Because energy never dies.
It transfers.
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If illness and death weren’t so taboo in American culture - and I don’t mean rampant religious speak of heaven and hell or afterlife, etc.- I mean the actuals of the body shutting down- then perhaps end of life might be far less haunting, traumatic and isolating. Why isn’t the reality of this natural process widely integrated into our teachings? We are all someday faced with it. With more understanding around the physical and emotional aspects of death, we might better receive and give love, compassion and support. We might have better coping skills. We might not feel so helpless and silenced in our grief. We might more easily find healing, closeness and deeper meaning in life.

In June of 2017 my sister Shayna was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at the age of 35. Over 20 months the tumors spread from her brain to her spine, which the oncologist said was eventually “coated like cake with cancer”, before it erupted back in her brain rendering continued treatment unviable. In the four months preceding her death I lived with her, caring for her, being present with her as she traveled through the end of her life. These works illustrate the landscape of the indelible sister bond through terminal illness, as Shayna fought an impossible disease - coined "The Beast" in the Glioblastoma community. When we asked what her death might look like, what we should be prepared for- we were told that Shayna would likely start sleeping more and more and one day just not wake up. Instead, she went through every stage of a gradual death. One by one she lost all of all faculties - her memory, her ability to walk and speak, the ability to read color and sight in one eye- bedridden in her final weeks. The actualities of this end of life transition were nearly as traumatic as the fact of her illness and death. She died on February 22, 2019.

Not long after Shayna's diagnosis, she asked me "where do you think we go when we die, sister?"