The Circle of Life: Infancy & Death

I’ve neglected my readers for far to long now.  I apologize for that and am ready to get back into the swing of things.  Since my last post– dad passed away.  And McKinley is now 18-months-old stringing words along– “bye-bye dada” and “uh-oh meme.”

Life is full circle.  I’ve heard it a million times and I thought I knew what it meant.  That basically–we start where we end.  It seems simple to understand, but it’s different to have experience.  And, I know that now.  Now, that I’ve watched my father die.

I do not mean to confuse experience in the sense of “doing” or “seeing” something,  but rather experience as a feeling.   An experiential feeling that is created in part by the doing and seeing. For example:

Let’s say a specialist comes into a classroom to speak about Nazi Germany.  Imagine that this young man knows everything about Nazi Germany. Everything. The following day, another speaker comes to the class.  The new speaker says the EXACT same words as the young man the day before.  Except he was an 80-year-old man from Auschwitz.  And the difference between them is not the “experience” itself.  It’s the feeling the experience created for the older man that makes their knowledge different.

My father would always use that example in his philosophy classes when explaining the existence of God.  To know – is different than – to feel. 

So, here I am with an experiential feeling about my father’s passing.  Life, a circle.  I’ve lived through it, I saw it, and I felt it.  I was there every minute and everyday. Watching new life begin and my hero’s life end. And not just end, but transcend.

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In the end of life–we revert back to infancy.  We revert back to toddlerhood–a self-centered world–back to diapers–back to being dependent–back to napping–losing our ability to walk, and then back to sleeping all the time. And in the end of our life, like toddlers, we get frustrated because we can’t communicate the way we want to.  There are surprisingly many similarities.  It was humbling to watch.

Death is just as magical as birth. It’s a privilege and an honor to witness. But, we mourn death and don’t talk about it.  Why?  Why is it such a taboo topic and painted as morbid and horrible?  What– just because death is depressing?  Death is natural. And it’s normal to be sad when you lose someone you love. It’s going to happen.  So–shouldn’t we talk about it?  Why is being sad something negative when sadness is the only way to understand happiness?  Life is all about the journey, and the journey is never flat.

We mourn because our fear of the unknown and our fear of life without the familiar.  Death is truly the greatest testament of our being, our will power, and our core strength. And we will all question— Is the “truth” I’ve always believed, really true?  It is the greatest hill we all must climb.  But never in my life have I worked hard to climb a hill, without ever coming down.  And isn’t down hill so much better?  And isn’t the climb always worth it?

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Life, for me, will never go back.  I’ll always have to push forward.  Like a circle.  Where does a circle really start and end anyways?  It doesn’t. It just continues to go around and around.  Yes, I am suggesting that life after death goes on.  However, I am not suggesting how it goes on.  That I do not know.  But, my father in-law once told me something I’ll never forget.

“You know, death is like being born.  When you’re inside the womb it’s a dark, comfortable place, and it’s all you know.  And then, one day, you are pushed out into this bright light.  This new world you know nothing about.  You are scared and alone.  But, then you realize it’s this beautiful place.  Why wouldn’t death be the same?” 

 

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7 thoughts on “The Circle of Life: Infancy & Death

  1. Pingback: Trip down memory lane « McKinley's Milestones

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