brother dying from lung cancer

When Your Heart Feels Heavy in the Midst of Death

death around us

The death of a Mexican sunflower.

Death is all around us today. My brother is dying from stage 4 lung cancer, and I am going to Minneapolis to visit with him tomorrow; we are a year apart in age. My heart feels heavy for the City of Light, in the throes of multiple terrorist attacks. Hundreds dead, shootings, explosions, hostages; French President Hollande called out the military in a national emergency. A couple of football players from Grant Union High School were shot at a 3-way stop two miles from the school in north Sacramento, and Senior Jaulon Clavo died last night at UC Davis Medical Center.

Collectively and individually we mourn and grieve.

In doing so, we also give thanks for those who support us and have made a mark in our lives in a meaningful way. These types of tragic events should pull us all closer together. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do but never could find a way to do it, now is perhaps the time to put together a plan and act on that plan. Death sometimes provides a bit of clarity into our reasons for existence, our own mortality. The opposite of what you might expect in the face of death.

The Sikhs have such a good way of handling death. When my neighbor was killed on the freeway, friends from the Sikh Temple came to my neighbor’s house. The women moved furniture away from the walls and sat on the floor in my neighbor’s living room to wail, sob and cry out their hearts, along with the widow. The men went out back to reflect on my neighbor’s life and support each other. That seemed like such a natural way to deal with death.

Hug your friends and loved ones and let them know you care. Show your love in words and action. Remember, there can never be too much kindness in the world.

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email