For me it’s important to see death and life as equally good. Too often our fear of death is disabling and prevents us from truly living. By befriending death and seeing it as a continual part of the flow of life, we are made free to live our lives fully. My own experience with death has included near death experience, miscarriage and the inevitable loss of loved ones including the death of my soul sister Susan Smith when we were both 32.
Sue was like my mirror twin. We were one month apart in age, grew up together, gave each other advice and continually encouraged each other to be our best. We mapped out our life path in milestones that we would reach together - get a degree, get married, have children and inspire the world.
But as we know our plans are not always God's plan.
Sue’s death was a pivotal moment in me embracing my mortality. As she was dying of cancer Sue said “live your dreams”. I received this advice even in the depth of the grief, the anger and outrage that such a beautiful soul could leave the earth so early.
At first the grief was disabling, I couldn’t believe the extent of the pain, the anger and disorientation. It was as though the loss had taken me into a deep sleep, I didn’t feel like I was able to do anything.
Sues words “live your dreams” were like an alarm that kept ringing to bring me back to wakefulness. I realised I had a choice, I could remain locked and frozen by the emotion or I could use how I felt to propel me into making her death meaningful by me living my purpose.
I have lived by Sue’s advice ever since. I’ve been able to commit fully to my relationships, step out of my comfort zone and do things that I’d never thought possible. I will be continually grateful to Sue for this.
I have realised that death of a loved one does not mean your death too. It can be a call for you to fully be awake to life. You can honour the death of a loved one by living your dreams to the full.
Sue continues to inspire me every day. The legacy of her life and death continues though milestones that I reach, the advice that I give and dreams that I live.