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In the Shadow of Death: A Lesson On How To Live Life With Purpose

Most world cultures acknowledge an archetype that represents death. Whether it be the grim reaper or the boatman, the figure that represents death is usually an ominous and often scary entity. During one very difficult time in my life, I sought out the counsel of a wise man and discovered how embracing the concept of death can actually help you live your life more fully. I hope that by sharing this knowledge your life will be more meaningful. Here is what I learned.

If you have experienced a loved one's death, you understand the diverse range of emotions that accompany the event. Emotions include sadness, sorrow or an unexpected sense of extreme isolation. When death is unexpected, you may feel anger and frustration. Some consider sudden death a curse. When death is anticipated, the aftershock can be extremely confusing because the days, months or years leading up to the actual death of your loved one, is like a state of suspended grief. The period of mourning can last the entire span of the illness which precedes death. It can be agonizing. Some people choose to fear death. Fear of death manifests in ways that repress the spirit and limit potential or actual accomplishments.

Death does not have to be a bad word. Death is an inevitable. We are not superhuman. We have no potion from the fountain of youth to extend our life forever. Because death is inevitable, we should not fear it. We should embrace it as a friend. By living with complete acceptance that death is indeed a factor of life, and one that we will, inevitably, experience personally, we can use it as a motivator to make better decisions in our daily life.

Imagine that death is an entity that you can fully sense. Imagine it as a fully-formed being or as a shadow whose presence you can sense or see with a fleeting glance in your peripheral vision. Now imagine that the entity is close to you. It is standing on your left side, parallel to you. As you look ahead, you cannot see its full form. But, you know it is there. As you walk, talk, run, or play throughout the day, death remains no more than an arm's length away - at all times.

By recognizing that death has the capability to stretch out its arm and tap you on the shoulder to let you know that the final day has come, you will always be aware that time is fleeting. Like the shadow that mirrors your every footstep, the entity of death is like the shadow in each day. But, if you embrace death as a friend or respected acquaintance, it will be your reminder to live life fully. No one encourages death, but by understanding that it will come to each of us, we can learn to make better decisions in life; decisions to feel proud of. Acknowledge its existence as a reminder to strive for optimum happiness each day.

Don't wait for tomorrow to come. If you have deprived yourself of laughter, laugh today. If you have failed to express your affection for someone, share your love today. If you have forgotten what it is like to stand with arms outstretched in the middle of green grass, smelling the scents that make you feel vibrant and alive, don't wait - do it today. For today is a certain reality. This moment in time. And if we fail to live life fully and our friend death taps us on the shoulder today, we will have wasted this opportunity to reach life's full potential.

May you live each day with purpose, without regrets. May you find your voice to express what you have been longing for, and shout it out to the world. And, may your day include a shared embrace with your loved ones.


Mimi Rothschild

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder and CEO of the Global Grief Institute which provides Certification training programs forGrief Coach, Trauma Coach, End of Life Coach, and Children's Grief Coach. She is a survivor who has buried 3 of her children and her husband of 33 years. She is available for speaking engagements and comments to the press on any issue surrounding thriving after catastrophic loss. MEDIA INQUIRIES:

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