In my own heart, I knew how much my father had always dreaded death and his ultimate passage into unknown realms. Once this inevitable moment was upon him, it was impossible for Dad to conceal his terror any longer. I felt certain what we`d seen on my father`s face was simply a lifetime of fear at last releasing itself; though realizing this brought little solace. I, too, felt overwhelmed at this moment, imagining what the future would be like as I struggled to make peace with this final horrific scene, and somehow bring comfort to my family in the days and years ahead.
It became painfully clear how ill-informed and ill-prepared our society is for the ineffable end-of-life event that will surely touch us all. In this fast-moving culture where elders are often pushed aside, viewed as burdens rather than precious reservoirs of wisdom, the ancient rituals and ceremonies that truly honor aging, and the sacred transition to the afterlife, have all but disappeared. Is it really any wonder we feel shocked, and lost, and utterly terrified when Death`s hard knuckles finally wrap upon our door?
When my father died, he died with an expression of horror frozen on his face. His eyes bulged; a mask of stark terror twisted his visage as his final breath escaped- a deeply distressing image that haunted all of us who witnessed his passage. My stepmother instantly succumbed to a wrenching fear that something awful had just happened to her beloved husband on the Other Side and that he was now trapped in a terrible place, for eternity. She was inconsolably distraught.
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