Death makes life possible

July 23, 2014

Birthday flame

I’ve always feared death.

Does it seem morbid to talk about death on my birthday?

Not to me.  The two biggest days of our lives are the day we are born and the day we die. They’re….related.

But back to fear of death.

For me, death was the great unknown. Without a belief structure, death seemed like just a great void. Who wouldn’t dread it?

And yet, it’s inevitable. We can’t avoid it. Every living thing dies and renews.

There’s a new documentary coming out called Death Makes Life Possible. I was lucky enough to be able to buy a copy at the afterlife conference last month.

It’s about death. But really, it’s about LIFE.

The point is this: knowing that this life will end one day allows us to make decisions about how we want to be in this life.

How we can be of service to others.

And to ourselves.

It’s taken me a long time to figure out that it’s all about love. All kinds of love.  And that good works of any kind–including random acts of kindness–are what counts.

At this stage of our lives, knowing that our days here are numbered, we might be thinking about what mark we are leaving on the world around us.

Not just on our families, but also our communities and the larger world.

If you’ve been reading along, you know that I’ve finally developed a belief structure and faith that I hope will allow me to embrace the great adventure of death one day.  I hope it doesn’t come too soon, but when it does, I hope I will rise to the occasion and go in peace but with a sense of anticipation about what comes next.

And when I look back at the days of my life, I hope I can say that by the end I knew how to live in love for everyone and everything around me.

It’s a tall order.

But then, this life ain’t for sissies.

Happy birthday to me! I’m happy to have been in this life and look forward to what’s ahead!

Live-die tomorrow

39 comments on “Death makes life possible
  1. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    I think YOU of ALL people, would be happy dying knowing the legacy you’ve left for your many followers. Sometimes I pass your wisdom to friends, and family , my daughter. I have no doubt your love will live on for quite a while. And that’s my birthday message to you, dear heart.xxoo

  2. PatU says:

    Yes! Very Happy Birthday, Carol!

  3. I am fascinated with death. Not a sick fascination, just a “what happens” fascination. There was a really good documentary on Showtime called “Time of Death” that I watched this past year. It was such a learning experience for me. Bless the people who shared their last days and minutes for those of us who were afraid. I’m so glad you found your faith. I’m still looking. xo

  4. Happy birthday Carol! Yes indeed, it’s only when we are constantly reminded of our days being numbered here that we, try to make them worth by doing something meaningful.
    Loved they way your post ended on a positive note.

  5. Happy Birthday to you. Your life, your legacy, your wisdom.

    I, too, think about death but I don’t like to. Growing up, whenever someone died my dad would ask how old they were, and then do the subtraction. At 86 he’s still doing it. It had a profound effect on me.

    So I try not to think about it, and think about life and living a great one.

    Happiest of birthday, Carol!

  6. Donna says:

    Happy Birthday my friend!! I adore you and all that you have taught me in such short time.
    here is to more laughs…more words and lots more life

  7. So true Carol! I have always had this fear of dying but not anymore. I want to live the best life I can while I am here because I also want to be the best at whatever comes next! It is just how some people are wired. I have dealt with loss and disease but I have also had the greatest love of my life and happiness and even silliness sometimes. When it is time for me to go, I will go willingly because I know that this is only the first act in a long, long play and I can’t wait to see more!

  8. Daneshwari says:

    Wish you a very happy birthday! 🙂
    May you be blessed with the best! 🙂

  9. kim tackett says:

    I’m also working at embracing that lesson. When someone we love (or even someone we hear about) dies, one of us will say “wow, it makes us want to live each day a little more intentionally.” And the other one usually replies, “yup, that’s what this is for, the reminder of living.”

    Oh, and happy birthday! So happy you’ve shown up in my life.

  10. Lana says:

    Happy Birthday Carol! I’m at the beginning of redefining my beliefs, and your blog has been just what I needed at just the right time. I too practice random acts of kindness – it makes the world a better place! I feel like your words are a random act of kindness for me, if that makes any sense. I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • That is one of the very best birthday gifts I could get! I wish you a wonderful adventure in exploring what you belief–it was the most interesting journey I’ve ever taken, and I’m still on it. I hope you have the same experience!

  11. Ellen Dolgen says:

    This is so true. Thank you for reminding me to celebrate each and every day! I talk about death all the time as I am finally not fearful of it. My father suffered terribly with heart disease and died at a young age. We were always worried about him having a heart attack I grew up with fear over illness and death. As adult, I realized I can either continue on that path or change the path I am on. I chose becoming proactive about good health. My life is more joyful and full now. I tell my husband and children all the time, that if I was to die today – I led a great life! I am comfortable with who I am. I have loved big and taken all of the love in that I have been lucky to receive. You gave yourself the best birthday gift ever!

  12. Happy birthday!! Sounds like you have a powerful outlook and a good way of balancing all the thoughts. What more could one ask for?

  13. Happy birthday to you, and may the end of this life be very far away!

  14. Ruth Curran says:

    Oh the journey and the cycle of life…. I don’t think there is greater joy than a truly random act of kindness — not premeditated or thought through — but one that even takes you by surprise. May we have lots and lots of those!!!

  15. Tammy says:

    Happy birthday Carol…mines on Saturday, seems there are a lot of July birthdays.

  16. I had a minor surgery (oh they lie) this morning and on the way home I heard the Tim McGraw song, Live like you are Dying. I cried thinking about my BFF that passed away in February. It was a great reminder though, a reminder that if we are going to accomplish what we planned to do here in this life, we should get busy making it happen.
    I work with death up close and personal so I am not afraid. I’m not ready but I’m not afraid.

  17. That song gets me, too. HOw are you?

  18. So true! Your thoughts on death made me think of “Heaven is For Real.” Now that it is coming out on video I can watch. I used to think when I reached this stage of my life that I would be more afraid of death Thankfully, that hasn’t been true at all, there is a graciousness about death; as we age we accept it- and maybe even welcome it- much easier.

    Not that I am ready to check out now, but really; I don’t feel one bit different inside, just having fun as an aging kid!

  19. WendysHat says:

    What great thoughts. I’m wishing you a VERY Happy Birthday too! Since the time I took a college course called “On Death and Dying” I have always been fascinated with the subject. Life goes on…

  20. I love that you said, “life ain’t for sissies.” Some of us get more reminders about that than others!

  21. wendy says:

    Death is the great equalizer, as Susanna Moodie said about 150 years ago. And it’s true. It comes to us all, but I’m determined to make it wait till the last possible moment!
    As a child, I used to lie awake at night, almost paralyzed with fear at the thought of dying. 45 years on, I’m more relaxed about it. I like to think it’s because if I were to be run over by a truck today, I’d know that I’ve lived as well, happily, kindly and generously as I could.
    Note to self: ix-nay on the jaywalking today.

  22. Love your message, Carol! Happy Birthday!

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