The Eight Lessons I learned from Watching Five Souls Die

We are all in the mists of some form of transformation.  And that’s what death is, transformation.  Out of all the transformations I have witnessed, the actual act of dying is so surreal.  I’m the type of person that takes a long time to process thoughts and feelings.  Sometimes years.  I have had the gift of watching five souls die.  I say it’s a gift because each was an intimate and personal moment I was able to be a witness to.  Watching someone you love take their last breath can be traumatic as well as beautiful.  

I have so much to say about this, but for today I want to make sure I share what I have learned from watching five souls die.  

The eight things I learned from watching five souls die.  It’s so weird to say, but here we go. 

1. Eat the food and don’t deprive yourself and take good care of your body as well.  Nourish your body.  Respect your body. don’t deny the treats.  Before they put my mother into an induced coma all she wanted was a sip of water.  But she couldn’t.  She was struggling to breathe even when they put an ice chip on her lips.  Broke my heart to see.  This also reminds me, You are not guaranteed a last meal.  You also want to make sure you care for your body because poor nutrition can cause a low quality of life or die young.  Take care of your mental, emotional, physical, spiritual self, and don’t deprive yourself.   Eat the food, enjoy the food.  Be grateful for the food. 

2. Enjoy life and be with those you love. Truly life is short and it’s never enough time with those we love.  My gram just passed away, she was 90 years old and lived the life she wanted.  She died with a full cup. Still, it’s never enough time with the ones we love.  We always want more time.  The last few years I have been able to spend more time with her and at times she needed my support.  I don’t regret a single moment.  I don’t regret a single meeting I put off because my grandmother needed someone with her at the doctor’s office.  In fact, I receive so much from my time with her.  For years, I put much on hold to help my mom with cleaning and organizing, I don’t regret a single moment with her.  I feel so lucky I was able to have that time.  To hear her stories, to become best friends as an adult.  I wish it for everyone.  There’s another side to this, to make sure to enjoy life.  Don’t only live for others.  Make sure you live for yourself and follow your heart.  I was following mine.  There were opportunities I didn’t take and I don’t regret my decisions, especially with my mom dying in her 60s. So young. We are not guaranteed any person in our lives to be around forever.  They are on loan until God calls them back. And it really stinks no matter what age they are when calling them back.  

3. Quality time, words of affirmation, and touch are the strongest love languages at the end. My dear fur baby jack I slept with, traveled with, worked with, and went through so much of life for almost 18 years.  In his last days I couldn’t feed him treats so he knew I loved him, he wasn’t hungry, I couldn’t do so many of the things I wanted to do or normally did to show my love.  The only thing I could do was be there with him, tell him I loved him, and hold him.  For almost 18 years I spooned him every night.  I would lift up the covers and he could get under them and snuggle into my body with my arms wrapped around him.  A few hours before he died, I didn’t know what was hurting and what was helping.  I wanted to make him as comfortable as possible.  I thought if I spoon him that might be uncomfortable, so I was near, petting him but not holding him.  He began to wiggle his body like a worm.  He couldn’t walk and he couldn’t get up on his own at this point.  As he wiggled his body, I noticed he was getting closer to me.  He wiggled his little body into mine and I was able to lift his head so that my arm supported his head and my arms were wrapped around him spooning him.  He used all his kitty strength to get himself into his favorite position.  It was a moment that will stay with me.  At that moment my heart was broken as filled at the same time.  This moment reminds me that the true love language is more about being there.

4. Say hello to everyone. No one is a stranger. When I was about five years old, there was an old man that walked past our house every day.  He was very frail and sometimes had a walker or a cane to support him.  I said hello every day and somedays would talk to him.  I know you shouldn’t talk to strangers but I did.  Always be safe people.  Follow your gut. My hope is you are safe and can smile or say hello to people you don’t know.  It may bring them a bit of joy.  It was about a year of seeing him every day and saying hello when I saw him get hit by a car.  It all happened so fast.  I remember seeing a shoe land so far beyond his body.  He didn’t feel like a stranger but my friend.  Strangers can become friends.  Community matters.  And really, we are all in one big community on this planet earth. Now be safe, sometimes it’s safer to keep to yourself.  Follow your gut.  

5. Grief comes in waves. There are no rules with grief. I have been spending the last few years cleaning out my mom’s things from her house.  One day, I found a pair of reading glasses in the most random of spots.  My mom could never find reading glasses even though it was on top of her head or next to her chair.  I fell apart in that moment of something so simple as finding a pair of glasses.  Grief comes in waves and there are no rules in grief.  People do and say awful things to each other when they are grieving.  The first six months I would say have been the most challenging after losing someone you’re close with.  When your world goes from seeing them, feeling them, being able to hear them to emptiness, you have all this love you want to give that person and they are not there.  that is the grief and the pain.  You’ll do wild things when you’re grieving or someone else is grieving.  Have patience.  Give space and grace.  Perhaps move slowly as well.  There are no rules with grief.  All rules now go out the window.  Do your very best to not hold grunge while grieving.  It’s easy to do and if you can’t move past, don’t.  I highly suggest checking in and asking, “Is this the grief talking/acting out? Something I has unresolved that is ready to heal? 

6. Death changes us all. You’ll never be the same person. When someone you care for dies, part of you dies with them.  You now will be spending your days getting to know the new you.  There may be parts that you recognize as yourself.  There may be parts of yourself that you don’t.  Take the time to get to know the new you.  Death changes you forever.  Take also the time to grieve that old you as well.  Maybe have a funeral for the old you or a ceremony.  Moving forward can be exciting, challenging, heartbreaking.  Going on without your loved one can feel like a betrayal or not worth it.  Go back to rule number 5, there are no rules in grief.  You’re going to be finding your own way and there will be parts where no one can tell you what to do or who to be.  The best part of this is that now you get to reinvent yourself and decide on who you want to be and what you want to do with your life.  The hope is that this death will result in a version of you that is the closest version of your highest self.  You also have the opportunity to honor the person you love with how you live your life.  

7. Death isn’t the end. Watching five souls leave their bodies reinforces that death isn’t the end.  Being medium and intuitive reinforces that death isn’t the end.  In fact, death has only reminded me that there is something beyond this body and flesh and this life.  Death isn’t the end.  It’s a continuation.  One of the gifts we all have is our intuition.  I truly believe that we are all mediums.  Some of us deny this part of ourselves because it’s so scary.  That’s ok. If you’re ready to dive into your intuition, I highly recommend especially if you have had someone you love pass on, you’ll be able to communicate and feel them. It’s so powerful and healing.  

8. Watching someone die is a sacred and special moment. I mentioned that it’s a gift to watch someone die.  It’s so very sacred and special.  Your heart will break into a million pieces.  Think of every heartbreak as the emergence of another heart.  Because that is what’s energetically happened.  You’re broken open and a new you is emerging.  That is what is so sacred and special about being there to watch someone’s soul pass on.  You are able to witness them too breaking free of their body to emerge into the new.  The moment I watch my granny pass on, I remember thinking how special this moment was.  Even though we all die and people die every day, not everyone gets to watch someone they love pass.  I will say, watching someone die isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, it’s truly traumatic to be there at the end.  Make sure to take good care of yourself and don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to be there while someone dies.  And give people space and grace if they don’t want to be there at the end.  Remember there are no rules with grief.  Everyone grieves in their own way.  

If you have lost anyone or witness someone dying, please make sure to go to counseling and or join a grief group.  There is so much to process.  Go to healers to spark the healing inside you.  Self-care is the most important during this time.  Take very good care of yourself, try not to keep the emotions in or retreat.  Now is the time to live out loud and that includes the sorrow and the pain.  You’ll find it you lean on others, take good care of yourself and honor the person you love with living life fully, you’ll emerge from this transition transformed and more true to you and your highest self.  Sending you love and healing.  I know your loved one is looking down on you, guiding you.  Call upon them when you need them or when you want to feel them.  There are never far away.  

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Peace, Love, & Hugs!

Dorothy (She/Her)


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