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One man’s thoughts about death

Death. It’s something we don’t like to think about very much, let alone talk about, although it does seem to me that we are becoming more willing to consider this subject these days. This is a good thing, seeing that it is one of the two most significant events we will ever experience, birth being the other, of course.

For myself, perhaps because of recent unfoldments in my life, I’ve been becoming more conscious of mortality.

All analogies tend to break down at some point. But when I think of death, I remember a very special, magical moment which occurred one evening in May, 1955.

I had made the fateful decision to leave England behind. To say goodbye to my parents and my girlfriend. To say goodbye to my job as a junior reporter on the London Daily Express, and my traditional British middle class existence. It all seemed to me so meaningless and constricting.

I longed to know the truth of life. I felt like an alien in an alien world. There was something stirring in me and calling to me, although I had no idea what it was. All I knew was that I must follow the impulse in my heart which said I would find the freedom for which I longed in the wide-open spaces of British Columbia, though I didn’t know a soul there, mind you.

So it was that on that long ago evening in May 1955 I found myself sitting in the lounge of a steamship in the Southampton docks waiting for the magical moment when the ship would cast off its moorings and take me on the first leg of my journey into the unknown.

As I say, any analogy does break down at some point. But as I sat sipping a cup of coffee in the ship’s lounge and looking at the lights of the harbor, and the ship began to move and the propellers began to turn, I was filled with joy and ecstasy greater than anything I had ever known.

There really was more to life than I had yet experienced.

I knew it deep in my heart. And I was on my way to that greater experience of myself and of life even though there would undoubtedly be pitfalls and catastrophes in the process.

So it is, coming back to the subject of death, that while in one way it is just another circumstance we will all have to handle, for me it is also a transition to a new and greater experience of ourselves. It is a doorway to an unfettered experience of the freedom and joy of our being, and of our eternal, unconquerable spirit.

I send love and best wishes and would love to hear any thoughts you may have on the above. I stress that this is just my way of looking at death. We each must honor our own thoughts or conclusions on this matter, of course.

 

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Artemis April 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Chris,
I love this part where you wrote:
“So it was that on that long ago evening in May 1955 I found myself sitting in the lounge of a steamship in the Southampton docks waiting for the magical moment when the ship would cast off its moorings and take me on the first leg of my journey into the unknown.
As I say, any analogy does break down at some point. But as I sat sipping a cup of coffee in the ship’s lounge and looking at the lights of the harbor, and the ship began to move and the propellers began to turn, I was filled with joy and ecstasy greater than anything I had ever known.”

I feel the same way about death. It is an incredible journey and adventure into the unknown.

I’ve encountered so many signs that our intelligence survives in a different way that we cannot conceive of. I do believe it’s going to be quite a ride!

Hope you are well my friend.
Angela

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Christopher Foster April 5, 2014 at 10:07 am

So good to hear from you Angela. Your words are beautiful and most insightful. I surely agree with you, when the time comes, whenever that is, it’s going to be quite a ride. Blessings.

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David Banner April 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Chris…I am right in sync with you. I just recovered from an acute bout of pneumonia and began feeling my mortality. I can truthfully say that I don’t fear my own demise as I sense another adventure coming. But I do feel for my friends, my wife, my children and our grand baby as I would leave them “behind.” The pain this would naturally cause them to feel, I can feel myself, as we are all truly ONE.

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Christopher Foster April 5, 2014 at 10:11 am

Thankyou for your comment, David. Your words are very touching. I’m glad to be sharing this life journey with you and send my love to you and your loved ones.

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Llynde April 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm

You seem to have chosen a path of peace, tranquility, acceptance, love, serenity, and above all, trust in your Higher Power. What a soul message you have given us readers. Words are not enough.

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Christopher Foster April 5, 2014 at 10:13 am

Thank you Lynde, I appreciate both your words and your spirit. Blessings to you.

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Sandra Pawula April 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Christopher,

I love your perspective on death. It’s very similar to mine, but I’m still working with the fear that comes up. It’s a process, but I have a positive direction and feel good about that! Thanks for highlighting the beautiful possibility in death.
Sandra Pawula recently posted..How to Accept the Unacceptable

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Christopher Foster April 5, 2014 at 10:23 am

What a wonderful friend you are, Sandra, and though we have never met I feel that I know you. Yes, it is a process, the fear of death — and of life — is so deeply buried in our race. Yet I do believe our true nature is rising to the surface. My love and blessings to you.

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ross April 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm

i love reading your stories, I feel your humanity through your writing, and enjoy how you share your life experiences, so honest and real …….

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janet April 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Christopher, what a beautiful story. So much truth revealed in just a few words. Keep sharing more about your journey, I know it means a lot to many people. Thank you.

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Marisa April 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Christopher,
You have invoked a topic with profound meaning, as well as diverse opinion. The word “death” has never been part of my vocabulary, based on the common perception of the meaning. I believe we are on a Journey. The inception, as well as the conclusion, of this part of our Journey is a mystery. I was pronounced dead when I was 19, yet I have full memory of everything that went on around me, I wasn’t ready to leave this part of the Journey, and I remember making the decision to stay. Is it something I discuss? No, it isn’t.
At this part of my Journey I am also facing life altering circumstances. Your existence came to me when most needed. Your wisdom is a light that will never fade. I feel this part of our Journey, here on Earth, is to recognize each person as a unique gift. This part of the travel gives us the knowledge to accept ourselves, and others, for the wonderful gifts we all bring forward. None of these gifts are material.

At the same time I believe we do die in the form we are now. What comes next is the unknown, which fosters fear. At the same time this fear is more focused on our loved ones, our thought of not being here, and the doubts we may have,

Each moment of our Journey, no matter where we are, is the most important moment of our life…..because we are present in that moment. Each lesson learned, kindness given, or received, helps the path to our travels. Each mistake is a step ladder to greater understanding. The road to dying is the most inclusive path our souls/ spirits will travel.

Wishing you serenity, love, and peace,
Marisa

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Christopher Foster April 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Marisa, I appreciate so very much your sharing some of your deeper thoughts and experience in this way. Your words are so touching. What a remarkable event it was that happened in your life when you were 19. I have never had such an event myself, but I have read some of the literature around NDE’s and I can certainly relate to what you are sharing.

Most of all, I just want to say that that is my sensing about death too. It’s a journey. And what a journey. A remarkable journey, just as our birth obviously was.

I also believe that this body we have come to know so well, along with this particular human personality that has evolved over time, all pass away. But what a miracle that the truth of ourselves — who we really are — remains. Untouched and unharmed in any way by this phenomenon we call death. Love and blessings to you.

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Brenda April 5, 2014 at 7:44 am

I love reading your posts. I’ve smiled, laughed, prayed for you, been happy for you. I think you must be an awesome person. I live in greater Denver Metro too and always wish you were my neighbor. You have the most marvelous views on everything. I agree with you on this view of death. I listen to many many audio books (all of Wayne Dyer and many others on NDE) and although I am very very happy in my life, I no longer fear death. I know there will be yet another adventure ahead. I feel like I’ve learned many many lessons in the lives I’ve had and feel so fortunate to believe I have “come a long way” in evolving. Thank you for the wonderful thoughts you give!! I love you!

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Christopher Foster April 7, 2014 at 11:41 am

Hi Brenda, sorry for the delayed response. I’m very grateful for your kind words re my posts. It makes everything worthwhile, it really does, just to know there are friends out there in the world (or in Denver even:-) on the same wave length so to speak. My love to you and perhaps one day a bit further along in the year we could have a coffee somewhere (if you like coffee that is:-).

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SandiO April 5, 2014 at 10:57 am

Chris- This topic of death as you say, has become more comfortable to talk about, as I have also seen on FB. There was a time when I was younger that I feared death…the unknown. My ‘Dad-e-o’ use to say I was always asking “Why?” and I imagine it was because of my uncomfortableness with the ‘unknown’.

Before he passed four years ago, I was given the opportunity to ask him questions that I needed answered before he was gone from my life. One was to refresh my memory of what he saw when he had been on the ventilator …where the medical staff felt he would not make it, but in fact did return for another five years or more. I would like to share his memory as it allowed me to no longer fear death…the dying process, yes…but not death.

He began: “I was flying through a pitch black space…huge. There were people screaming and crying, along with big pieces of metal flying around…it sounded horrible! Suddenly, in a distance ahead I could see a doorway with a bright light coming from within. As I got closer, I saw Jesus standing in the doorway and beyond was the most beautiful sight you can even imagine. The colors and beauty were more than anything I have ever seen here on earth, and I was wanting to go further in. I asked Jesus, “May I come in?” to which He answered, “Not yet.” and then I was brought back to my hospital room to my disappointment. But, I truly believe I had a glimpse of Heaven and I cannot wait to go! If anyone saw what I saw…you would NEVER want to stay here! But, there must be more I am suppose to do or experience before I can leave here.”

From that day forward, my Dad-e-o wanted to die. He had survived 7 long bouts of hospital stays for numerous ailments, and rarely complained. He always bounced back and I tagged him the “Energizer Bunny” and taped one to his last IV pole! But, as he was passing and I still wanted him to ‘bounce back’ he reminded me “Sandi, even the Energizer Bunny runs out of power in time.” When he departed, I was left with such a comfort, that I did not have to fear death anymore as long as I had faith that Jesus waits for us at the doorway of something so beautiful….and my Dad-e-o is there.
God bless you Chris, for all that you are and all that you do for others.

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Christopher Foster April 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

Dear SandiO,

I’m so grateful to you for sharing these very poignant moments with your father and the realizations you’ve had in the process. Life is a sacred experience and dying is a sacred experience also. It seems to me that along with the many other gifts your father surely offered perhaps his greatest gift to you was indeed his example as his life came to a close.

Thank you for your inspiring and hopeful comment. I’m very happy to have connected with you and send a boatload of blessings to you.

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Francine Elena Ladd April 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Thank you Chris for opening the dialogue. I have many family & friends who are opening this door and who is to say what is to happen, but I feel the same way you do! It feels as though death is a transition, on the verge to something so much grander than we understand! Thanks for the external confirmation to my internal sensing of intuitive nuances. Love as always to you Chris!

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Christopher Foster April 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

You are a blessing Francine. Thank you for taking the time to write. Agreement is such a powerful thing and your words and the spirit of them are a gift, to me and I’m sure to many others. It’s good to be on this path with you.

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Trefor April 6, 2014 at 9:18 am

Hi Christopher

Ah Death! the #1 certainty of our life.The most important relationship on our journey. Where, when or how we will shed our mortal coil is unknown to most, unless we succumb to a life threatening situation whereby a time limit is granted to us.

All it seems is in a continuous “dying” process, we live to die by whatever means, hopefully a peaceful one, or maybe if we’re lucky, to go to sleep and not wake up in this life, but somewhere more appealing to one’s dream of “heaven”, if we’ve been good enough.

As I enter my senior years, Death is even more close and thankfully not a foreboding shadow of darkness and ending but another chapter in my “Treforlution” into a new beginning and state of BEeing. It’s how that changeover will occur that becomes of interest, but until that time, there’s time to Live more fully and embrace the slogan of one day at a time. To make the most of what I do have and be grateful till my last conscious breath and farewell to my constant physical companion that supported me all the ways to the final way this time around.

Much Life fullness brother
Trefor

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Christopher Foster April 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm

God bless you Trefor and many thanks for sharing these strong, inspiring and touching words. We are kindred spirits, and I’m with you as you move forward into the next phase of your ‘Treforlution.’ My love and blessings to you.

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Don Carmichael April 7, 2014 at 9:54 am

Hi Cristopher–

Thanks for this, timely…my dad passed on Saturday night in our local hospice after a short stay. His final ‘breath’ like my daughter’s first ‘breath’ do seem like portals where the friendly life energy of the beyond births and unbirths itself. Grateful for the gift of attending in some way to both and the opportunity to help out some.
Don

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Christopher Foster April 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Thank you so much for your sharing, Don. I offer my sincere condolences. Your realization regarding your daughter’s entry into the world and your father’s departure from it is illuminating and inspiring. God bless and be kind to yourself.

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Trefor April 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Hi Christopher
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

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John Misica April 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Nicely said about death. When I was little I was afraid of death, because I did not know what happens after, but now that I am more aware of how we just transit to non-physical being I am not afraid anymore. And as you said it is a doorway to an unfettered experience of the freedom and joy….

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David Chilstrom April 23, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Though I share the belief expressed by others here that bodily death is not the annihilation of self, I think our physicalist friends on the other side of the philosophical aisle have some useful insights too. Whatever the fate of the being, the dead human is kaput, finished, dust to dust. The play of a particular human incarnation has closed, the set struck, the cast dispersed, and future engagements cancelled. We may be glad that our friend is released from their failed mortal remains and celebrate the play of their life while, at the same time, be justly grieved at the loss of their embodied presence in our lives. Death is often a bittersweet affair, and sadness and gladness can peacefully coexist in that context.

I recall a young friend who reached out to me in my teenage existential angst. He was killed in a bicycle accident and his death shocked me out of my spiritual doldrums and into the world of the living. I saw the significance of his presence in my life, and that loss helped me see the value of my own. This was a parting gift from my friend for which I am forever grateful.

Life gives us many little deaths along the way as practice for our final departure. Lost jobs, lost loves, lost memories, etc. Death is the ultimate letting go, and I’m grateful for the practice.

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SandiO April 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm

David,
What a wonderfully written response. It reminded me of the time I spoke with my father about life being a ‘script’ and we are playing the part, while the author already knows the outcome, and has scripted the different scenarios that we can ultimately choose to play out. He chuckled and said, “Where did you ever learn this kind of thinking?” I don’t know where or whom I can give the credits to, but as you related “The play of a particular human incarnation has closed…” prompted the memory of these thoughts.
Enjoyed reading your reply.

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Emma Psy April 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

This is so true…I read a lot about energy world and I believe we are all one big energy who travel from life to life, so we can learn new things and overcome our test. Life can be so beautiful if you live it.

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Nika N. May 16, 2014 at 12:01 am

I have been reading a lot of inspiring books and I believe life can be so beautiful if we keep it simple. Live your dreams and you will be happy :)
Nika

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Christopher Foster May 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for your lovely comment Nika. Love and blessings to you.

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