Conversations over Coffee

Conversations with Death

Lying in bed late one night watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday is where I met Michael Singer. The guest on Oprah’s latest show, I sat mesmerised as she interviewed this quiet and humble man. I have a love hate relationship with Oprah’s show; I love it because I am learning about so many incredible and uplifting stories and their story tellers, I hate it because I usually end each episode buying all the books they have written!

Michael’s book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself is now on my bookshelf after that particular Oprah show. Oprah read out a passage while interviewing Michael that stole my heart and became locked in my thoughts.

No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same.

Conversations with Death

As Oprah paused, so did I. It was a light bulb moment, a switch being turned on. Here sat a man I knew nothing of, at all, yet his words spoke so loudly they were almost screaming at me to change my perception on life.

Let’s say the Angel of Death comes to you and says “Come it is time to go.” You say, “But no. You’re supposed to give me a warning so I can decide what I want to do with my last week. I’m supposed to get one more week.” Do you know what Death will say to you? He’ll say “My God! I gave you fifty-two weeks this past year alone. And look at all the other weeks I’ve given you. Why would you need one more? What did you do with all those?”

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Chapter 17.

What did you do with all those weeks? Lately I have been twirling around a thought in my head and it often starts to stir late in the afternoon and stays with me till I fall asleep. The idea of our reality is something I have always questioned. What is real? What defines anything as being real? Most nights, I fall asleep thinking that reality is nothing but fleeting. Hardly here long enough for us to touch it, let alone hold on to it. What is real and long lasting is our memories. And it is here that the lesson of death becomes intertwined.

Conversations with Death

What do I remember? How do I want people to remember me? What will my boys remember about their childhood? What will they remember about their mother? Nathalie Brown wrote one of the most moving posts about parenting and memories, a post that not only resonates with me but it rings so true to what Michael writes about death.

Yes, I want to show my boys everything that is real about me, the crazy, the organised, the overly happy and the sometimes very sad. But I also want this outlook on life to be my guide. On the days when it does feel like it is too much, or too hard, or I am just too tired – I will take that extra moment to read another story, give another hug, to say I love you again. For it is these moments that when I face that Angel of Death I know I would wish I had another week for.

I am letting go of everything that is not important. I will not wait until that last moment to let death be my teacher.

This was the last Conversations over Coffee link for 2013.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of such inspiring conversations,
can’t wait for next year’s conversations!


  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    Really thought provoking, Josefa. I think I may need to buy that book also. It really does bring things home doesn’t it? I have been trying hard to let go of everything that isn’t important too and focus on living every day as if it’s my last. Thank you for hosting such a fantastic link up. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being involved (even though I missed the last two) and can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year xx

  • Thank you for the mention. It can be difficult to live in the moment, when the moment isn’t great, we can only try and step back and change how we react and move on when we feel ready x

  • “I will not wait until the last minute to let death be my teacher.” That is so powerful. I sometimes wonder if something happened to me, what would Nick remember, how long would his memories last? It gets me teary just thinking about it 🙁 I think I’ll be reading an extra book and cuddling a bit longer tonight, and every night, too. xo

  • Kate

    Wow Josefa! I was a little reluctant to read this as the subject matter, death, is not something I have experienced too closely, nor do I even want know the experience. But this post is uplifting and something I can relate too. This is my focus on life today. I do not face death but, in gradually losing my eyesight, I do face, I guess, a death of who I once was. For this I am actually grateful. It means I have let go of many things and truly do make the weeks count.

    A beautiful post, as always. Thank you for hosting and prompting me to write some posts throughout this link up which I found healing and am proud of.

    Looking forward to joining in again in the new year. xx

  • toushka

    Yes! Thanks for this post lovely Josefa! I really needed this reminder today!

  • Wow so inspiring and powerful. Thank you for the perspective we all need to be reminded of every now and again. That book sounds like a must read. Living every day like it is you’re last that is what we should be doing. The little things that will make memories for our children.

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    Thank you, thank you, thank you – this is the perspective that I needed to read about right now !!
    With love
    Me

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    oh this is so beautiful Josefa. Such a balanced perspective to take on the whirlwind that is life. I overlooked your last Conversations link up so it was a lovely surprise to stumble upon it in my feed. Hope you may have enough time to keep it running in 2014 x

  • Gosh, what an incredible post, Josefa! It’s such an emotional subject. Whether we experienced death in family or never came across it, emotions colour the subject completely. It’s easier to avoid thinking about death than having to wade through all the emotions. You have put the indescribable into words! Looks like I’ll be buying the book too.
    Love, Anya xox

  • I have only had one close touch with another’s death, and that was my best friend from high school, whose birthday it would have been today. I don’t think about death much. I guess I am afraid of it. Afraid of mine, but much more afraid of losing my loved ones. xx

  • Beautiful and powerful. Thank you for sharing and reminding us of these important things. Your last line is perfect.

  • LydiaCLee

    Oh – I forgot! I’m sorry – my brain has been elsewhere of late. I’ll be back and more organised next year. When are you telling us the Jan topic?
    Onto the post. This is entirely the FOMO thing (the good FOMO thing, not the sour graping version). Life is so precious, yet we waste so much of it. It’s not a thing to be squandered.

  • Kathy Kruger

    A powerful lesson from Michael Singer and your own reflections on it. Why is it so hard to always live as though we are going to die?

  • Loree

    I was not sure I wanted to read this but I am glad I did because the message was a positive one. May we all learn to let go of all that’s not important and take the time to create and embrace our memories.

  • Inspiring and powerful post Josefa. I too am scared of losing those close to me so tend to shy away from the topic that is death. I met a lady recently whose 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. If that is not death staring at you in the face, I don’t know what is. The families determination was incredible and Celia this week went into remission. Michael Singer’s book looks fascinating. x

  • Kim Cotton

    Oh dear, how sad, how beautiful, how tragic, how inspirational x

  • rhian @melbs

    That was a really interesting post, what you said about how your kids will remember their mum resonated with me – definitely got me thinking.

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    I love surrounding myself with people who are focused on positive forward movement (rather than living in the past and remaining in the victim mindset). That is why Oprah’s shows are always a big attraction for me. I haven’t watched her since she has been off our free to air TV though. Are you watching her on line? Or Foxtel? I would love to check it out …
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    • hello lovely, I have been watching Oprah on Foxtel – although I am sure today you could find her online or on YouTube?

  • Beautiful, Josefa. ‘For it is these moments that when I face that Angel of Death I know I would wish I had another week for.’ Just beautiful.

  • Oh lots to ponder here. Can I highly, highly recommend another book – sorry! It’s called “Tell Me The Truth – Conversations with My Patients About Life and Death’ by an Aussie lady oncologist… one of the best books I have read for a long long time, very illuminating and quite life altering.

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    Oh gosh I totally agree with you… I love Oprah but after every episode I too would find myself buying the books or googling for hours! Lovely writing as always! xxx

  • Grace

    I ponder about death a lot, actually. Mine as well as my loved ones. I find the more I think about it, the more I put perspective on life and focus on the significant stuff. I’m still a little scared of it but definitely not as much as when I couldn’t think about it at all.

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