The event of death is just one losses we experience when a loved one passes and understandably it does get the bulk of the attention. When we are paying attention though we can notice other losses associated with the death and in they own way separate. Let me tell you a short story to illustrate what I mean.
Darlene’s granny Rosalie died on Tuesday at 9:00 am; it was a lovely graceful and dignified death. It was full of sadness and tears even though it was expected. We had all talked about getting ready for the day Granny died and we had done some great planning and preparation for it. When death does comes though you are truly never prepared for the finality of it.
Having the death well planned and the paperwork in hand the family did not need to rush things, they didn’t need to call 911, the doctor or the funeral home at warp speed. The great planning hard bought the family some quiet lingering time, some time to say good-bye in a much more full and complete way. It gave them the chance to notice and let go of all the granny had meant to them in a more graceful unhurried way.
Yes there was the death and some initial tears and sadness. Then as the women washed Roaslie’s body and dressed her in one of her favorite dresses there was a lovely opportunity for some more letting go. The last time they would dress her; the last time they would put her makeup on; the last time they would brush her hair. All these little last times when noticed are beautiful little moments to let go a little more.
The day of her death was full of all these wonderful letting go moments they the family could fully experience and savor because they didn’t have to rush.
The next day at noon the funeral home staff arrived to take granny away. For some in the family it was a relief as they were unpracticed in having a dead loved one in the living room. For those closest to granny’s care in the last months though it was another death. She was gone and now her body was leaving. I had done a little preparation work with Darlene and Daphne to alert them to this different type of loss and the sadness they could experience as the staff team drove away with granny.
The bed she lay in, the bed she died in was now empty. Rosalie was gone. Not to be seen again until funeral day next week.
The house felt empty.
Empty of Rosalie, empty of the task and chores and daily duties performed so lovingly by the two gals.
Nothing more to do for granny.
Emptiness, time, and space with no Rosalie to fill it.
When we slow down the after death process by preparing well we create these glorious opportunities to let go in bits and pieces, in a more healthy and complete way with no rush and no haste only time to open to the many exquisite layers of loss and grief.