Thoughts of Death – lets just volunteer.

Life. It’s short. It’s wild. It’s crazy. Then it’s over. Just like that. If I’ve learned nothing it’s this. You never know when it’ll end. When one day it’ll just be finished. Yet, it’s only finished for you. So many others continue to breathe. Continue in the world that never stops spinning.

I continue to feel the overwhelming feeling of Zak’s early ending. His Facebook posts are more positive. He did stop long enough to grab leftovers. He speaks of the future. Yet, never speaks of the future if that makes any sense. Just fun stuff. No long term goals. No careers. No following up on job leads that get him out of his dead end. Just fun things like racing, mechanics, etc. I guess that’s better than nothing for today. It’s something.

My thoughts aren’t normal. I acknowledge this. I admit this. “Normal” people don’t jump to worst case scenario. They don’t jump to death or funerals. They don’t play out worst case scenarios in their heads. The baby we keep was sleeping longer this week. In the time it took me to toast an English muffin I’d determined in my head he probably wasn’t breathing, there’d be police tape everywhere and how awful it was going to be to tell his foster mom. Yes, that’s where my mind went in 3 minutes or less. Needless to say when I frantically ran in the room my daughter looked at me like I was insane as the wide eyed baby simply smiled. He’d awoken without crying. I just muttered I thought he quit breathing it had been so long. Ummmm, no, remember the time change has him waking up at Noon instead of 11? Oh. Yeah.

That’s my severe anxiety. That’s my life. Don’t answer my call. You’re dead. Call me and sound like you’re crying. Someone’s dead. Get off late work. When will the police come to tell me you got in an accident? This use to be bad but it had gotten so much better. Yet, Zak’s accident seems to have triggered it to return. Full force. It’s back. My worst case scenario has returned. And it’s awful.

The therapist I worked with for school and love messaged me this week stating that she’d definitely work with me and doesn’t feel like it’s a conflict as in rural towns there will always be a conflict and we just have to determine the level and appropriateness. I’d mentioned awhile back I thought I should get some help and I’m sure she saw my latest Facebook post. I replied I was a train wreck and honestly she was biting off more than she could chew this week. I then explained my Facebook post was because I can’t stop the obsessed with death thoughts and decided I’d just embrace them. Her response, “Ohhhh H, I’m out the next 2 weeks but I’ll be in touch. We need to begin.”  Yeah. We do.

What’s the Facebook post? Well my late night reading brought me down a rabbit hole. To Death Doulas. Seriously these exist. What are they? Someone who helps an individual or family through the death process. Your often contacted when the final moments are close and offer assistance with creating final keepsakes, creating death plans, watching for the transitions to death, companionship. Some families may want help after with the funeral or ceremonial processes. Dressing their loved ones themself. Special arrangements. Etc. So many things. It’s super similar to hospice work or a GOOD hospital social worker. Yet, a slightly wider scope as it can follow longer, etc. I reached out to hospice and asked if they’d have a use for this. Immediately I got a call – You’re really willing to volunteer with hospice? Ummm, yeah. You want the direct contact with hospice patients and their families? Yes. We had a good conversation and she asked if I’d want to volunteer to begin and could get my doula hours whenever I was ready. Yes please. Great idea.

They only have 5 volunteers willing to do this. Five. People die every day. They have FIVE volunteers. Sad. Even with Covid this is a volunteer option they’ve allowed to continue as those in hospice have the right to have their emotional needs met in their final days. Absolutely. There’s some extra hoops – A covid test. Okay? Great.

Am I insane? Maybe. Probably. Most likely. But I have this overwhelming death feeling. I might as well tunnel it towards actual death and put it to use. At least I think so.

I’ve done many of the things described. I’ve helped two parents dress their baby in his final outfit. I’ve sat with someone dying in hospice. I’ve helped make funeral arrangements. I’ve helped plan dinners. I’ve helped with keepsakes. I’ve offered support. I’ve held a lifeless, perfect baby for hours while his mother got things done, told me the dreams she had for her baby who lost his heartbeat moments before delivery, cried, prepared to hand him to a funeral director and said her last goodbyes. I’ve linked families to resources.

It’s something I can do. It something I’ve done. I can hold my head up, I can empathize, I can control my emotions as necessary. Oddly this is an area of life I can organize. It’s like when death happens I find the OCD in me and simply go into supportive, planning mode. I can’t explain it. At what cost will this be to my soul? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find meaning and peace.

The baby I held – his mom reached out after my Facebook post about Death Doulas – Encouraging me to consider it. Telling me the support and companionship were so helpful and that’s the exact role a death doula could have. That she didn’t want to lay her baby in a cot, yet so many were afraid to hold him. See him. Death is taboo. The fact I was not only willing but happy to help get through those moments was priceless. That was basically the only validation I needed. It has a purpose. It’s good. So yeah, I think I’ll try it. At least volunteer with hospice first.

Why? My daughter asked why I’m so calm with death. Why I’m just calm? Not sobbing. Just accepting it. Because it’s death? We’re all going to die? And I literally live with these thoughts? I have NO idea. But I got to thinking – Does it all come back to religion? To my upbringing? To the “cult”? Death was nothing I was told. You’re just in a deep sleep. Then you’ll awake in paradise when the world is all fixed. Death wasn’t scary or anything to fear. You shouldn’t be sad for those who die. They’re just sleeping. Blah blah blah. So it was drilled into my head death was just a deep sleep. Is this why I simply go into planner mode? The subconscious of my mind is all jacked up by the indoctrination I was to never doubt. Seriously, I should back off the site I’ve been reading as it’s been making me question and understand more and I really think it messes with my head more too.

But that makes sense. That those early beliefs are just stuck in there even when I don’t always know they are stuck in there. Ugh. In the end, I think I have to address allllllll of that before I’ll ever fully begin to fix my huge issues.

Enough of that rambling for tonight.

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I am hoping my death is the beginning of my life.