ABOUT THE BOOK
We All Die:
Becoming Who We Are in the Meantime
We all know death is inevitable; we expect it. And yet, when it happens to someone around us, we are often surprised. No one likes to talk about it and for many, it is a struggle. When we try to talk about it, an interesting default emerges. We innocently put death into categories to help makes sense of what has happened. Age, illness, suffering, and suddenness are all factored into our reactions on top of the how, where, when, and why. And then we stop.
How we proceed after hearing the news that someone has died is often based on how we handle any other unwanted life situation. We are taught by our families, friends, communities, and society about how to respond to the news of a death, how to grieve and how to live on. In fact, there are labeled stages that are referred to and named whenever people check in on us during our so-called time of grief. It is natural then to wonder; does our experience with death need to be a certain way? Or is that just how it has always been done and no one has ever questioned it?
What if there was a way to see it differently? What if our thoughts and feelings about death were not the focus? What if we didn’t get stuck in one stage or another or worry about moving on? Sometimes we forget that the realities of life, death, and everything in between offer us moments that we will live through once and once only …so many moments get overlooked. Maybe, just maybe, those are the very moments that could be life changing.
Many children’s stories reflect changes in life. Most include the use of the phrase “in the meantime” somewhere in the text. The meantime is often defined as the time that takes place before something happens or before a specific period ends. There is always a time before the next thing happens… that’s like every moment, isn’t it? It seems “in the meantime” is all of life, all the time. And so, this phrase that this uttered often nonchalantly refers to a significant gift.
Our perception of living changes when we think of life as a gift. But what does that gift really mean to us? Is it the moment when we achieve our goals and meet the markers we have established for ourselves? Or is the gift of life enjoying all the momentary steps along the way? It doesn’t have to be one or the other. A much greater expansion is available when you consider that all ‘the meantimes’ offer enriching experiences from which we can learn.
The tricky part is that we often don’t even realize moments are happening; they slip by like sand falling between our fingers. But we can change that. The magic of this life begins when we realize that every moment is a possibility, and we have the ability to access them right now.
The title offers a clever twist. Just like when someone reads the last few pages of a book first, there is no mystery to its ending. In this case, we know that we will die, and yet, it is a topic most prefer not to discuss. The concept of our final-ness ignites a fear of the unknown. And where loved ones are concerned, loss, grief, and heartache are never welcomed conversations.
Katherine however, presents a new and uplifting conversation about life, living, dying, and death. The stories she shares about her work as a music therapist assisting people close to death, grants us a glimpse into the final phase of space that lays between the knowing and the not knowing. A space we will inevitably all encounter.
While stories varied, I felt the essence of each individual deeply. I was touched by their desire and realization for self-expression and love. These tiny intimate glimpses offer us, the reader, enormous gifts. The message that unfolded for me was the realization that who we become in life is who we will be at the end of life. Our becoming is the light that glows in the hearts of those we love and touch.