The Picturing Death Project Journal Entries from 1999-2003

The simple but effective structure for the Picturing Death Project, a cast glass table, four chairs, and journals, provide a structure for journal writing with 4 questions that help participants examine how we will choose to live with the knowledge that death is inevitable. Currently, the project table, chairs and journals reside at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan in Kalamazoo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Journal Entry 159

I have always believed that those or my loved ones who have gone on before me are waiting for me. I don’t know where this place is but I believe it is a destination to a type of terminal where I will remain with my loved ones until judgment day. I think that while I am in this terminal I am allowed to have a life review. This life review provides me with an opportunity to reflect on how I could have done things differently in my life. This review gives me an opportunity to consider the next journey I will take. I often think that the journey is just the beginning but it is the destination that is already written. I think that my death will take me to whatever destination has been predetermined by God or whatever supreme being or higher power. I think that all the pain and suffering I have experienced in life is revealed to me and the why behind it is also made clear to me. I believe that it is only the beginning and that the end is unknown. I also think that there is a vast wilderness through which one travels because life is a journey and that there are certain aspects of a journey must take after death. Life and death are cyclical and one is a mirror reflection of the other. Sometimes this reflection is positive and sometimes it is negative but it is a given and must have an opportunity to to reveal itself as it was meant to be. As one wise man says Death is only the beginning. What that beginning is at best unknown and unfinished.

The death of my mother was sudden and unexpected. One evening while snapping beans with two of my sisters, my mom had what is known as TIA. She was taken to a community hospital where she later had a stroke. It was very difficult to see my mother’s body ravaged by a stroke because I always viewed her as a very strong and commanding individual. Two days prior to my mother’s discharge from the hospital, she died. None of us could accept what happened because when we arrived at the hospital to view my mom’s body it appeared as if she was sleeping. The staff had prepared a body well there were no signs of any tubes, body fluids or other hospital items. My family is baptist and felt very comforted by the chaplain who was available. He was of the catholic faith but he knew what to say and how to say it. Because he provided me with strength, it was easiest for me to provide my sisters with support as they arrived. The most memorable part of the whole experience was the old adage that as one soul dies another is born. The day that my mom died was also the day that my sister gave birth to my niece. This was a time of joy and pain. So as I stated earlier in the day there can be no love without loss and no loss without love. This experience of my mom’s death occurred at such a young age which further emphasized to me that we should enjoy each day given to us because we are not promised a tomorrow. My mom’s death is always with me, during times of stress and sadness I wish that I could reach out to her but I do feel that she is always with me looking over me and says it will be okay. I often hear her voice saying it will be okay. My mom’s death was the most trouble to experience in my life. I did not truly realize how much I loved her until she was gone.

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