• Nurse Jesse

Facing Our Own Mortality

I have been seeing ravens in my front yard lately. They have on the perched on the turret of my home and swooped down to land in the planters. They are black, shiny and huge. Ravens, crows, magpies and other such birds are from the family known as “Corvids” which I found quite profound given the 1 letter difference from our now ever-present word, “Covid.” Ravens have long been toted as an omen of death and it seems that death is all around us.

Now, more than ever before, we are all standing here, facing our own mortality. Starting at it squarely in the face. Never have we been shown the fragility of life in a clearer picture than by this tiniest of particles, a virus.

Death, is nothing new. Yet, we believe we can somehow outrun it. Our fate is ultimately defined, isn’t it? I know, how morbid of me to talk about this now. But, death is the proverbial “elephant” in the room.

We have debated it. We have dared it. We have tried to defy it. Yet, death offers us a vivid clarity that nothing in this universe could offer to us. 20/20 vision indeed, has it ever been more clear?

One of my favorite movies of all time is Last Holiday featuring Queen Latifah. A humble sales clerk in cookware, Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah), learns that she has only 3 weeks to live. She has spent her whole life living in a “box” or by a certain set of rules she had subscribed to. But, when she receives her death sentence, only then does she really begin to LIVE. I have watched this movie so many times that it now skips in my DVD player. It reminds me that no man (woman) knows the hour of our death nor the number of our days on this earth. Yet, have we ever truly LIVED? Or, were we living in our little “boxes” of perceived control, confined to a set of rules that were uncomfortably comfortable? Managing our risks? Fearing the “boogey-man” and “what if’s?”

We are all going to pass “through a membrane” one day from this world to another. We would love to insulate ourselves from this truth but it seems that our soul is pleading with us to open our eyes and see in this year of great clarity, 2020.

So, what about you? For me, I am at peace with death. I do not wish death on anyone and will do my part to preserve life, even risking my own. But, I will not fear death anymore. And upon those wings, I will also say that I am no longer scared to LIVE.

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