Cheating Death

I faced Death today.

It is part of turning my life around. I decided a few days ago that I would change my story to change my life. The main goal: to finally be rid of the nagging feeling that I would die at the age of 45 like my mother and her father both did.  With 45 only 30 months away, I felt if I was going to change my story, this would be the time to do it!

I started by going to the place where the story lives, inside me.  Shall I take you along, as if you were there? Let’s go.

I got very still and focused on the feeling of urgency that has been following me around saying, “Girl! You better start living because you’re about to be dying!”

I asked myself, “Who is saying that!”

And I heard a voice, low and soft, down by my feet say, “Me.”

Suddenly I felt something holding me by the back of my ankles. It occurred to me that it had been there a very long time, so long that it began to feel like it was actually a part of me, but it was not. I looked behind me, and there it was, stretched out prone on the ground like a long shadow, Death.  I heard a part of myself say, “If you are going to face Death, you have to FACE it!”

So I took my hands and pulled the attachments off of my ankles. They stuck like moist tar in my hands. I knew I would never be able to shake it off alone. I got down onmy  knees, then elbows, and finally stretched myself out on my stomach. There it was, the face of Death. Breath, wrank. Eyes, hollow and vast. Suddenly, I began to panic.

Saying, “This feels real. This thing in front of me doesn’t feel like it is in my mind, doesn’t feel like it is a story. It feels real. I am holding the hands of Death….my Death. I need help. I can’t do this by myself.”

At my side, a woman knelt down.  I knew she was there to answer my call for assistance. She reached out and scooped the stick tar hands off of me. I sat back. I checked in with myself. I felt safe. I watched her.

She pulled Death to her. It changed in her hands (as it would several times over the course of our time together). It crawled into her lap and curled up like an ailing elder. “There, there,” she whispered. I felt myself relax a bit. I breathed a sigh. Death seemed less scary, almost wounded. I looked at Death. It was emaciated, drawn in on itself, exhausted.

“It has been a long journey,” she told Death. “You are tired.”  I could see Death’s story, much like I could see my own. It began with my Grandfather. Death had come for him early in life. He was a proud, energetic red-headed man who enjoyed the great outdoors. When he died, my mother picked up his story and with it, Death.  So it stuck around and attached itself to her. When 45 came, Death did not want to take her, but Death was tired. When she passed, I picked up my Mother’s story, and Death attached to me. Now three generations into Death’s journey, it sat in the arms of this compassionate woman, ready to be free of its office. Death had started out wholesome, in the service of nature. Death had become sickly and twisted. It was time to let it go.

Behind the woman, three figures appeared. One was a maiden, one a mother, and one a crone. My energy piqued. The Fates!

The woman told Death that the Fates would help it heal. She told Death to stand up. When it did, it transformed into a young woman, 21 years old. I was shocked. How could Death look so young?! I remembered that I was 21 when I took Death on.

“You can’t be 21!” I told Death angrily. “You are not me!” I looked at Death closer and realized it looked like my 21 year old self. “You can’t be 21,” I said softer. And Death changed again, looking as I do today. “No,” I said. “Older, much older.” Death transformed a third time. This time into a woman wise and peaceful, with enough wrinkles across her smiling face to know she lived a good, long, peaceful life filled with joy.

I smiled.

Death turned and walked towards the Fates, giving a nod of appreciation to the kneeling woman.

Then it was my turn to be transformed by her. But I will save that for my next post.

I want to thank you for your out pouring of support as I change my story. Some of you have left private Facebook messages for me or messaged me as part of groups I am in. I am amazed at how many people hold onto this same story or another story that isn’t in line with their wishes for their lives. I am changing mine, and I invite you to change yours. I will share my path to wholeness as an example. Until next time……

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  1. My own health took a hit and I’m just now beginning to work on getting over it, a thousand dollars and several doctor visits later. I hadn’t been to a doctor in ten years but I’d run into a health problem I couldn’t diagnose myself–which meant I have been facing exactly what you have. I panicked. Then I moved into an area of feeling totally detached from everything regarding the matter. My husband and I have both outlived his mother but problems such as I feared a diagnosis of don’t run in my family, no history of it at all for the many generations we have records of with only one exception in all that time. The spirits said this was a ‘timing matter’ whatever that means. At any rate I got a diagnosis,read up on it,know how to treat it herbally and at home and I will once again avoid doctors and hospitals. Faced with I knew not what to begin with and a possible outcome of what I call an ‘opt out’ I decided I wanted to stick around for awhile. My husband and son could take of themselves. My elderly parents still require a good deal of care but my sister is their main provider-I am mostly her backup–and help too with my great nephew when his parents are at work–and they’re having another baby so my sister will have another sometime-needs-her-care added to her responsibilities just after the first of the year. So if I was indeed being offered an opt out, I wasn’t going to take it.
    I’m not a joiner. I never have been. Team to me has always turned out to be one person does all the work and everyone else goofs off in the workplace, so I’m a pretty-much solitary person in a small town I consider a sanctuary for my body and soul. I never imagined living here, but here I am and here I want to stay. I dream of one day having a huge warehouse of a house, with big walls I can hang my art on and lots of space to paint. Whether that will happen remains to be seen. My community is facebook, where I can stay in touch with family and friends and enjoy what I read.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Rachel. Facing death is huge. I made the mistake of filling out a questionnaire a few years ago called “when will you die?” The answer? When I’m 61. I’m now over 60, and I have to tell you, even though I know that silly questionnaire is meaningless, in the back of my mind, I wonder regularly if I really do have so little time left on this earth. BTW, you are a wonderful story-teller!

  3. That’s an incredible story. It seems as if death was almost a friend, lending a hand in your living your life to the fullest.

    • I tend to look at difficulty that way. There is nearly always a lesson, some wisdom, or a hand being offered in everything….if I can just find it.

  4. Rachel, this is so inspiring. I have some changes I need to make in my life and as I read this, I interjected my issue in place of death. I realized that I, too, can make the changes I need to live the life I want to live. To live the life I was meant to live. Thank you for sharing this journey. Last night, I cried myself to sleep as I talked to myself about the change being within me. Today starts that new chapter. Thank you.

    • Peggy, I am sorry I didn’t discover your comment earlier. What a champion you are for your heart! I am so glad the tears came that night so that you could feel the healing…and the sunshine the next day. I hope you will continue sharing about your change, either in comments or in an email. These are the connections I hoped to make here. Thank you!

  5. what a beautiful healing journey you are on. Brave soul you are, filled with light, reaching out to bless so many.

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