Embracing death usually gets us thinking about someone we have loved who has died – Maybe a pet that was our best friend. We reminisce about the memories, we start to feel feelings of loss perhaps, maybe some gratefulness that we were blessed to have been apart of their journey.
As I was reading chapter six “Embracing Death – A Survivor’s Manual” from the book “When Death Speaks” written by Stephen Garrett, I was made aware of the many deaths that I have already experienced in my life – Much loss, much tragedy. Some of which I have embraced, some of which I am still grappling with.
I have had a death very recently. I believe I had embraced it, yet the grieving isn’t finished. Here is my story.
In my 40’s while going through a divorce and raising my 3 teenagers on my own, I embarked on a journey to fulfill a childhood dream…I always wanted to be a nurse. I have many memories of dreaming about nursing, I would even “pick out” my uniforms from the Sears catalogue. I believe I could heal the world and make everyone smile. But as with many of us, life had different plans, but yet it was always a dream of mine.
So In 2001, I graduated, and began the career of my dreams. I loved my job, love my path, loved the learning and the challenges. But with nursing, comes personal, on the job injuries, of which the latest one has taken my career dramatically away. As I embark on yet another surgery to heal this injured body, I realize that it is my heart that is injured in a deeper, more profound way.
I have talked with my meditation teacher Davidji, about these changes, deaths. He shared with me how life ebbs and flows, always changing, and that, as my “job” as a nurse is ending, me the “nurse” will always be the nurturing one, the healer, the caregiver. That each hand I have held, each smile I have given, each wound I have dressed, was my path, my dharma. Even for a short season, it was where I was to be.
So as I packed all my uniforms into a bin, one by one, a few tears were shed, a feeling of sorrow and emptiness came over me. Loss was what I felt. Death. As I closed the lid, and said my good-byes, my heart broke a little bit more. I know I am a better person for all those experiences I had and all the memories that I have deep in my heart.
I have hung my stethoscope on my sacred space, and as I see it there, it reminds me of my past journey, and teaches me that there is life after death and hope after sorrows.
Written by Wendy Lynn Hazel – Retired Nurse