It is said that our greatest fears in life are public speaking and death, if you have ever thought you’d rather die than speak in public you are not alone. Jerry Seinfeld’s comment that people would rather be in the coffin that give the eulogy rings pretty true for many of us. Giving a eulogy is a skill and can be public speaking at its rawest.
As for my fear, it’s public speaking hands down, not that I’ve got death sorted but being an end of life doula I’m often reflecting on my own mortality and exploring what death means to me. Being around people at end of life I get to witness others experiences and while love may be present fear is never far away.
As a child we learnt to ride a bike, we had a steady hand guiding us, maybe some trainer wheels, we fell off, we were excited and we were often fearful. Would we fall off, would we hurt ourselves, can we do this ? With support and guidance many of us do things we fear. We did it, we walked, we rode a bike, horse, we jump out of planes, climb mountains, run marathons and the list goes on.
With guidance and confidence we can talk in public ,taking baby steps and leaning into that fear and making it to whatever stage we desire.
What happens once death occurs is still the unanswerable question, but if we explore death with its antidote Love what happens ? From what I witness the strength and power of fear is reduced. It may not go away but the crack allows a softness and lightness to beam in.
If the role of a eulogy is to reflect and pay tribute to a persons life why not honour their approach to death, it could offer a lasting lesson to those still living.
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