Death is not something we like to talk about. At least not in Western culture. It reminds us of endings, of our finite existence, our impermanence of being. It brings up feelings of abandonment and fear.
And yet each one of us goes this way.
Our personal bank account of time is limited. For most of us, it is a thought we push away to the farthest reaches of our minds. Preoccupied with our day-to-day living, we do not focus on endings. And that is a good thing.
Each day is a new beginning. Every individual on this planet serves a purpose. And that purpose is to get closer to our souls. To understand that while our time here is not endless, the energy we transfer to every action, word and thought continues well beyond our lifespan.
Last week I had the opportunity to examine our impermanence on a very personal scale. We celebrated the life of a dear friend who has passed from this world. He left a legacy of music, joy, hope, love and understanding that has moved me to my core. In a room with nearly 200 people from around the world, we joined together in Hoboken, New Jersey, to give thanks to a man who touched so many. Perry Robinson dedicated his life to connecting with others: whether it was through his clarinet, his magic tricks or the stories he told, he brought us closer to ourselves with an acceptance and deep understanding that we are all one. When I first met him in 2013, he smiled widely, declaring that it’s just the beginning. I embraced him in that very moment and knew he was someone special. His autobiography, The Traveler, illustrates a life well-lived with enormous depth.
On December 2, 2018, he depleted his personal bank account of time. And I am left standing at the closed door of that bank, missing him greatly.
As my love and I ambled along the streets of Manhattan for a final farewell before our flight home yesterday, I looked to the sky for answers. What if death is just a portal to another place beyond time? What if it really is just the beginning? And then I saw a cloud in the form of a winged angel playing the clarinet. And I knew Perry was right.