Our lives are full of teachers. From the moment we are born, we are inundated with teaching. We are taught how to behave, how to interact, how to read, how to write, how to figure equations, how to love. Our teachers may be hard to follow and obscure at times, but they all have the end lesson in sight.
If we are very fortunate and very lucky, we are surrounded by teachers at the time of death. Those teachers take on many roles. They may be the family members we look to for comfort; those who share an understanding that belong to only the few who loved so deeply.
They may be those who are passing themselves. Those who understand what we cannot, and offer a peace that only they can provide. That peace may come in the form of forgiveness, a squeeze of the hand, a smile upon their face, words of comfort that pass any miles placed between, or simply an explanation that needs no clarification.
They may also come from those whose job it is to help us let go, move on, and seek peace and understanding. Those who choose a profession which many of us shy away from. Blessed are the souls who day in and day out provide love for the dying, but also for the living.
I have learned that death is not something we do alone. It is a collaborative effort. Dying involves those who live, those who die, and those who meet us on the other side. We are all connected. Intertwined. Sewn together to heal, to love, to let go, to live.
We all live on, here, there, or that somewhere in between. We are never truly gone, and the end is never a punctuation mark. It's not a question. It's not a statement. It just is. When the end greets me at the end of my sentence, I hope it's met with a smile. A kiss. A hug. A laugh. And a tear to remember all of the good times, and a tear to offer hope of all that is left to be.
I hope the beginning of my journey begins the day I say, "goodbye".