The Reality of Life and Death




As a dancer, breathing is a key component in endurance. Steady and even-paced is the goal.



[4-7-18] The mild, fluorescent bulb casting light across the room made the vitals monitor stand out like a color block. The stiff hospital chair matched the lump of tears sitting at the helm of my throat. All the dripping tubes and breathing machines turned off, left with the sound of an oxygen tank and shallow breathing. It was amazing how time felt in that moment. Waiting in anticipation as each labored breath became lighter and further in between. Until eventually an errie sense of piece came over the room. The lump released in the form of tiny crystals cascading down my face in silence.

That moment is etched into my memory from last April as I watched my grandma take her final breaths. I'm 27, and with age the reality of death is well......just that. A reality. It sits heavy in a truth that is unlike any other. Death is the end. Energy is expunged from the physical vessels we move in every single day and released. When you look at a lifeless body, reality sits in. It's weighing in now, as today marked the loss of yet another brilliant person in my life. Three in 2019, 7 in the last year. I get older and it gets harder to process. Though in a strange way it also becomes easier.

This flesh and bones is just a host for the souls in our body. The spirit inside of us transcends space and time to stay with us. It's the flutter in our hearts thinking of the love we felt. It's the belly-clenching that comes from laughing as we recount old stories. It's the tears that come with reading the scribbled handwriting of old birthday cards.

The bodies of people we lose may not physically be here, but their souls fill our own like oxygen. They keep our limbs moving, our heart pumping.. They join the ranks of the millions of cells in our blood to keep us alive each day. They are the random push of air when we feel tired. The unexplained power that rises up in us when we find ourselves in situations we never thought we could overcome. When people die, their souls become like our backup generator, continuously there waiting to balance us for the when we need it most.

I will miss Granny until the day I die, but I also know she is with me until that day comes. It's okay to give ourselves the okay to feel every emotion. It is okay to step outside and cry. It is okay to fall apart and get angry. All of these things are okay to take ownership over.

Just like a dancer on the stage, the final bow comes. The physical curtain has closed, but we can stand on our feet. Stand in applause for their life, love, wisdom, lessons, passion, support, strength, and legacy. Their lives were spectacular productions and we should be grateful to have been given the opportunity to be cast alongside them. I will carry allll of these things and more with me into the future. Because I'm still here and building a life of my own. Hoping that one day, people will be able to look at my soul and carry it forward with them after I'm gone too.

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© 2020 by Shelby Wilburn