Speaking of Death

It’s time.  I’ve long had the idea that sharing some of what I understand of the after-life, based on all my wonderful experiences engaging and working with Beings in spirit, might serve to alleviate some of the fear and misconceptions around the subject.  On June 27, an incredible human being walked on to the next life, and I thought, now would be a good time.  Until today, though, I just couldn’t seem to do it.  Today, I know it is time.

Death, that inevitable transition so many of us fear, is in reality a birth.  Similar to – and as inevitable as – transitioning from the womb to Earthly existence, though a babe snuggled comfortably, all needs provided for, not a care in the uterus, might beg to differ.  Yet, attend any funeral, or follow any post about someone’s passing, and that is not the mindset.

We forget what our scriptures and wise-folk have told us:  life-in-spirit is magnificent, beyond our wildest imagination.  It is only our fear of the unknown that causes us dread.  That, and our language (I’ll get back to that).

Let me share what I know of Howard’s transition and new life.  Having battled and recovered multiple times from multiple ailments, Howard and his wife, Renee, had plenty of time to discuss the topic of death, his in particular.  He had fought valiantly, overcome issues that, in anyone else, would have have been the end, and now it was time.  All his children had arrived to be with him, he had his last moments here in body with his wife; time to say good-bye.  He was ready.

Renee asked me to stay the night of the funeral so that we could speak with Howard the next day, after the hubbub had died down.  Renee and I, along with an old family friend, drove up there late morning.  There he was, casually waiting for us by the newly-dug site of his Earthly remains.  Right away I noticed his extreme joy and excitement.  I likened him to a kid in a candy-store, so many beautiful and delicious items on display, he couldn’t decide which he liked best.  He had arrived at his new home as if in a caul, except covering his whole body (he had been given multiple drugs during his hospital stay).  Holy Beings cared for him until he “came to”.  He acknowledged his son and other friends and family who had preceded him, and then hit the candy store.  He told us his first assignment would be one of building spiritual muscle, working alongside others, in unison, plowing the field, so to speak, while praising the Creator.  He was looking forward to the hard work, having enjoyed such challenges in physical life.  Renee asked him whether his funeral had been agreeable to him.  He responded that seeing the lengthy parade of vehicles headed to the cemetery was amazing and powerful (note, this was viewed from above, as he had “borrowed” a blue heron).

Indulge me, please, while I present a brief and woefully inadequate tribute.  Howard is not famous, or rich, or powerful by any worldly standards.  He hasn’t changed the world in any way discernible to most of society.  Yet his funeral was remarkably well-attended, especially considering the rural location.  When I arrived, I had to park two blocks away. When I got into the funeral parlor building, I was already in line, as it reached the door. There were two rooms open for the event, and both were full.  Folks came from as far away as Hawaii to attend.  The funeral procession was so long, I never saw the front of it; even on the straightaways, I only glimpsed the rear of it once or twice.  From my position in line, on a long straight country road, by the time I got close enough to realize we were making a turn, I could see many cars already turning, and no sign of the first one.  Even the sky contributed to the beauty of the day, see the photo below.  Why is that?  For one, his is a presence no one will forget.  He embodies a genuine love of life, fortitude in times of turmoil (“grace under fire” as those who know him will say), a joyfully helping hand, hard worker, lives by his faith and beliefs – and not just on Sundays – all with complete humility.  He touches everyone in a very special way, attested to by the many, many people who came to celebrate his Earthly life.  The large attendance speaks volumes. And, I’m happy to report, it touched Howard’s heart.


Getting back to our visit…

Many folks saw a deer as we were parking at the cemetery, and assumed the deer was there because of Howard.  What he shared with us the next day is that he was actually talking with that deer – how cool is that?  Throughout our visit that day, Howard was his usual cheery self, full of energy, full of the dickens, full of love.  He hasn’t changed much.

Which brings me back to language.  When a loved one walks on (or drops their bones, as I prefer to call it), so many of us remaining here in the physical realm use past-tense language when speaking of them, as in, “I loved him”, “She was so beautiful”, “He was so funny”.  Notice what they are doing?  They are telling themselves and their listeners that said person, and their relationship to them, no longer exists.  That is not true.  No one ceases to exist, and love certainly never dies.

My suggestion is this:  let’s speak of death in a more truthful way.  Let’s say “I love him”, “She is so beautiful”, “He is so funny”, because speaking this way allows us to inhabit the reality that our loved one is not gone, is still as wonderful and quirky and everything else as when they were in body, and that the only barrier between them and us, is us. While you may not go so far as to actually communicate with them – though many do, which we can discuss another time – your words have the power to change your attitude and your feelings; use them wisely.

Just before this post “went to print”, the news of Robin Williams’ passing came out.  Fox issued the following statement, which I have – humor me, please – edited to be more in line with reality:  “There really are no words to describe the loss of Robin Williams. He was [is] immensely talented, a cherished member of our community, and part of the Fox family. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans. He will be deeply missed [, and we look forward to a reunion].”

So say “Adieu” or “Adios”, both of which translate to “Go with God”; say “Auch Wiedersehen”, which translates to “Until we meet again”; say “Good-bye”, which is a blessing, invoking good fortune, or whatever term you prefer.  None of these denote a permanent separation, and all of them declare connection – they are our words, and mean much.

Comments (9)


    Kaaren, thank you for always sharing your stories/adventures/perspective…….I have learned so much 🙂

    1. Kaaren (Post author)

      You are very welcome, and I so appreciate your taking the time to comment!

  2. Pingback: The Sky is Red |

  3. Paul Vecchiet

    Thanks Kaaren – that was much needed. Our spirituality must be emphasized constantly until it becomes accepted without grand amazement, just a knowing love. I noticed how your tone in the piece was setting a peacefulness in my mind as continued to read it – like a comfortable blanket.

    1. Kaaren (Post author)

      Thank you, Paul!

  4. A deer friend... :o)

    Thank you for your message; it was a true delight to read.

    The Tuesday after the honor service, I drove up to the top of the hill to say prayers. I felt his joy and happiness that you described as I got up close, resting my forehead to that special place that holds him now. Joy is the best way to describe the feelings that were present that day too. There is joy in the beauty that surrounds him now and imagine fall and winter, how beautiful it will be there!

    I see something in the clouds of the picture you took, but can’t quite make it out…is it a butterfly in the upper right?

    Would be interesting to hear what others see too,in such a magnificent sky as was that day.

    Thanks again for sharing this! It is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful family.

    1. Kaaren (Post author)

      I do see the butterfly!!!

  5. Christy

    That was beautiful and so well written. I do not know Howard but your message reached me from inside. I smiled, knowing I still carry with me, my friends, family and pets whom have passed. Thank you

    1. Kaaren (Post author)

      It makes me so happy that it touched you!


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