When I was first married I had a hard time dealing with the relative chaos of living with my husband and his two kids. I went from living alone in a pristine, tiny house to living with the three of them in a much larger and much older house. I would get so internally mad when I got home from work because I would find evidence of other people’s messes such as crumbs on the kitchen counter. I would mention it to my husband and then it would happen again…and again… Finally I realized that I was the only one seeing these crumbs and I was the only one that had a problem with them. Then I put an eye on death as my teacher. Death told me, “You’ll miss that crumb-making man when he’s dead. Eventually there will be no more crumbs.” WOW! What an impact that made on me. Although I can still get caught up in the small stuff at times, death is always there as a reminder of what’s important. And what’s important to me is LOVE! So as I clean up those crumbs I think about how much I love the man who left them there. And my heart stays open.
Death is a very difficult and unyielding teacher. I was reminded of my tearful conversation with my older son because recently my daughter, who is now 5 years old, has been asking similar questions. Sometimes she’ll burst into tears saying, “I don’t want to die,” or, “I don’t want you to die ever.” I always think, “Me neither! Except I fear that I wouldn’t be as conscious and loving as a mom and as a human being if death weren’t teaching me how.”