Wrestling with Death

Wrestling with Death January 5, 2016


I prefer to believe people die when their souls have finished what they came here to do.

But my belief was challenged last year. (Did you notice an unusual number of deaths in 2015?)

At the end of the year:

  • A beautiful woman in my church died of cancer. She was 49, with two teenagers.
  • A man who was a pillar in the community and a delight to all who knew him was killed in a car accident.
  • The day after Thanksgiving, a friend’s 29-year-old son was washed away in his car on a dark, flooded road, leaving a wife and little boy who was turning 5 the next week.

How could they have been finished with life or ready to go, even at the unconscious level of their souls?

Those of us who knew them or their families have been asking why, why, why. How could this possibly make sense, even in the great cosmic scheme of things?

I’m still wrestling with an answer.



I don’t believe the choice to die is made logically or consciously at a human level, at least most of the time.

path into woods
Infomastern / photo on flickr

At a soul level, they might have been finished with what they came to do, or maybe they had reached a point where they could do no more in this time and place. Maybe they never intended to stay for 90 or 100 years.

For those who loved them, adjusting to their deaths will be part of their paths now. Maybe those brave souls signed up to learn about loss in this lifetime.

Isn’t that better than believing it’s all just random? That we’re victims of fate?

I suspect the choice for death from the soul’s perspective is like walking through a door. You’re inside, then you step outside for some fresh air, and eventually you’ll come back inside for another lifetime.

It’s as if we had all come on a vacation together, and a few of our friends were called home early. Disappointing, but from a soul perspective, we’ll be right behind them.



I’m well aware these ideas probably don’t help in the midst of grief.

Losing the physical presence of someone we love is a very big deal for us humans, even if entering and leaving a lifetime is just a routine shift from a cosmic perspective.

So I probably wouldn’t share most of this with someone still in shock from a loss. In the beginning, we just sit with people in their pain. Then if they ever bring up the topic of why something happened, we can speculate with them.

And it is just speculation. No one understands exactly why or when death happens, or what’s next.

But it helps me to remember that, from everything I read and hear (NDEs, mediums, etc.), the so-called “dead” are right here with us, listening and watching as we carry on with our lives. They are available for communication anytime we think of them.

We can say whatever was left unsaid, and they will hear. We can ask questions or even heal relationships.

They are right beside us, simply without bodies.



I believe we all come here knowing we will live as humans for a while, learn what we can, enjoy what we can, then slip out of our bodies and leave.

That means the loss of those we love is part of the human experience, which is what we came for. We are loved through all its ups and downs.

A friend who lost his wife this year said his answer to the question Why is the same for all of life’s pain and difficulties: It’s an opportunity to engage more deeply with the divine.

But, oh, it hurts sometimes.


PS — What do you believe about why and when death occurs? What has been comforting for you when you experienced loss? I would love for you to share your thoughts below. (Scroll down a bit.)

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