I had never thought about wasting death. I had always thought of death as just the semi-colon between life and after-life. A moment when your spirit no longer exists in your skin. I have pondered what happens after we die, thought about losing people I love, thought about what it is like during the moment of death, and thought about living my life here to “earn” a certain after-life. I understand what it means to waste life, but death? How could we waste something that is simply a moment, simply an end?
I heard these lyrics when I was knee deep in trying to move through the grief of losing my brother. I realized that this concept was giving words to a very important aspect of my grief experience that I was unable to conceptualize.
Part of me was grieving the absence, drowning in the void he left, and desperately longing for the tangible form of my brother. The pain was/is horrific and devastating. But the part that I was surprised by and even startled by, was the part of me that felt my brother more alive than ever, felt him closer than my own skin, felt him everywhere. My brother had become expansive, dimensional and extremely close. (And to be honest for someone who was sleep deprived and dealing with postpartum hormones, this was confusing and creepy… I told him this)
For the past two years, living in the wake of his death. I understand now the opportunity we have in death. I understand that there is an actual element of “birth” in our death. And I am not referring to our birth into afterlife or the memories or legend our physical life leaves behind. There is an actual birth of “life” that occurs as our body releases our soul. Our soul has a life here, not contained by our skin, not reliant on our organs, and no longer contending with our human nature. And what i have learned knowing my brother is that if you live powerfully in your body, living as close to the conjunction of where “soul meets body” (Death Cab for Cutie) in this physical existence….the life of your death, is explosive and healing and magical. You teach those you leave behind of God, of dimension, of hope.
My brother lived vibrantly. He constantly sought to understand himself and his impact on others, negative and positive. When he discovered some way he was being, thinking, using resources, believing, that caused hurt, harm, judgement, shame to another, he worked to change it. He left no stone of his being unturned. He pursued an existence of love and compassion like no one I have ever known. In hindsight, I am surprised his body was able to contain his soul as long as it did.
What does it mean to live where your soul meets your body?
I believe it is living in reflection, having the courage to look at our attachments, our addictions and feel the vulnerability behind them. Allowing them to create a genuine humility within ourselves and a deep compassion for others. Understanding that we are breathtakingly unique and as commonplace as they come. Knowing our unique gifts and allowing the unique gifts of others to teach us. Seeing and resolving the judgement, hatred, wounds of our own hearts, not allowing the illusion of being “right” to protect us from confronting our “selves.”
I don’t know why I was given this particular soul or why you were given your particular soul…. but what makes sense to me is that we are called to live in this existence where our souls can just barely be contained by our skin. So when our bodies are done, our souls live powerfully for good beyond our bones.
I have felt the impact of a life lived like this and…. Your death has been as a beautiful as your life. My brother….. it was…is an honor.
“Your body may be gone… i’m going to carry you in, in my head, in my heart, in my soul.” -Modest Mouse.