Over the weekend, one of Julie’s friends in Utah passed away unexpectedly and it brought up a lot of old feelings and new feelings surrounding death in my life.
I found myself grieving for the loss of my 2 older brothers, my niece and many others over the years.
When I was in Arizona last week decompressing and getting back in touch with nature, I had many conversations with friends concerning death and how it impacts each of us differently.
Growing up, I was always scared of death because of the religious dogma I was fed on a daily basis. I was told that unless I was as perfect as Jesus was, then I was going to burn in hell for all eternity…
That is one helluva big pill to swallow for anyone, let alone a kid who just wanted to be loved and accepted for who he was: energetic, goofy, musically talented and all of the other beautiful pieces that make up who Brandon Jeffs is.
As I got older and I joined the Army, death was at my doorstep directly or indirectly on a near daily basis. Whether I was in Iraq or not, I was in the Army and our business was killing people.
I didn’t have an opinion one way or another while I was in the Army because I was told I couldn’t have an opinion. If I wanted an opinion, I would be issued an opinion. 😉
As I have gotten older, I have realized that I benefited in a lot of ways by joining the Army.
I was able to escape the situation I was in at the time, living with a brother and a friend who were meth addicts.
I was able to get the self-discipline and drive instilled in me that only the military can give.
I was able to check the boxes of getting a college degree and graduating with no debt.
At the end of the day, I am very glad about my decision of joining the military because of the foundation it was able to give me.
All of the other “baggage” that came along the way, well… that’s for another blog post.
Getting back to what death means to me…
When I was a child, I pictured death as fire and brimstone because we were taught that we were never good enough to be in God’s presence. So I feared death.
When I got older, I still hung onto the brainwashing I received as a child simply because I never sought out a different way of thinking.
Nowadays, I approach death very differently.
To me, death is simply dancing from one room to another.
We are all energy and when we die, we simply just change from one state of energy to another.
I no longer fear death.
I also know that I cannot control when I die, so I choose to live my life giving my best each day and improve the lives of those around me.
I get a lot of joy seeing other people’s day shine just a little brighter because I chose to say smile at them or say Hi.
Each morning I wake up, I ask myself this: “If I were to die today, would I have made a difference in the world?”
I would like to think I have and continue to do so.
What do you believe about you?