Death Was Scary Then

When I was young my Mother died.

Recently I had an experience with a little bird that made me think about it. I wish I had known how to be grounded and present then.

Today I held a dead bird in the palm of my hand. The cat bought it in to me. I picked it up and gently held it.

At first I hoped it would come to life, maybe it was feigning death to protect itself. I moved my hand so it could feel the sun -maybe that would help. I tried to will it back to life.

It felt very sacred. I could feel the life in my hand and hoped the bird could feel it too.

I remembered my Mother dying when I was young and wished I would have touched her body – like I was with the bird – while it was still warm. I wished I hadn’t wanted to get away quickly. I wished I had put my head on her heart and my hand on her face. I wish I had of loved her more. Death was scarier then.

I stayed with the bird and all that was happening in this moment – my memory of my Mother’s death, the birds death, my aliveness and the aliveness I could hear and feel all around me.

I remembered them coming and putting coins on her eyes. That was weird. I didn’t like that. Why couldn’t we look at her eyes. The birds eyes were beautiful to look at. But death was scary then.

The cat walked past. I wanted to be mad at it. Then I thought, well, it just did what it naturally does. Just like the cancer did in my Mum. I gently put the bird in the garden and remembered its bones will turn into dust and then it will be the earth.

I don’t want to be put into a box and embalmed with chemicals that won’t let me become the earth. I hope someone who is not scared of death – someone who can feel their own ground and aliveness – will be brave and stay with me for a while, just until I am cold and gone. Then they can put me in the earth until my bones become dust.

Then I will be the earth too.

I am sorry Mum x.

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Gabrielle Clark

I am a Somatic Therapist and Initiatic Art Therapist and a Mum and a wife and a student of philosophy. I love to be inspired by people who speak from their own experiencing. I found Gene Gendlins work through a love of Carl Rogers teachings. Now I am here. I work in person and online with individuals who reach out to me, there is more about me and my work on here.....

4 thoughts on “Death Was Scary Then”

  1. Thank you for this beautiful exploration of death—of a loved one, a little bird and your own eventual death. You showed us that we can learn so much about ourselves by being with all that is around us everyday.

    I especially want to send my heartfelt condolences to your young girl who lost her mother. I had three cousins who lost a parent at a young age. So little was done to help them with the loss. It was believed that young children “didn’t remember the person” or would “soon forget” the pain they felt. They were indelibly marked by their experience of their parent’s death. One cousin, whose mother died when he was 10, told me that he thinks of his mother everyday of his life.

    I send out to the universe the wish that all children who lose a parent at a young age be supported in their experience and in their process of healing. Children remember the loss of a significant caretaker at any age and carry that pain in their bodies until it has a place and time to heal.

    What you showed in your experience is that “death is not so scary” when we are with the experience of it in a grounded way.

    Thank you.


  2. Dear Gabe
    Thank you for sharing that experience of what death was for you in that moment and I am wondering if there was anything else there too? At the moment of death of a loved one my own presence was almost magical for me, and I realize those are strange words…. they just came right now, magical. But those feeling didn’t come right away, it took years to inform me about their death and then about death for me, and how that might be. It came in a dream!! And it felt okay somehow. Maybe it is a possibility to ask something like “what will death be like for me?”

    Scary question to ask but it helped with my fear of death.


  3. I like this Kevin, thank you for sharing your experience. Gradual is perfect. It will come when it’s time. Unexpectedly, that seems the way things come for me.
    One thing this made me realize was although it was strange and weird and felt surreal I am glad we were all there. My little brother who was only 10 was sent to a friends and always says he is sad and angry to have missed that very painful family moment of her death.
    I am reminded that what is hard and painful often catapults us into a much wider deeper space.
    I will hold your question and the word magical and see what comes.
    Thank you.

  4. Dear Diana,

    This moved me very deeply and helped release many tears that seem to be sitting their waiting for theses moments, somehow something felt very heard and understood in your reply.

    So much came in the moment it was difficult to write so I remembered to come back to myself and pause.

    I really appreciated you sharing your cousins experience as it reminded me of what that little girl did back then and helped some compassion and understanding come in me.

    I like your prayer to all the little ones who have been catapulted into a strange new world. Maybe a lonely one, a scary one a different one than they knew. I will hold that in my heart too.

    It is nice to talk about death.
    We seem to talk more about birth than it’s twin sister death.
    I am glad the little bird and I had that sacred moment together that day.
    I am glad for people who can share their own experiences so we can be moved further in our own body knowing too.

    With much warmth,


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