I'm a birth and baby advocate, a family birth supporter, a forever student of physiological hands off birthing. Many people know this of me. Being in the birthy world, we share our stories. Our birth stories are carried close to our hearts, for many they are great memories, and for some they aren't. But it is a tie that binds, something we all do, we're all born. It could be our own birth story, or our children's birth stories, but it's apart of our lives. They are beautiful, they are raw, they are the beginning.
For many of women in the birth communities, telling birth stories, was the first step of taking their birth back. Once shared, it couldn't be stop, growth, change, shaping of motherhood, shaping of future births, shaping of self-image. I have been moved to laughter, to tears, to heart-wrenching pain with the stories I've read. It made birth less mystical to be let into this little piece of the world, to be allowed into someone's most intimate moment of becoming mother, to feel/to see/to smell/to hear what they were.
But stories of death, they are not shared like birth stories. And exception being stillbirth, being life and death all at once, they are intense and powerful, they are so tender and to be told a stillbirth story is an honor. By and large though our death stories are tucked away. They make others so very uncomfortable. We don't want to hear, we don't want to know, we want to offer comfort, we want to make it better so we can go on with life and not think about how finite our lives are.
Death stories are important. Violent, tragic, drawn out, sudden, too soon, too painful, gentle, surrounded with love, alone, and on and on. Sharing the stories of those you've been there to bear witness to is important. They are worth telling, worth hearing, and worth sharing. Please share your death stories, take death back, take away the taboo. Because no one should carry their death stories alone, they should be honored for what they are, held in our heart to make us a little softer, a little more patient, and a lot more thoughtful in our actions and intentions.
If you desire to share the death story that you carry, beyond me and my blog, please email my beloved friend Emily Reeves at email@example.com share your death stories. And even still I would love to bear witness to the stories you know, to let you be less alone in that which you have witnessed. Take death back. Loving you, loving us, fearlessly.