Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dying is final, but passing on lives forever

by Greg Smith, MD

It is hard to believe that those we love will die.

We can’t bear it. It’s too harsh, too complicated, too fraught with emotional baggage and unfinished business and things never said. It’s too final. Dead is dead, after all. From the moment of our birth, we are dying. Death can be painful, tragic, too soon, too quick, too slow, too easy, or too hard.

So we soften it up a bit.

She is dying, the doctors tell us.

She is passing on, we tell ourselves.

Dying implies finality and the end of the road. We cannot cheat death.

Passing on implies going through, transitioning, skirting the physics and the metaphysics involved and coming out on the other side, changed somehow, better, calmer, whole. Keeping company with the better angels of our nature while shedding the demons like a skin.


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