I recently saw someone post that a member of their family had pass and almost every single comment was something like: “I am so sorry for your loss…” and “You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.”
I’ve actually been questioning this for a while. I started asking myself and wondering, why is it that, that is the usual response when someone says someone has died.
Now, I mean no disrespect when I say this but I feel that on some level, unconsciously we have been programmed to feel uncomfortable about death and somewhere along the way, it was believed the best thing to say was “I’m sorry for your loss.”
I used to say the same thing for a long time. I would notice how uncomfortable I would get when a friend and family told me someone close to them has died and I’m standing there like…. “uh, I am so sorry for your loss.” and having nothing else to say, not knowing what to say or how to support them.
My dad passed away over four years ago and I have his heartbeats and the day he passed tattoed on my foot. When people ask about it, I can see them physically tense up and immediately say, “aw, I am so sorry.” and immediately I say “you don’t need to be sorry, his death was a huge part of my personal and spiritual growth.” and most of the time they are surprised.
Looking back, people did the same to me when my dad died.
It took me a while to realize that I don’t want to say sorry for someone’s death anymore. Instead I want to break that cycle and honor their death differently. (Also because I am choosing not to say this, it does not mean I believe you are wrong for saying it.)
I have thought of a few ways to support people and other questions to ask when the people grieving are ready; I feel that this will help them in the process of grieving and give them something to think about and reflect on.
“How can I best support you during this time?”
“In what ways would you want to honor or celebrate this person’s death?”
“Would you like to share a memory you have with this person?”
“What is something this person did that you want to cherish or share with others?”
“What is this person’s death bringing up for you and how can I be here to support you?”
Some of these questions may be intense and difficult for people to answer or even think about and I feel that’s because we believe death to be so scary and unnatural for some reason. We (I mean collectively, as a society), seem to want people to live forever, having someone close to us die is unimaginable.
I know I think differently because I view death just as birth. These are sacred moments in people’s lives. Instead of honoring someone passing, we do everything possible to keep them alive but when their time comes for them to go, are we there to hold space, to be there when they are scared, to hold their hand and just let them know everything is okay?
Life is about death and rebirth constantly. We can see it everyday with others and within ourselves.
For instance, the moment a girl turns into a woman by getting her moon cycle (menstrual cycle or period), it’s a moment of death for the little girl and birth of this new woman. It’s the same when a woman is pregnant and then gives birth to her baby, she is also giving birth to herself as a mother and a part of her old self dies. We are consistently growing and sometimes it feels uncomfortable and that’s when you may be going through a death and rebirth of yourself.
I am seeing this more often in myself and realizing that death isn’t scary, it’s part of the process, it’s part of this beautiful journey I am on. Once I noticed this in my life, I truly don’t see death as a huge deal.
I guess I am writing to present a different perspective, to not feel so uncomfortable with death but see it as an opportunity to honor that person’s life, to celebrate by living your own life to the fullest.
There are shamans and healers that are contacted so that they can hold space for those that are passing, to honor their life and to help them transition. Death is a ceremony. I hold space as a Birth Doula for women that are pregnant and are in labor and there are others that hold space as a Death Doula but for people that are passing and I see these two roles as the same.
In all reality everything we do, everyone we meet, everything is it’s own ceremony, everything is sacred. I have noticed that I take it for granted and I am in my mind and in my programming.
Yes, it is sad to lose someone that is dear and near to you. I miss my father very often. He had Alzheimer and I had NO IDEA how to hold space for him, how to handle myself. When he would freak out, I would just get frustrated. Every day I wish I could support him and hold space in the way I know now but I can’t. He passed away in Chile and I remember my mother telling me before she left the hospital that day that he said he was scared. I always think back to that, if we knew, if I knew, I would have loved to have gone see him and just held his hand during his passing.
Even writing about it and thinking about it, it’s freaking tough and emotional. But my father’s death woke me up! It’s like a part of me died, the part of me that was sleeping and I gave birth to this new me. I wish he were here but I may have been in the same cycle if he were still alive and I just want to honor his death and what it brought to me. His death brought awakening, clarity, love into my life and so much more.
I don’t mind when someone says “I am sorry for you loss.” but I would love for people to ask me about him, share memories of him with me, ask me how he was as a father, or ask me whatever feels good for them to ask. He still lives in me!
Also, I know there is a lot going on in life right now but this is an opportunity to honor everyone’s life even those that you may not agree with or those that don’t agree with you, those that may trigger you, etc.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this and write it down.
I love you all so much. I honor your lives, each and every one of you.