At birth we all take our first breath. At death we all make our last exhale. No human ever escapes either fate.
Over the years I have seen a lot of bodies, dead ones that is – likely more than most. I have seen many women, men, children, elders, ranging in age from 0 years to the age of 102. People of many different cultures, religions and beliefs, individuals from diverse economic backgrounds, paupers to billionaires have passed my way. I have seen folks dressed in their finest Hugo Boss suits or Versace dress to men and women dressed only in a hospital gown. The range and variety of people is fantastically diverse, the differences are astounding.
People whose cultures have fought each other to the bitter end. People who have controlled others economically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually and those who have been controlled. People who have killed others or been killed, domestic violence or gang violence or war. Political leaders and their political pawns fighting over votes and power. Drug dealers and drug users, hookers and johns, down and outs and up and comers, English and French, Asian and Caucasian, African and European and everyone nation in between – the variety of individuals never ceases to amaze me.
Each one is unique, a separate person, their own universe, seeing, hearing, and experiencing the world in their own way and living it distinctively too! Folks with all kinds of reasons to be right and make others wrong. Diversity can be the seeds of curiosity, sadly and more often though, the seeds of conflict.
At the end of the day, when all is almost said and done, none of this seems to matter to the one dying or their family and friends. The golf clubs, the cars, the bank accounts, the titles, the shoes, the body, all seem to fade well into the background, behind the history of the life lived.
What then steps into the foreground?
The experiences people shared with loved ones, friends and family.
All I hear people close to death talking about is their memories of times shared with friends and family. They never speak about all the differences they simply speak about those experiences in common
People, who have survived the death of a loved one, speak of their memories with the one who passed on. What they did together, where they went, and the fun they had. If they do mention the hard times, they speak it with love and always mention how glad they were to have gotten through it and fallen back in love.
Every culture I have had the pleasure of being with through the change from life to death, from the poor to the very rich, from the educated to the illiterate, from the believers to the non-believers, all folks drop the differences and take up the love.
Death seems to reduce us all to what really matters… connection, experience and love.