The Gift of Death

By Lisa Campion

I don’t know what has come over me. All I want to do is write about death and sex. (Sex coming soon!) It must be the Scorpio influence right now. This time of year (Sun in Scorpio) is all about the energy of sex, life, death and the mystery of old magic and the cycle of transformation.

I have a somewhat strange relationship with death, I suppose.  I really do see it as a gift.  Because I do so much mediumship work, I see on both “sides” of the story. I spend a lot of time talking to and sympathizing with dead people.  I also work with their grieving loved ones, whose experience of the process of death are often very different.

For any of those involved, this ultimate transformational experience, is powerful and life changing, if you’ll excuse the pun, for both sides.

To those who have died, death can be a huge blessing, a relief. It can be the end to pain and suffering. One nice elderly lady I spoke to from The Other Side said it was like taking off a shoe that was too small. She showed me her body, all worn out and tired and then I got this feeling of unbelievable lightness. It was like letting go of every small and pinched place inside of you and expanding into limitlessness.  Most people who cross over do so very willingly and it’s a joyous reunion with loved ones and the enormity of your own soul. It’s the ultimate coming home.

Being dead is like a big party with everyone you’ve ever known at your side and love and light surrounding you.  Some souls show me a place that looks like a big garden. I have seen garden parties, family bbq’s, and the traditional white fluffy clouds of heaven. One gentleman told me his experience of the afterlife was an eighteen-hole golf course that never ended. Some call it the Summerlands, since it is always green and growing like summer. I have seen many images of the afterlife from many points of view and they vary greatly, but they are always good.

My son recently asked me if I believed in hell.  I am not sure where I stand on that matter. I can argue the case that being dead is easy and being alive is a butt kicker for many of us. (Personally, I love being alive. You have this cool body that gets do all this fun stuff, like eat and sleep and explore the world with your amazing five senses. Massages, espresso, tiramisu- Yeah baby!)

I have never really met a dead person who was in HELL, the way we think of it. Sometimes they get stuck (see previous blogs on ghosts) and that can be pretty hellish, but for me the jury is still out on if there is a hell dimension somewhere that tortures us sinners for simply having a good time. Here’s hoping I never find out!

Dying is a lot harder then being dead. It’s the actual transition from one state to the other that is the tricky part. And FEAR seems to be the big problem for most people.

I really think the ones who suffer and hold on the most are those who have no belief at all in the afterlife. My poor grandmother, who lived well into her 90’s, was terrified of dying. She belonged to the “disappear into nothingness” school of afterlife and was scared to let go. Scared that everything she ever had been would become nothing.  So she held on to life with all her might, long after all the fun parts of being alive had left her.

The funniest thing about her passing was that she showed up in my car the next day when I was driving and she was almost giddy.

“I don’t know what all the fuss was about, it’s great over here!” And then she preceded to tell me all her long held opinions about everyone in the family. It wa stuff that she had never said much about in her alive years. It was pretty hysterical actually. I got a lot of family gossip I never knew about and was really surprised at all her strong opinions about everyone, since she had been very mild mannered in life.

She zoomed around with me in my car for quite awhile, she said I had an interesting life and next time she came back she wasn’t going to be so “uptight.”

Well!  Who knew?  Good for you Grammy.

Many times people the folks who are the most scared to go have very gentle deaths. These deaths are the ones where they spend a lot of time fading in and out of consciousness.  When they fade out, they visit “Over There.”  It’s like the room around them dissolves and they go spend some time on the other side. There are guides there to help them and they see their loved ones around them. If you have been around dying people, you know they are sometimes seeing things you aren’t or talking to people you can’t see. It’s a nice gentle transition. Eventually they catch on to the fact that it’s better Over There. They begin to trust that they won’t stop being who they are, and then they can let go, but only when they are good and ready.

The other dying people who have it tough are the “Hell and Damnation” people. Those who believe in a real fire and brimstone type of afterlife are often afraid as well, afraid as HELL to go. I can’t blame them though, if I thought I was going to burn for all eternity and be tortured by hellions for having impure thoughts and for not sleeping with my hands above the sheets, I might hang on too.

One person told me that death was like waking up from a dream into the real world. What you were dreaming about seemed so real at the time, but then you wake up and say “What a silly dream I was having!”

On the other hand, for those of us who have lost loved ones, the death experience isn’t always so joyful, but it can be extremely powerful. As a medium, many people come to me to find out why a loved one died unexpectedly or untimely. I really think it helps us to accept it more readily if we can understand why. Except when we can’t. Sometimes we just can’t know why and death is just something that happens.  Without they “why” it may seem random, unjust or unfair.

When the why’s aren’t revealed to me, I just chalk it up to the “Mystery of God” theory, knowing that there is really so much in the universe that is intrinsically unknowable to us. We can’t know The Mystery. The “why” becomes something between that soul and God. Those that never know why someone died struggle the hardest. Does that mean they have the most chance to grow and heal in the wake of death?  Maybe. Death sure is one of the wisest if not the most unwelcome teachers we have.

It seems odd to me that this is the first time in human history that we have been so cut off from death. Only a few generations ago, people died all the time. Infant and mother mortality rates were very high and many children didn’t make it through childhood. It was not that long ago that the average life span of an adult was about 45 years. And that is still true in many other parts of the world, even today.

In those days, when death was everywhere, you died in bed at home with your loved ones around you. People didn’t go away to die in nursing homes and hospitals. And then your family did the laying out themselves, right on the kitchen table.  And probably buried you in the back yard.

Death was more personal, something that was actually a part of life. There was no getting away from it.  Now we have this sense that death doesn’t happen very much. It’s a great shock when it happens unexpectedly and someone people feel cheated. I wonder if back in the days when you had a 50% chance of making it though childhood, if you felt grateful that you lived, not pissed off and offended if you didn’t!  Nowadays we feel entitled to life.

We have such a funny relationship with death in our culture. On one hand it’s almost gross and obscene, something yucky and offensive, to be hidden away in a hospital. But on the other hand, we have this morbid and voyeuristic desire to see it upfront and personal. Seems like every other show on TV is a “death show” all about murders and traumatic deaths, frequently with the up close and with a TMI autopsy included.

They say, the only things you can count on are death and taxes!  It’s so true. And yet I don’t see death as a horrible crime, even when it’s “tragic.” I have seen some people make Herculean efforts in growth and transformation in trying to adapt to a loved one’s death. Death takes us down a road we would never go willingly.

I am so inspired by those who take a “senseless” death and make meaning out of it. There are those who start foundations, or support groups, or who advocate for laws that didn’t exist before.

Death has been responsible for much of the world’s great poetry, music, literature and art. It is a lovely and tender muse.

I have seen families that were disconnected and remote come together and find closeness and love again, bonding together again after the death of a loved one.

I know of someone who goes around the country talking to other people,  on the lecture circuit, talking about realities of teen suicide and making a huge impact on the world.  (Hi Courtney!) Or those who bring awareness to people about many issues because they have lost someone.  Think of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or those compassionate folks who go out and walk for breast cancer cures because they have lost someone.

I have meet people that became doctors and healers, who have committed their lives to a cause, finding their purpose and passion in life as a result of someone’s death.

The most amazing thing that can happen when are brushed by the hand of death, we can be powerfully reminded to live life everyday to it’s fullest.

I did a session once for a young man, whose brother died very suddenly at a young age. His way of honoring and remembering his brother was to commit to living every day as if it had been his last day. He was living an amazing life, really going full throttle, and he could feel his brother with him , urging him to remember something very true. We never really know when our time is up, so we are wise to savor every day as if it were our last.

When I am faced with someone trying to make sense of senseless death, I am often left transfixed by the beauty of their own transformation, so close to them, that I am not sure how aware of it they really are.  The answer to the mystery of death, and this is true gift of death, is that we can chose to let it shape us, change us transform us, inspire us and open our hearts.  Death is the great Heart Opener. We can chose to give it meaning and purpose, to allow it to pry open the closed corners of our hearts and then feel compassion for everyone else in the world who has lost someone. Death is common denominator in life, the one thing we all will experience and that an open heart can connect us to the rest of humanity. How beautiful!  That is the gift of death.