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Sarah: One of my friends died of cancer. She was also a coworker of mine. She was also my mentor. When she died, she was on hospice, and I went and saw her a day or two before she died, and I wasn't sure if I could go see her because it was so painful for me. I didn't want her to die, but I went and saw her anyways, and I was so glad that I did because it ended up being a really great visit with her.
Paul: Everyone and everything on this planet will face the same fate. Stories make it easier. These are those. This is the Death Diaries podcast, I am your host Paul King. On this episode I talk with Sarah Farr, end of life doula in the Washington DC area. She's founder of Death Positive DC and a death cafe host. Not sure what a death cafe is? Keep listening to find out.
Sarah: Dear diary, what will happen to me when I die? I've been asking since I was a child. My fascination with and curiosity about death, the greatest mystery of life continues. When I die, there's a good chance I'll be buried, decay naturally and become rich, organic matter deep down in the soil, but where will I go? Will there even be an I anymore? It's hard and harsh to write this, but after death I think I'll become nonexistent.
Sarah: The people on Earth will remember me through my work, our relationships, and of course my beloved children. I don't think that I, my consciousness or my spirit or whatever you want to call it will continue in any real way. I don't think I can because part of what makes my consciousness mine is my human body and brain. It's all integrated until death arrives and disconnects all the pieces that make me, me.
Sarah: Maybe my consciousness will rejoin the communal eternal, infinite consciousness of the universe, but it won't be me. Diary, I really don't know. Finality, mortality, finiteness, these concepts are so difficult for my brain and hard to accept. I meet them with resistance. I feel guilty that I don't have a more spiritual belief about life after death, but that's the thing. What if life is for us here? Now? While we breathe in our bodies on earth? There can't be life after death because life simply doesn't exist in any way we can perceive or understand once our heart stop beating.
Sarah: When I die, I think it's lights out entirely for me, but ask me where my dead dad is or my dead cats or any other dead person or animal who I love. They are in heaven even though I don't actually believe in heaven, reunited and happily communing in some celestial dimension. Impermanence is too brutal a thought. As a mother, I'm 100% certain that my love for my children has no end. Death can end everything except my love for them.
Sarah: Diary, sometimes I'm okay sitting with the unknown, the questions, the lack of answers. Sometimes my death anxiety is as present as ever. In song of myself, Walt Whitman wrote, "Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself." Diary, I enlarge and I contain multitudes, especially when it comes to death.