Many people shy away from talking about death. I, on the other hand, have always had a fascination with death. And when I say fascination, I mean that in both its light and shadow aspects. For example, as a child, when I sensed spirits or thought about my parents dying, I was riddled with intense anxiety that caused many sleep problems (shadow side). As I grew older and began to learn about death as a transition- a moving from one state of energy to another- I began to see the beauty and connectedness of the transition (light side).
When I first started my career, my plan was to work with older adults, specifically older adults who were terminally ill. This made sense to me, as I have always had a fascination with death. As it turned out, I ended up getting a job where I worked exclusively with pregnant women. It was a big shift for me to talk about labour, birth, and postpartum every day, but I found myself loving how empowering it was to talk with women about trusting our bodies and giving ourselves grace (more on this in a future blogpost!).
Then I began working with Shift Intuit. Here, I am able to blend my traditional social work skills with my strong intuitive abilities, which includes an ability to connect with passed loved ones. I had made my way back to working with death- only in a way that I had never considered before!
Recently a friend and I were talking about how birth and death are connected. Birth is transitioning from the spirit world to the physical world and death is going from the physical world into the spirit world. “They’re twins, birth and death,” my friend said.
This struck a chord with me on multiple levels. For one, I am a twin. I have an identical twin sister and so the twin relationship has always been a part of my identity. Secondly, I have been equally fascinated by both birth and death. I have spent almost a decade supporting prenatal women and have also given birth to three beautiful babies myself. At the same time, I have had a close friendship with death, from working in a nursing home to caring for my terminally ill father. In fact, birth and death are so merged in my life that while I was taking care of my dad in his last few months, I was also caring for my first son, who was only 6 months old when my dad passed.
At one point, I viewed birth and death as being on opposite ends of the spectrum. Now, I see that they are not part of a spectrum at all, but a circle. Both birth and death are transitions- a moving from one state of energy to another. In my counselling practice, I am fortunate to be able to walk along families in both of these special moments. *The picture below is of my father, weeks away from dying, holding onto my son. They were both just beginning their journeys.
The picture is of my father, weeks away from dying, holding onto my son. They were both just beginning their journeys.