The Brilliance of Dying

sunflower on Sarah’s grave, dying in fall
On the eve of the Autumnal Equinox, a story by Carrie Stearns “about the grace of turning toward death with my beloved partner Sarah”.
From the blog of Holly Pruett, Life-Cycle Celebrant

The air is taking on that fall feeling. Cool nights filled with cricket song giving way to warm days. My garden is speaking of fall too. Sunflowers bent over heavy with seed and the last of the sweet cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine.

Fall is the season of brilliance. The quality of light holds a particular crisp golden shimmer that I never tire of. In another month the sunflower seeds left behind by the birds and squirrels  will be on the ground and the leaves will begin to turn themselves into a blaze of color before they too float to the ground. Fall, in all its brilliance, is the season of death. The earth makes no argument against it. There is no attempt to avoid it or cover it up. Everything simply sheds itself in a rush of beauty.

What if we allowed ourselves to turn toward dying the way the earth does, when our time comes? Might we also discover or taste a kind of brilliance? My story is about the grace of turning toward death with my beloved partner Sarah. I share it in hopes of casting seeds of encouragement to others. Facing into death and the storms of grief have much to teach us about life.

Sarah’s dying time came in late summer of 2012. She had endured 5 years of cancer treatment for Leukemia. These treatments never brought a cure but they gave her time. She embraced this time with an ever-widening heart that brought a fullness of living that was a gift to live alongside. Her willingness to live deeply and honestly within her experience of suffering gave her more life, not less. Read more…