The journey through life

The journey through life is filled with wonder, challenges, broken hearts, extreme highs and lows, celebrations, special moments and memories that define our experience as a human. It is these events, planned or unexpected, that impact our travels and define our purpose.

To follow the right path, and to remain true to ourselves, we overcome these obstacles, sometimes we gain meaning and learning from the challenges and at other times we experience joy.

How we react to what we are faced with determines what the rest of our journey through life will be like. Living the dying experience is akin to the birthing experience and reflects a birth – the birth of new life, new spirit. Our biological birth is no different to our birth into eternity through the gateway of death. Both encompass labour pains and the dying of old and coming of new.

As Ron Rolheiser poignantly observes: ‘Perhaps no image then is as apt, as powerful, as consoling, and as accurate in terms of picturing what happens to us when we die and awake to eternal life as is the image of a mother holding and cradling her newborn child. When we die, we die into the arms of God and surely we’re received with as much love, gentleness, and tenderness as we were received in the arms of our mothers at birth. Moreover, surely we are even safer there than we were when we were born here on earth. I suspect too that more than a few of the saints will be hovering around, wanting their chance to cuddle the new baby. And so it’s okay if we die before we’re ready, still in need of nurturing, still needing someone to help take care of us, still needing a mother. We’re in safe, nurturing, gentle hands.’

Dying well, or what constitutes a ‘good’ death will mean different things to us all. Our understanding is informed by a multitude of influences drawn from our individual journeys through life.

Further information on A Good Death.

Further reading

Additional Living Well Dying Well resources to help you support someone in your network who is facing death.

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