Life, death … and life!

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THE NING SITE ON OCTOBER 31, 2009 (I’m moving old posts from that site, which is closing down, to my WordPress blog):

I’ve been gone for a very long time (in case you hadn’t noticed). Since I last wrote, Jeff and I were notified that his mother had terminal cancer. As both of us are available (he’s laid off and I work at home) we closed up the house and moved in with her to assist with her needs and to possibly help her make her transition to the other side. “Remission or transition” was our battle cry.

Turns out that remission wasn’t in her future. After a horrible struggle, she passed on. Out of respect for her privacy, I won’t write about her personal process, but I did learn some interesting things about myself in the meantime.

I learned that I don’t fear death as much as I fear life.

She and I had many talks about what it means to die, and what might await us on the other side. She was Christian and I am New Age. (We gotta come up with a better phrase than that, don’t we? I don’t like that as a label.) She believed in Heaven and Hell, so she had a fear of death that I don’t share. What if she had made a mistake along the way that caused her to be barred at the Pearly Gates? My belief is that the “other side” is more like it is in the movie What Dreams May Come, that it’s exactly what we expect it to be … a more conscious, intense and malleable version of what we’re doing here in the physical.

So I don’t fear death itself. I fear getting there. I fear illness. I fear pain and suffering on my way to death. I fear getting on the back of Jeff’s motorcycle because what if we wreck and I’m smeared across the pavement, like so much ground beef? I allow this fear to ruin my enjoyment of flying down the Florida back country roads, glimpsing alligators and giant herons in the swamps. I allow it to spoil my delight in watching the sun set over the Gulf with the wind whipping my hair into a mass of snarls that will take forever to comb out once we get back home.

I fear making mistakes because what if someone notices and decides to point them out in front of a crowd of jeering yayhoos? I fear stepping forward with my books because what if they get bad reviews? What if once they are well known, I make a guest appearance on the Daily Show and Jon Stewart makes fun of me? What if I answer a question wrong and I’m humiliated in front of the whole world?

I fear enjoying life because what if it’s taken away? I didn’t realize, until I watched another human being die … something I’d never experienced before … that I haven’t really been living. I’ve been phoning it in, making just enough effort to be able to say, “Sure I lived! I did this, and this and this …” but my whole self wasn’t in it. I held a large part back, in reserve, in case I needed to quickly retreat into a cave somewhere.

During the last few weeks of her life, I kept trying to tempt her with yummy foods. I told her, “If I knew I only had a short time to live, you better believe I’d be eating all of my favorite foods. I’d savor every chocolate covered cherry I could find. I’d wallow in Trader Joe guacamole and crunch every Cheeto I could lay hands on.” Jeff and I bought all sorts of delicious things for her to eat, in an effort to make her final days a little more cheery, but she had already lost her appetite. So he and I ate. And ate. And ate. Boy, did we eat.

We both gained a substantial amount of weight. If she didn’t want any comfort food, we sure as heck did. And after she died, neither of us felt much like cooking so we treated ourselves to all of our favorite restaurants, the ones we knew we wouldn’t be able to visit in the future, because we’d have no reason anymore to visit that area now that she was gone. I lost count of how many Davis Bakery corned beef sandwiches we inhaled, or how many Trader Joe delicacies we dove into. Ben and Jerry’s stock certainly went up, after all the Cherry Garcia ice cream I ate straight out of the carton. I don’t even want to talk about all the Roman Burgers we ate at Mr. Hero.

Exercise? Ha! Neither of us bothered because it seemed so trivial in light of what we were going through. “We’ll get back in the swing once we get home again,” we both decided.

So now we’re home, and life is completely different. Or is it? I’m still not sure who the new Lisa is. I do know that while we weren’t home, at our own desks with our high speed internet and whiz-bang technology, I did still manage to publish my new book, but I wasn’t able to put my full attention on it like it deserved.

Or did I? Was Spirit allowing me “just enough” time and tech to do “just enough” work to get it accomplished, so that now that I’m back home all that pent up energy is ready to burst? It sure feels that way because suddenly everything is lining up perfectly. The book made it to its publication deadline and release date of October 31 (today!). It’s available on Amazon, on time, and book sellers are contacting me, instead of my having to find them! Synchronicity after synchronicity is happening to me and it’s a very exciting time.

I still haven’t gotten back to Curves, but after all the comfort food bingeing I came home with only a three pound weight gain (I stopped pigging out a couple weeks before we left). Not too bad, considering all the food I packed into my face. But I’m realizing how freakin’ unimportant gaining three pounds is when faced with the concepts of life and death. If you’re alive, if you’re drawing breath, then LIVE every moment, because this shit is REAL, not just some TV show you’re watching. And it really does end. So carpe diem … seize the day … and live each moment as if it’s your last.

What’s that famous saying? “Dance like no one is watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, and sing like no one is listening.” With that said, I think I’ll end this now. I have some dancing, singing and loving to do.

Have good days!


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