Slices of Life: Defining death and rebirth
"Maybe flexibility is the point. Maybe resiliency is the purpose. Maybe just living today is winning. Maybe within our greatest losses we are all getting a chance at rebirth without ever leaving our physical bodies. Wowza. How great would that be?" writes Jill Pertler.
As many readers know, I am a widow. I lost my husband, and it’s caused predictable struggles. He’s gone; I’m here and that leaves a conundrum that I’ve grappled with for the last 22 months.
I’ve struggled to make sense of something that makes no sense, and in that, I’ve opened my mind to various perspectives on the event and on the world. Not everything is what it seems. Maybe my perceptions of what happened are based on my viewpoint and not reality.
I lost my husband nearly two years ago. So we say he “died,” but maybe he merely left this earth. Maybe in that he was experiencing a birth and I was the one experiencing a death. I certainly experienced a loss, and isn’t death a loss at its very core? Think about it.
Maybe it was me who died.
It’s all about perspective.
My soulmate, my husband, left this earth too early and unexpectedly. When we speak of this, we say that he died. But what does this mean?
Did his body cease to exist? Did his mind cease to exist? Did his soul cease to exist? Does leaving this earth precede entering another?
When a fetus traverses through the birth canal, it is squeezed and twisted beyond comfort. I imagine it is terrifying. Life, so far, has been warm, cushioned and comfortable. But lately, things have been tight and now the baby feels pressured from all sides.
“Where am I going? I don’t don’t want to go there. I liked life just as it was!”
The fetus was fulfilled and happy: food was plentiful, the water was warm and oxygen circulated without even the need for a single breath. Life was good.
But then, suddenly, it changed. Space got tight. Spinning and dancing in the womb became impossible, and then the squeezing and pressure began. From my perspective, this constituted the fetus’ birth, not death, because a life in comfortable darkness was propelled into a world of love and light.
Does the fetus understand that it is being born into a new existence, or, is it simply scared at the pain, which seemingly leads nowhere. What could it be, but death?
But instead of death, envision a life filled with so much light and love that you couldn’t imagine going back to your old normal. It would seem lackluster and gray. I don’t think it’s too far a stretch to compare a fetus being born to a human leaving this physical life and being “born” into a new realm.
That leaves me here, and wondering.
I want to, have to, need to, believe my husband is in a better place. He was akin to a fetus, leaving one world, only to be born into a wonderful new one.
So where does that leave me? Where does that leave all of us who feel left behind? What is death? Is it leaving this world or staying here after those we love have gone? What is the purpose to all this? What’s next?
There certainly has to be a purpose.
Maybe the challenge is the purpose. Maybe living, when you know you may no longer be of this life because your purpose as you knew it has changed to such an extent that you no longer feel at home is the point. Maybe being propelled out of your comfort zone forces (no encourages) you to discover a new comfort zone. A new world. A new you. A new sense of life — of living. Of what it means to be alive right here, right now.
Maybe flexibility is the point. Maybe resiliency is the purpose. Maybe just living today is winning. Maybe within our greatest losses we are all getting a chance at rebirth without ever leaving our physical bodies. Wowza. How great would that be?
Let’s hope so.
I know I do.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.