One of my husband’s brothers died a few days ago. The thought that birth and death are similar kept circulating in my brain as I realized that birth and death are intricately connected. We enter the world and leave it by surrendering to a force which sweeps us along. All we can do is let go of fear and control, let go of the familiar and plunge into the unknown.
When I almost lost a daughter in childbirth last April, I was forcibly struck with this truth Indeed most of the third world faces a real threat of death each time they conceive and face childbirth.
My daughter almost bled out when she lost a litre of blood in mere seconds after an emergency C-section.
I gazed down at her limp form,
“I felt myself slipping away…”
My daughter thought for a moment that she was dying.
Actually, she was dying.
Years ago she would have died.
In the third world, she would have died,
As the result of a series of complications that no one could have foreseen.
Her husband carried her weak body to the washroom.
The nurse held her new son’s weight, as she nursed.
Life and death are not as far apart as I had presumed.
Life is precarious.
Life is fragile.
I know each time I gave birth, I panicked at the time of transition, just before it is time to push. It is a pivotal moment of intense pain when my body was pushed to its limits. There was a moment of exhaustion when I foolishly worried the baby was not going to emerge. I had to tell myself that billions of babies have been born into the world, most without the backup of modern medicine should anything go wrong.
The infant also goes through trauma, leaving the safety and protection of the womb only to be thrust out into cold, harsh lights of the outside world. His umbilical cord is severed. Separated from his mother for the first time, he gasps for air and cries pitifully as he experiences hunger and digestion pain for the first time.
In death, once again we must let go of the familiar and surrender to a force which sweeps us through the veil separating life and death to emerge on the other side. Fear and even terror grips most humans because we face the unknown. For most people, as the body slowly shuts down, they experience pain. Watching my brother-in-law struggle with his last laboured breaths was agonizing. Yet I experienced moments of joy when I connected to Marc’s spirit and I knew he was about to be reborn and emerge on the other side just as he did when he was first born into this world.
Marc Edward Juneau of Metcalfe passed away on December 30, 2014 at age 57 after a brave battle with cancer at the Ottawa General Hospital while surrounded by his family and friends. He is dearly loved and remembered and will be missed by his wife Mary-Ann (nee Broda), his son Joshua (Shelby), and his granddaughter Seirra. Also, dearly loved by daughter Jennifer Brohman. Son of Alison and the late Robert Juneau. Brother to Bob (Gina), Michael (Melanie), Bill (Karen), Sue Willis (Ron), Peter (Wendy), Lise, John, Joseph (Sally) and the late Patrick. Family and friends are invited to pay their respects at the Daley Family Funeral Home, 6971 Bank St. (between Scrivens Dr. and Metcalfe Corner) on Sunday, January 4, 2015 from 2-4 & 7-9 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Metcalfe on Monday, January 5, 2015 at 11 am. In memory of Marc, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society would be most appreciated by the family.