Last weekend I attended a memorial service for a woman I’d known for fifteen years. It’s a story you’ve all heard before. She was fine, couldn’t get rid of a cough, went to the doctor and received a stage IV cancer diagnosis.
As I sat in the crowd, surrounded by people who loved her, I was reminded of a memorial service I attended twenty years ago, when I had just begun my spiritual practice.
My brother’s best friend had hung himself. It was a tragedy and everyone was shocked. I happened to be in New York and was able to attend the service.
As I walked uptown to the venue, I was nervous. I’d known this young man well and was both shocked and saddened by the loss. What could I say to his family? Truth is, we’re all uncomfortable with death. We avoid thinking about it, looking at it, talking about it.
Then I heard my meditation teacher’s words echo as my feet hit the pavement. “We do spiritual work to deal with death.”