Saturday, July 5, 2008

Children of Dying

As I find my way down this path of public speaking, my opinions, my topics and my style continues to evolve. The truth is, I am happy with the work I am doing but I feel that it has not yet reached the potential of where it needs to be...in all aspects.

Specifically regarding the content, though, I feel a deep rumbling inside me (and it's not my lunch) of ideas that are forming, attitudes that are sprouting, a message that is waiting to be heard. I feel in my guts that I am on the beginning of this journey and there is so much more to say that I don't even know how to put into words yet.

I was meditating the other day (yes, I am doing my homework and "finding the way back to me") and I think I heard a few whispers of that which is bubbling inside.

I have many interests, many things I believe in. All of those things are important. I can not deny, however, that the thing I find most compelling to ponder and to talk about is dying. Because of my experiences, it saddens me that we live in a culture where death is so hated and feared. It saddens me that we live lives of complete denial and only wrestle with the hate and fear when there is nowhere else to run.

If you had a child who was born with a condition that you knew would take their life, would you talk with them about it as soon as they were old enough to understand? Would you do your best to help them live a happy and fulfilled life in the time they had here on earth? Would you teach them about That Which is Important and place value on different things than the rest of our society? Would you do what you could to help them come to terms with and even accept their own mortality?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, I have news for you.

We all have this condition. It's called the human condition. All of us will cease to exist some day, all of us live lives of uncertainty. All of us have the opportunity to use death's approach as motivation to shift our focus onto That Which is Important, to live fulfilled lives in the time we have here on earth and to come to terms, maybe even accept, maybe even embrace, our own mortality.

But what do we do instead? We buy into the hype. We believe our parents or our friends or our culture when it tells us that death is the worst case scenario. We deny death's presence until it overwhelms us with the pain and confusion of a great loss or our own impending end. We do not take time to make peace with death until we are in a death crisis. A death crisis is not a time to understand what death has to offer and this approach will only reinforce our culture's attitude of death as enemy. We wait to long to process the pain and grace of dying and so we never have a chance to take a more balanced view.

I find this sad. I find it silly. For those with the human condition to pretend that death is not real, to not teach our children about death's touch, to only see its presence as horrific, all of this I see as a counter-productive approach to life. There is an elephant in the room of each of our lives. Shouldn't we see what happens if we stop ignoring it?

So this is what I am beginning to understand. There are people who will read this blog post and find me to be morose, macabre, dark, sick, dramatic, rude, uncouth...I'm sure the list goes on. Those are not the people that are my audience.

What I know now is that, part of my work here, is to talk to The Children of Dying. The Children of Dying are people who, either by circumstance or curiosity, are ready and eager to learn the lessons death has to teach us, to speak of the elephant in the room and to make peace with the grief and the grace of death.

This might not be much to go on, but for now, this is all the rumblings will tell me.

XXOO
Tiffany

11 comments:

Frank (Francesco) S. Adamo said...

Interesting that you talked of the children dying. Rotary International's new President talks about this. There are more than 25,000 children below the age of 5 dying EVERYDAY of curable diseases.

See www.rotary.org for more about President D. K. Lee and his theme of Make Dreams Real for the young people. If you want to work towards helping young children (and others), you might consider joining Rotary.

Ciao, Frank (Francesco)

Somer Love said...

Seriously you are hilarious I love your sense of humor! i laughed when I read your comment to Franks comment.

I found you through the Cf Husband blog. I am so glad that he is trying to put together a blog roll of us Cfers. My name is Somer and I am 29 and also have CF. I just recently started the whole blog thing and I love it and I have met so many great people. I love your magazine covers. You mentioned you are going to CFRI I am suppose to be going to that I sit on the Heroes of Hope panel with Ana and Isa we are having an in person award ceremony at the conference. I was feeling out the release forms and got a lil freaked out so I am not sure that I will be attending. It just makes me nervous but I know the experience is so amazing Ana and Isa always have such a fabulous time and talk so highly of it. I would love to meet new people to including you I went to your website you are amazing so inspirational! I can't wait to read your book!

g-maw said...

Tiffany,

I think Frank offered a link for you and was sincere. Your comment to him sounded somewhat rude. I love what you are doing, but I don't think that was an appropriate response from an author, public speaker, coach, and advocate, or from anyone else!

g-maw said...

Here's the deal. My granddaughter (19) has CF. I found you while looking into going to conference in August. I read your website, thought you might be a good coach for her if she's interested, liked your attitude and what you are doing. I sent my granddaughter the link to your website and was then going to order your book... then I read your response to Frank. I think more than anything, I was dissapointed that you do not have the qualities of someone I would want my granddaughter to align herself with. I'm not sharing this to hurt you, but rather to help you grow.

Tiffany said...

g-maw,

Thank you for your feedback. I certainly understand what you are saying.

If Frank is a real person who really did misinterpret my post, then I apologize.

My assumption, however, it that the post is really a new breed of "blog spam." They have some way of searching for key words and a computer leaves you a message. I have had many of these. They seem as though they are responding to you but I have been fooled a few times by this.

I will check into it though. If I was wrong, I will make the appropriate apologies and remove my post. I was not trying to be rude to a person. I was making a joke about blog spam.

Thanks for being kind enough to tell me the deal straight.

Much love,
Tiff

Tiffany said...

Ok, I was wrong.

Frank, if you read my earlier post, I apologize sincerely. I have been getting a lot of this kind of blogger spam and yours resembled some of them.

I appreciate your feedback. I hope you can accept my sincere regret for not checking on my assumptions before making an off-hand comment.

G-Ma--I hope you have not lost all faith in me. It was an honest error.

Much love,
Tiff

g-maw said...

Tiffany, I love you and your life's purpose... did before you responded and still do. I "do" have faith in you, and I believe there are a lot of fortunate people who will be blessed by knowing you. Thank you... and "go get 'em!" G-Maw

Sarah said...

Hi Tiffany, I didn't see your original comment to Frank but I can imagine. I think it's an easy mistake; I get lots of comment spam on my blogs too. I have moderation turned on and I just don't bother to approve anything that looks like spam. I've probably overlooked a real one here and there, but life is too short to wade through all that spam.

Meghann said...

So true Tiffany! I agree completely.

Garry said...

I just got back a couple nights ago from saying goodbye to my mom. Her lung condition finally caught up with her...something we all knew would eventually happen. As I gave her the last rites, as I leaned down to whisper my thanks and my love--it struck me. As much as I didn't want to say goodbye, there was a gentle peace in that moment. We had always taken the time to say the things that were important. There were no regrets--because we had tried to live each moment together to the fullest. Because of that, while it sorrows me that she is gone--I was able to let her go.

Sarcastica said...

I remember a sentence in your book that was about dying being another form of healing, which is true. Everybody dies. I too dislike how our culture makes dying seem so terrible.

Anyways, keep doing what you're doing Tiffany!