished by a physical presence; death, then, tears out a part of our own heart and puts us in a place of loneliness. Those who deny the suffering of death have never truly loved; they live in a spiritual illusion.
To celebrate death, then is not to deny the pain and the grief it involves; it is to give space to live it, to speak about it, and even to sing of it. It is to give mutual support, looking the reality in the face.”