I’m going to talk about a topic most of us are uncomfortable with, a topic that strikes fear in the hearts of almost everyone. This is a topic that’s so taboo you virtually never hear it spoken of except in the most reverent or joking of terms. But it’s time to have an honest conversation about death.
Not only do I have some very special guests with inspirational stories sure to leave you in tears in some cases and smiles in others. But I’ll share my own intimate story of loss and how it helped me understand a new way to look at life’s end.
A creative visionary, spiritual teacher and international best-selling author, Robert Clancy is also my friend. His latest book Soul Cyphers: Decoding a Life of Hope and Happiness is about the creation of a joyful and balanced life.
Robert lost several people very close to him and he’s come to understand how connecting grief to love can help you overcome the darkness. When he was only 19, a series of tragedies struck his life in a very short timespan. “I lost several friends to suicide.” Robert told me, “I had other friends get killed in horrific car accidents.” His close friends were far away at college and his family was dealing with their own struggles at the time. The only person Robert had left to turn to was his girlfriend and then they broke up leaving him in a place of utter devastation.
In my discussion with Robert, we talk about his own downward spiral as a youth, the shocking events that left him feeling lost, out of control and on the verge of losing his own life. He’ll tell us about the amazing, transformational moment that saved his life and changed the destructive path he was on. Robert will share the secret he carried for decades and the intimate moment, with his father, when he finally broke his silence.
Despite being a Constellation Facilitator for 20 years, my next guest’s life was turned upside down when his own partner died unexpectedly. My good friend, and author of Master Your Universe: How to Direct and Star in Your Own Life, Gary Stuart, is here to tell me about his journey to come to terms with his sudden and crushing loss.
Gary is used to being the one guiding other people through grief and loss, but when it happened to him, he found he wasn’t prepared. “My spouse died with a massive heart attack on a 20th-anniversary vacation, just in the middle of the afternoon, after lunch.” he told me. “It was a nightmare and a total shock.” Gary says that his training as a facilitator helped him deal with his feelings at a very deep level, but getting through the stages of grief is a process that he’s still going through. It’s something I can relate to, even though I’m a doctor and I’ve counseled many patients, when I suffered my own loss, it was a different ball game altogether.
Gary says the reason death always takes us by surprise, even when we know it’s coming, is the helplessness, the sense of having no control over these larger-than-life forces. Gary and I discuss the three big forces we’re all affected by but have no control over, and how consciousness never dies even though the body does.
Gary tells me he has friends in Europe and he shares with me how they’re dealing with end-of-life decisions in Amsterdam. Gary talks about the death cafes, it’s not as gruesome as it sounds, and actually a very interesting concept. Find out how Europeans are taking control of their own destinies and being empowered in making their final choice for themselves.
Having had to deal with one of the most traumatic life and death fights anyone can imagine, Lisa Lisson has emerged stronger and more positive than even she could have expected. As a young mom, only 38 years old, Lisa was awakened one night by a thump. Her husband, who was also 38, had fallen out of bed. Lisa quickly went to his side and realizing he wasn’t breathing, she immediately dialed 9-1-1. A dispatcher walked Lisa through CPR until paramedics arrived. “Actually as I’m doing CPR, I’m screaming ‘please don’t die on me’ and two of my children walk in at that moment.” Lisa told me. With four young children, Lisa shares with me the journey she took them all on, over the next two years, as she tried to save their father’s life.
Lisa has written a book, aptly called Resilience: Navigating Life, Loss and the Road to Success. Having risen to the top professionally, she’s the president of FedEx Canada, Lisa knows what she’s talking about. Learn the profound words Lisa’s mother said to her that helped her come to terms with her loss and move into her future.
Lisa also told me about two other tragedies that touched her life. At only 47 years old, her father lost his life to a brain tumor, and the shocking murder of Lisa’s best friend’s sister, whom Lisa had tried to save from an abusive relationship. “I was 40 years old, I had done three eulogies of lives that should not have meant to be lost so suddenly.”
Learn the technique Lisa learned to get through those trying times and that she still applies to her life today.
Energy healer and intuitive Elaine Grohman is a very good friend of mine. Elaine had a near-death experience when she was hospitalized three times in a two day period. As she drifted in and out of consciousness, Elaine had an amazing encounter with her mother, whom she hadn’t seen in 49 years. “She looked at me and she said, ‘Honey, you are not going anywhere.’ That moment I opened my eyes and said to my sister Judy, ‘Mom just spoke to me’”. Elaine’s mother died when Elaine was just 13-years old.
Elaine tells me that she feels we are afraid to live more than we are afraid to die, which seems a little odd, I mean, isn’t dying the big thing we’re all afraid of? But, Elaine told me the problem is we’re all layered with expectations due to our cultural beliefs. Then, something will happen, she says, that makes us realize the greatest gift we have is life and the greatest gift of life, is time.
Death teaches us how to live life, Elaine says. She has a mentor who is a Native American elder. Elaine shares his fascinating outlook on life and death and explains why we shouldn’t be afraid. I believe the biggest relationship is the one you have with yourself, whether it’s death, joy or grief. Let it go into you and let it change you, so that you can be the beautiful spirit that you are.