I am not dying. Well, let me rephrase: we are all dying each day, but I not going anywhere any time soon as far as I know.  That being said, the older we get, the closer we are to the end of life and there have been many deaths recently of people I know.

We have all seen caskets and urns and headstones. Yes, some are fancier than others but the bottom line is, we all end up in a box in the ground, behind a marble slab, as a tree.  Our bodies all reduced to ash.

Before a recent trip, I made certain my will was up to date and if anyone is wondering, I want my ashes to become a tree: a symbol of new life that begins fragile but grows roots strong and sturdy, that can withstand all that life throws its way; provide shade and comfort for those needing rest, provide oxygen for those living things still around.  I also think about death often and how a death not only  impacts those left behind, but also how I must live.

“Every man’s life ends the same way.  It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” ~Ernest Hemingway

I do not fear death. I fear the way I will die.

I do not fear death. I fear I am not kind or compassionate enough.

I do not fear death. I fear the loss my children will face.

I do not fear death. I fear I am not helping my community or humanity enough.

I do not fear death.  I fear I am living an inadequate life.

I do not fear death.  I fear that the love I have in my heart and passion in my soul is not being given enough.

I have the power to change these things; we all have this power inside us.  As Mark Twain said, “A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

As human beings, we don’t like to think about death, let alone talk about it. Of course we would rather think about life and not reflect on death.  However, reflecting on death makes us realize we must look at our lives now! We are reminded that we must not live in denial and instead face the truth and live as our most authentic selves.  Death is like a mirror in which the true meaning of life is reflected.

Remember, our job isn’t to deny our story or our life. It is to own it, wrestle with it, and rise above it. This is who I am. This is my life, my truth. I alone will choose how to live it right up to the end.

Speak honestly and often with each other about all of the important things including the demons we so often quietly face. Listen to understand. Fill the world with kindness, hope, light and love. Be authentically you. Don’t just breathe…live and live well!