Saturday, October 29, 2011


Do you remember the movie last year, with Director Clint Eastwood, starring Matt Damon as a former psychic?

A movie that posed some weighty questions:
What do you think happens when we die? What awaits us after our life here? Can we reach those who have gone before?

Questions that have been on my mind alot lately...and not just because of Andys death.

For those of us lucky enough to work in pediatric health care, these questions form the substrata of our days.

Questions that are always there but which never fully bubble up to the surface until we're standing with a grieving family at the end of a code, after their child has been pronounced dead, or as we sit vigil with them in the PICU, watching nurses care for the remains for a physical body after science would have us believe that the essence of a child's personality - his or her soul - has already departed.

And, if you're really lucky in your 30 year career, you have experiences that can't be explained, that don't get written about or made into movies.
Experiences that convince you, beyond all reason or doubt that the final tag line in the movie trailer is absolutely spot on:
"If you're worried about being on your own, don't be - you're not."

I don't think it's any coincidence that our thoughts turn to these issues in the fall; in the month of October to be precise.

A month in which various cultures and faith traditions celebrate Halloween (for the pagans amongst us), All Souls Day and Dia de Los Muertes, the day of the Dead.

Our souls are more finely tuned to the physical world than we'd like to believe and, in a season when we're surrounded by death in nature (no matter how glorious), it's only natural that thoughts of our own mortality would surface as well.

Last year, I decided to write about a few of the experiences I've had with death and several of you have asked to have them posted again.

So over the next few days - these days leading up to All Souls Day - I'm going to repeat a few: each dramatic, a mix of the funny and the macabre and all true.
At least for me.

You can decide whether they're true for you too.

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