Recently I attended a Celebration of Life for a dear friend.
Margaret, who was dying, attended her own event.
Celebrating someone present in the room is very different from celebrating someone who has passed.
It wasn’t about recounting all her achievements (which she has many), but instead, she shared her life with us through people who walked alongside her. And wow, did she have lots of people in her life.
I learned so much about Margaret at that event. A force of passion and compassion, she was continually inspiring women to express their voices. She was a visionary.
Her former husband honoured her so cleverly “I taught history at UWO, but Margaret made history.”
She was a connector and community builder.
Margaret wanted levity, laughter, poetry, music, stories, and food at her Celebration. We had all that and more! As the stories were shared, my biggest revelation was how beautifully she embraced death. Not only how to live, but also how to die with grace.
Margaret made me feel comfortable and helped me open up, a true confidant. She had the capacity to be an advisor, but always let me find my own way. I am still a student of her mindful listening and talking.
During her last days, I visited her at hospice and she was her usual amicable self. She wanted to know how I was doing. Imagine that—on her death-bed and fascinated with how life was going for others.
She had lost a lot of weight, but her spirit was still very bright.
I always left feeling enlightened by Margaret. That day was no different—that’s who she was.
Margaret taught me that a celebration of life is also a celebration of death. She embraced death the way she embraced life.
She shared that when someone is about to die, loved ones can be overcome with euphoria. Margaret died in the evening and I received the news the following morning, and remembered a profound feeling from the night before. I would say it was euphoria.
Her crossing has left me with this inquiry: Can I walk through life knowing that death is also walking beside me?
No matter who we have with us when we die, the last walk is never alone. Beside us are all the lives we’ve touched, directly and indirectly. It can be euphoric.
I hope Margaret’s life and death touched your heart today. If so, I’d love to hear from you, in the comments below.
Lotus Why directs the 50-hr Yoga for Longevity Program at DevaTree School of Yoga.