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 697


I imagine there will be a passage process where the density of my body, perhaps unprocessed emotions, habituated thought processes and forms will, in effect, untangle, disravel or somehow be known by my conscious being. I imagine there will be a revelatory process where I will see and 'fee' where I have been and where I am now. I imagine my death will be a perfect expression of where I need to be at that moment. I imagine there will be familiarity there.


I experienced my father's death. As he hovered in between worlds, he responded to his sisters and my communications. I felt to guide him to leave his body and meet those awaiting him would help him let go. I talked to him with the love I felt but with the humor he understood. And, even though he was not 'primarily' conscious his responses let me know he was aware of what was going on. After his final breathe I sat with him and looked at his fully nude body, at every aspect of his body - the man I had so much pain and trouble with yet the father I loved deeply. I left his hospital room and went into the bathroom in the hallway. Then I broke down and weeped for him, for all I yearned for, all I needed, for all the pain. An illumination came into the room, a sense of calm and compassion and I literally felt a hand on my right shoulder. A peace settled over me. Somewhere in that touch I felt my dad. There have been other occasions where I have discerned his 'message' to me.

My own death has come in pictures. I felt as if I was walking and sleeping with death before. I believe death is ever our companion but it's closeness signals a possibility of occurrence. I get the impression I may die in an accident. If I die slowly I would like to make it a conscious affair, a sacred time. If I am adventuresome enough I may choose a very 'untraditional' death. In writing this I feel a great respect for death. Perhaps I can befriend DEATH and dance with it.


It puts a limit to time and space and movement as I know it. If I wait until tomorrow perhaps it will not be. More focus on the fullness of now. NOW - what potential have I not explored? Yet mastership requires the patience and endurance of time which then speaks to me about an eternality to life, that death is not the end. I feel that being born has a purpose inherent within the awareness of being a conscious completely imbued creative character. Death has to be an integral part of Birth. Perhaps the door we enter through is similar to the door we exit from. When I feel out the possibilities of death I 'fear' I may not fulfill the purpose of my birth. I see and feel my body take shape based on how I have dealt with the challenges of my daily life. I want to express my aging gracefully. I want to face my death courageously. I want to do it willingly. I hope I can become more conscious in the process of my dieing.


My greatest hope is that I will be free to die as I choose. I hope I am unencumbered with the medical model of death and our current cultural model of 'the embalming' and funeral process. I hope where I go I do not leave any complicated mess for my relatives or friends to care for. I hope I can make the change now, the engagement in LIFE more intensely; the engagement of DEATH and 'letting go' more fully to create a death that is a celebration, a touching revelation to those I have known. In saying this, my greatest fears are that I will die a mediocre death, mired in pain, loss of control and with affairs unattended to. This will reveal the 'less than perfect' aspects of myself I try to hide but are now committed to face. To face the 'less than perfect' or 'less than loving' aspects of myself and life or to me facing my death. I hope to die to the unresolved, the deeply hurt, the one who feels unworthy of love; I hope to face these fears, these harsh ugly terrible ogres and release them with mercy and awareness. This to me is facing my death. This is the dance.

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