Community + Self-Care During Death
Community + Self-Care During Death:
(Yes, we should talk about this)
I have always been very aware of death.
My family has lived through some devastating experiences of loss. Namely, my mother losing her 13 year old son, Jason Nathaniel Joshua Page. My Baba as I use to call him (tells my mother). Baba began to make his transition at my feet when I was two. So, I learned to face death at an early age. Even after his transition, Young me was still open enough to see and talk to him from my mom’s recollection. As we grow older we ease away from that Spiritual connectivity and sometimes it can morph into anxiety of death vs. acceptance as a natural occurrence in life. Hence why my mom threw me into dance at such a young age.
I’m learning how to turn my intuitive hits and reactions to the presence/fear of death into wisdom, action if need be and to release the anxiety attached to it one day at time.
Everybody processes grief differently.
We must be mindful of this as we are sharing the news of death’s presence.
Don’t text people about someone dying. In the time of death ALL THE SHIT comes to the surface y’all. Families that are estranged or pulled apart this is especially a note for you.
I found out my Dad died by text in 2016. This message was also in the same thread where I was making plans to come to the hospital that day so imagine opening the same thread to find this news. My house at the time didn’t have a physical doorbell but the wiring was still in place. I screamed so loud and so hard you could hear the doorbell ring.
I know it may seem like someone doesn’t care or won’t be affected, especially if they haven’t been around but please don’t assume.
If you caring for someone in that lucid state between life and death and you feel uncertain, tell people DIRECTLY what is happening so they can also prepare. “are you sitting down? Is someone with you? Okay. (Insert name) is about to transition. I need you to come here as quickly and safely as possible.”.
Don’t be elusive. Don’t ask for them to come take out of the trash or to visit. This doesn’t read like an emergency and they may or may not treat it like one. This creates a cycle of anxiety, resentment and fear for everybody. Grief is enough to deal with and all that comes with it. Protect each other.
Stop playing yourself. Don’t be so afraid of the goodbye that you avoid having a chance to connect.
When family members are sick SLOW LIFE DOWN. Just a touch so if you need to make quick adjustments you can. This process may slow life down for a few years but better to slow down than regret. If your plate is too full you won’t be able to breathe let alone grieve.
When people start seeing other family members that have crossed over CALL THEIR IMMEDIATE FOLKS. Don’t second guess this.
When people whom are sick start making their “rounds” if they are physically able to by phone. Prepare yourself and make space.
Some experiences of grief will live with you forever and you must allow space for the waves to crash. You can’t avoid this or if you do you’ll only cause yourself more harm than if you just allowed yourself to feel it.
I’m going to keep adding to this post and I welcome any other words of wisdom or advice folks would like to share.
I also invite you to lift up the names of any ancestors that you are wanting to remember today.
Jason Nathaniel Joshua Page
Sultan Abubakari Muhammad KhanBey
Rev. Barbara Allen
Anthony Hollins Jr