I talk to my passed-on loved ones all the time.
Sometimes my grandfather yells at me (with love) for being stubborn and indecisive, and my great-grandmother tells me not to worry or live like they did (afraid of everything).
Sometimes I’ll meet people I’ve never known, and they’ll tell me weird, random facts about the world they were part of.
But most often, they just laugh and smile, and love me and tell me everything is ok.
Because it is.
Death of a loved one is… so many things.
I think fundamentally it shocks us into the NOW intensely. It forces us to look at our lives and ask ourselves if what we’re doing and how we’re doing it is good, worth our time, etc.
I’ve lost dear ones and looked at their embalmed faces, puffed up and strange, unable to look too long. It wasn’t them. They weren’t there any more.
Most cultures will stay with the body for 3 days before burial.
There is an understanding that the soul is experiencing Bardo – or the transition, and so the family is meant to stay with the body and sing, talk, help the person go towards the light rather than get stuck someplace else.
I know that many cultures have been altered and traditions squelched, but if you look, you will find the 3 days thing is consistent across many peoples.
I’ve recently been watching the New Zealand show The Casketeers, a mini docu-comedy about a Maori family funeral business. The entire first season I was convinced that it was a mocumentary like “The Office”! But it is real!
So I watched it again, looking for nuance and meaning in the ceremony of the Pacific Island people they worked with. It’s beautiful (and funny), and you’ll pick up some interesting concepts about the cultural perspectives on death and taking care of the dead.
Why am I going on about this? We don’t like to talk about death.
I’m writing about this because we need to get more ok with it.
One of the things I love about the Tipene family and their staff (from the Casketeers) is that they genuinely love their deceased clients. They introduce them to each other if two have to share a room for any length of time (while being changed or moved to a casket.) It’s the most amazing approach. They treat them with respect. Because they are still with us, whether they’re hanging around the body or looking around between worlds.
The soul is transitioning, and it absolutely DOES communicate with those who can hear. The energy is aware, the mind goes on, and knowing that we are with it – present to it – is so important.
It’s true that we wont really know what’s up till we, ourselves, pass over. We are blocked from remembering the in-between and the afterward, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have hunches or that we need to be afraid.
Death is a part of life here. It’s part of the lesson we have and part of what we are here to learn – how to deal with it in stride, how to take on the weight of the person left behind, if that is now our role.
Those are all the lessons we came here to learn.
And being able to connect to our deceased relatives, whether directly, while whistling a tune they loved, or having certain answers come to you about questions you had, it’s all legitimate. It’s all valid.
You’re allowed to do whatever is necessary to heal. You can use any tool that serves you. I’m also here to support you. Anytime.