Death. Again. And Awareness.

Death. We all know (more or less) that it is coming, but when it does, it is still always a surprise. Even though I expected my father to die sooner rather than later because of his advanced Morbus Parkinsons disease, when he did die seven days ago, the shock and grief and sadness was just as heavy on my heart as if it had been a sudden, completely unexpected death.

When I requested to see my father after his passing, the funeral director informed me that usually the family only view their loved one inside a coffin, bedded on a pillow and blanket, and that he was not ‘presentable’ quite yet. That was fine with me, I told her. So she took me to what she called their ‘preparation room’; it was very cold inside.

To me, my father was perfectly presentable – nicely dressed in his blue shirt, tie and black pants, and his face peaceful and at ease. Standing next to his lifeless form, once again I was – indeed I still am – in awe of the mystery of life and death, the mystery of who we are. Just the week before we had celebrated his 80th birthday with him in the circle of our family – his sisters, his children and grandchildren. When his brother had called from Australia, my father had laughed, his big blue eyes shining as he spoke with such joy on the phone.

And now, although there was his body, his face, his hands, so much like my own… that what had made him “my father” was gone. He was gone.

In this intimate moment, less than 24 hours after he left his body, I quietly thanked him for gifting me this life, for his generosity when I was a very rebellious teenager, and for helping me become the person I am today; saying goodbye to his physical being, and wishing him a favorable rebirth, should that exist. The flow of the earth and the sky energies within my body was very palpable. Peace.

We will all die. One day our loved ones will look at our own lifeless body just like I did with my mother and with Steve and now with my father. Just like you perhaps did with your loved ones who died. But then it will be our body.

What, oh what are we doing with our one precious lifetime while we still have the divine privilege of this wondrous body?

During my ordeal of the past two+ years, awareness has been my foundation. Awareness to the fact that I am alive. That there is a vibrant, inexplicable mystery that leaves my body without ‘life’ when ‘I’ die. That I can taste, feel, smell, dance, cry, destroy, create, hear, walk, touch, celebrate, help, write, cry, make love, speak. Awareness when I grieve and mourn, awareness when the waves are calm. Even awareness of awareness!

The awareness that every moment is one precious irretrievable complete moment of life, whatever that moment holds. And finally the awareness that death is part of life. That death will come; that it is nothing bad, nothing to fear. Simply a fact.

Would your life be any different if you lived with that awareness all the time? If every single moment was a wake-up call?

And so, as my father is on his final journey to the great mystery beyond this body – “in die ewigen Jagdgründe”, as he used to say, like in the Native American Indian tradition – I am so sad that he is gone. Yet all is well. May his soul be reunited, finally, with his beloved Maren, our mother, and may they, together with Steve, be connected with us in the Unknowable.

“The greatest discovery in life, the most precious treasure, is of awareness. Without it you are bound to be in darkness, full of fears. And you will go on creating new fears – there is no end to it. You will live in fear, you will die in fear, and you will never be able to taste something of freedom. And it was all the time your potential; any moment you could have claimed it, but you never claimed it. It is your responsibility.” ~Osho, Beyond Psychology

 

 

24 replies
    • Lokita Carter
      Lokita Carter says:

      Thank you, Tandy. It is an older photo from several years ago…but when I look in the mirror now, I see the same smile.

      Reply
  1. Lourdes
    Lourdes says:

    Lokita, I see the resemblance between you and your papa. May he RIP and receive my condolences on his passing. You continue to be an inspiration for me and so many. Thanks you.

    Reply
  2. Viola bestmann
    Viola bestmann says:

    Mein Beileid, Lokita. Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass Ihr Euren Vater, Bruder, Opa und Freund vermisst. Eure strahlend hellen Augen, das schoene Laecheln erkenne ich auch in Deiner Schwester wieder, in ihren Kindern. Was fuer eine gute Entscheidung es ist, fuer eine Weile, bei Deiner Familie im Norden zu verweilen. Ich umarme Dich herzlich, Du bist nicht allein!

    Reply
  3. Diane
    Diane says:

    Thank you again, Lokita, for sharing the precious moments of your life with us. I, too, recall the peace as I stood beside my father 27 years ago after his passing. And, yes, the long-awaited death of my mother brought instant tears and grief as well. Such are the mysteries we behold. Sending you much love.

    Reply
  4. Mark Zila
    Mark Zila says:

    Lokita I’m sorry for your loss. I lost my father a few weeks ago yesterday. I was with him as he passed massaging his head. This was the first time I actually saw someone pass. It definitely makes one aware of what we will all face eventually. Yes we must appreciate each moment in our body. Love to you Lokita

    Reply
  5. Veetman
    Veetman says:

    Yes, I am with you, Lokita. Never understood why we as humans waste our lives not participating in real life. The more I have seen death and dying. the more I wonder about this. And yet we cannot force anybody to open up to life and death. Obviously also this needs its own timing. Usually it is dying and loss itself that triggers this awakening. With great love to you.

    Reply
  6. Judy Smith
    Judy Smith says:

    Dear Lokita, Sorry for your loss of your father in body. May your ralationship with his spirit continue as long as you’d like.
    Beautiful picture of you two together!

    My father’s passing 2 yrs. ago ,though expected, was a shock. They live on through all we learned & characteristics we absorbed from them, as well as the DNA inherited.
    Continued Love & Blessings. You are a beautiful Spirit & Inspiration!
    Rachila

    Reply
  7. Guacira Andrade
    Guacira Andrade says:

    I am verysorry for your loss my dear.
    The soul is gone from the physical body but it will be always present with you.
    Sending much love to you.❤

    Reply
  8. Ellen Cohen
    Ellen Cohen says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Lokita and grateful for your sharing your journey and insights along the way. I’m glad thart you’ve found the gift of awareness and peace en route.
    Love,
    Ellen

    Reply
  9. Marcia
    Marcia says:

    Thank you for your .as always ..profound verbiage in openly discussing death..your father’s death, Steve,s death..our upcoming deaths…Aryay and I have been celebrating day of the dead every November with community and friends. We make an altar with many decorations , photos, memorabilia, then come together to share our memories and sorrows. I lovingly talked about Steve and a close friend of mine 2 years ago …the time seems to be rushing by …..and now again loss of our family, loss for you..always painful but ever present in everyones lives. I continue to cherish your communication with us and will share your father’s photo to our special group this season..
    With love and continued affection. Marcia and Aryay

    Reply
  10. Chris Englund
    Chris Englund says:

    Hazrat Inayat Khan, who brought Sufism to the West, said, “Death is the tax we pay for being alive and having consciousness.”

    It really is a small price to pay if we’ve been truly alive and share higher consciousness.

    Reply
  11. Jim fritz
    Jim fritz says:

    Thanks for communicating on this universal subject. Few have the courage to do so and The need is GREAT. Sex and death, humanity’s two GREATEST mysteries. You are a GREAT LEADER, my friend. You have found your calling and humanity needs you. These are two of my primary interests. Current western perspectives/myths are totally dominated by traditional Christian religion in very destructive ways to human culture. KEEP UP YOU GREAT WORK. Much love to you you old friend.

    Reply
  12. Sue Tobias
    Sue Tobias says:

    Wonderful picture of four blue eyes shining brightly! And the awareness of death as nothing bad, of death as simply a fact of life – so easy to forget in the fear and attempt to control it all.

    I love you, Lokita! Sue

    Reply
  13. Holly
    Holly says:

    The passing of a parent puts our own mortality right in front of us, especially when the parent is the last one we have. Sending Love to you, dearest Lokita…

    Reply

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