Death – it awaits us all

I cannot recall that I ever had a fear of death. Truthfully, there was even a time in my younger years when I felt I could, without a second thought, welcome ‘death’ upon my person with open arms. Such was the mind of an emotionally troubled young Algonquin man living in a town where no other Indigenous people were present.

The last movement, taking away the warmth of that physical (and spiritual) wonder, the human heart, is an event all of us will experience, somehow, somewhere, sometime. When will it happen? Who knows? I only know that I’m ready for it. I have been for a long, long time. Hey! I survived a 43 ft. fall and even as I was flying towards the ground, feeling that my ‘end’ was at hand, I had no fear. The fact that I was not panicked at the thought of dying when my 215 lbs. frame hit the ground might have saved my life.

As a volunteer I have spoken openly and straightforwardly but compassionately to the dying, when requested by them to help out with concerns they had about leaving this physical realm. Those who were terrified in the face of the unknown, came to accept in time that death was not really something to be afraid of. If we have spiritual beliefs, if we are sensible, then all will be well. Trust in your spiritual beliefs! A perspective that fits for a particular mindframe is key.

Perhaps it is because I have a unique relationship with death (my interest in it goes back to when I was 8 years old) that today, I sit with humility and with much kindness near a human heart, soon to cease in its purpose of bringing life to a human body. I lend of my counselling skills to a human being in their last hours of life, something I am told that my grandmother and her sister also volunteered to do in their day!

I recall standing with a First World War veteran by the coffin of a man killed in a farming accident in 1958. The dead man had no relatives to mourn him. The old veteran asked that I and a few other children pray for the soul of the deceased, whose body lay in an empty room, no one present to offer prayers. “Prayers of children are the most precious,” said the veteran. “Children do not hate anyone.” The experience had a life-altering affect on me, though I was only 8 years old.

The dying often bring forth wise and profound statements in their final days. I have always been in wonder of what they have taught me. It was an honour and a privilege to be there with them in their last hours of life. I know I will see them again in the spiritual place existing in the Land of the Great Mystery.

There was a brave woman, who on her last day of life told me that what she would miss the most of this great physical world was the “picking of wild blackberries.” It was in the early autumn of the year. “Why don’t we, you and I go picking blackberries together next August. I will pick them physically and you will be by my side picking them spiritually,” was my response. “It’s a deal!” she said with excitement.

The brave woman passed away soon afterwards, the weeks and months came and went with grace into Mother Earth’s personal archives. Seasons passed and when August, in its last days rolled in the following summer, I went to the forest to pick wild blackberries. The brave woman and I picked blackberries together as I promised her we would.

The dead are not rendered helpless nor useless in any way after the magic of the human heart stops forevermore to warm the blood of a human being. Your loved ones who died, recently or even many thousands of years ago, will come by your side when you need them there. Think about it! Imagine that after you die and find yourself in the spiritual world and you hear the request of a member of your bloodline to come by their side. They are in emotional distress and need your love and support. Would you choose to go to them or would you choose to ignore them? My choice would be to drop what I was doing and immediately go to the side of a hurting relative. After all, in my view, no one will love my future generations more than I will.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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3 Responses to Death – it awaits us all

  1. Patricia Young says:

    Migwetch for this Albert Dumont. At 74 years now, I too don’t worry about what’s to come. I imagine it’s harder for those who’ve never adjusted to different environs – different weather, different friends, different food. I have another story to write of my ancestors, and while I’m not ready to leave here yet, I’m fine if it happens today. MY plans are always subject to change. 🙂 Thank you for your words.

  2. Beth Smith says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful reflection South Wind. Beautifully phrased….and the last paragraph would seem to indicate that YOU will be as busy in eternity as you are here on this earth. with respect and admiration….

  3. Lucas says:

    Kwey Albert,

    This touched my heart in a profound way. As does all of your writing.

    I too have a similar view of death, I have not been afraid for some time now – despite being a young person. The thought of the spirit world and rejoining our ancestors gives me great peace on the hardest of days.

    Nothing would be more of an honour than being able to be the guidance for my future ancestors in the same way that our ancestors guide us today.

    Chi migwetch.

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