My husband Marty and I were heading to the airport to fly to NYC for a funeral. His younger brother died suddenly at the age of 58 from complications from the flu. Here is what Marty wrote on his Facebook page:
"I am truly the biggest glutton for pleasure. My brother Matthew was a really big glutton for pleasure too! .... Many people are saying to me "sorry for your loss." Though I appreciate this sweetness and kindness from everyone, in all honesty, I am not experiencing any loss at all, in fact I am experiencing just the opposite, a tremendous gain. Matthew has inspired me to push it to the limit when it comes to pleasure. It's the greatest gift I could receive and I LOVE him with all of my heart for doing that! Thank you dear brother.
If he could talk to me right now this is what I think he would say:
(This is quoted the 20th Century Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford,
Henry Scott Holland
Marty, I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, we are still.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed.
Smile and think of me!
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant, it is the same as it ever was;
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval somewhere very near,
Just around the corner. Death is nothing at all.
Marty's best friend Mike Shingleton commented on his post: Your sublime words, Marty, remind me of a Q&A with Ramana Maharshi when he was asked about death. (Ramana is a saint from India who first found enlightenment as he had intense experience of his own death when he was young.*)
"Mourning is not the index of true love. It betrays love of the object, of its shape only. That is not love. True love is shown by the certainty that the object of love is in the Self (Being, the Holy Spirit) and that it can never become non-existent. There will be no pain if the physical outlook is given up and if the person exists
as the Self
For those of you who haven't heard of him, Ramana Maharshi was a great sage who lived from 1879-1950 best known for his teachings of self-inquiry and his books
Be As You Are,
Who Am I?
which has been read all over the world. He inquired deeply into death. A practice anyone can do. What is death? What dies?
We all come and we go, and just because we do go, we should take a look at death. This will help us live more beautifully.
In the words of Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, “Life is impermanent, but that does not mean that it is not worth living. It is precisely because of its impermanence that we value life so dearly."