There’s Been A Death In The Family (PC043)

I have been doing a lot of musing lately.  Every day a new topic idea for a podcast, but nothing seems to solidify.  This is what happens to me when I am in transition.  It is like a big swirl of dust and I am unable to commit to any one idea.  Sometimes I just have to wait until the dust settles to see what remains.

A special thanks to Mitchy Austin for your review and your desire for more horse adventures.  Another episode about my horse journey was a strong contender for this week’s episode.  I have started to use the Trust Technique with them and have gotten some interesting results.  However, that will have to wait.  You see, my mother called yesterday and what she said and my reaction surprised me and has led to some thoughts I want to capture before they slip away into the sea of dust.

I was on the other line when my mother called and she left me a message.  As I tried to play it back it was muted at first.  It was running in the middle when I finally got the sound to play.  She said something about a death in the family.  I quickly hit the button to get it to play from the beginning.  And while I did that I noted my reaction.

Before I say how I reacted, take a moment to guess how you might react if you just heard that “there was a death in the family”.  Would you be worried or anxious?  Would a feeling of fear or apprehension arise?  Would you be thinking,  “Oh, no!”  Or would you be more neutral.  No reaction at all.  What would your automatic reaction be?

My immediate reaction was to wonder who it was.  I was actually excited that someone had finally died.  I knew it couldn’t be my mother – since she was the one calling.  That left my brother or my father.  Both likely candidates.  My dad is in his 80s and in and out of the hospital, so he was a likely candidate.  In fact, based on a conversation we had a couple years ago it seemed that he was ready to leave.  On the other hand, my brother has a serious medical issue which is being mismanaged.  The way he treats himself seems like a slow suicide to me.  I would not be surprised if he took an exit door himself.  In fact, I would be proud if he made such a decisive move as to choose a heart attack over the slow decline he was doing.

Am I weird?  How could I be so excited to imagine my family members dead.  This left me examining the multi-factorial aspects of my reaction.  First, I am not very attached to my family.  Attachment to them or what they do for me or give me would result in sadness if they died or fear that them might die and I would lose that.  What many people call “love” is actually some sort of attachment.  I am not sad or fearful because I don’t really get anything from my family.

Another aspect of my non-reaction is that I consider death a transition and not an ultimate end.  I also consider death a choice and not just something random.  Because of this perspective I am not really saddened by anyone’s physical death.  I also don’t have a lot of stories around death.  We’ll consider stories a little later when I talk about my mother’s reaction.

So am I above and beyond attachment?  Not at all.  Fear and anxiety at the loss is only one side of the attachment coin.  The other side is being excited by what the death will bring to me.  In this case, since I was experiencing excitement and not having a completely neutral reaction, I know that I was anticipating a gain.  When relative’s die sometimes we can be excited because we anticipate an inheritance.  This was not my situation.

I was actually feeling a little vindictive.

Every member of my family I have offered my assistance with their health and my offer was declined.  This is no big deal.  I respect their choices.  At least that is what I tell myself consciously.  Our automatic reactions give us a clue to what is really going on in our subconscious.  My excitement, indicates that I do have a little resentment that they didn’t take my advice.  Their death is proof positive that their ways didn’t work and I am happy that they failed.

That is a little bit of bitter poison.  Being happy when others fail is one of the 8 worldly thoughts.  And in my case, I have the version of being happy when people that have refused my help fail.  What would it take to change that?

Another aspect is that instead of being happy that they failed I am actually happy that they finally made a decision to end their lives.  I actually have this judgment towards people that say one thing, while they keep doing another thing.  In my brother’s case especially, the fact that he is killing himself slowly pisses me off.  What does that say about me?  It is possible that I am not actually happy he failed, but happy that he finally got 100% behind dying and just went and did it.  I am not talking about suicide here, I am talking about having a heart attack or something like that.  A kind of passive suicide.

On the other hand, I also love change and my excitement could come from the simple fact that a death represents change and offers me an opportunity to explore a new emotional climate.  In any case, since I am not sure what is making me slightly excited, we can see that my reaction is very subtle.  I can only catch it because my awareness is heightened and I am scrutinizing things.

I listened to the rest of my mother’s message and then gave her a call.  As it turned out, it was my cousin’s husband that died.  No one in my immediate family and I am not even sure I’ve met this person.  This reminded me my mother’s definition of family is broader than mine.  This person being a stranger to me created no reaction and I was also neutral enough to notice my mother’s reaction and start seeing the beliefs that would create such a reaction.

If we are experiencing grief or sadness we are focused on something that is not true.

My mother has lots of stories.

The first has to do with loss of family.  For her, there was something significant about this person being “family”.  It was a bigger deal that a family member died.

What have you made so significant about the concept of family?  Would you like to be free of that?  What would being free of that create for you?

Then it was a big deal for my mother that “he was so young”.  I am not surprised this would be a trigger.  Her son, my older brother died in his thirties after living a complete life, but somehow dying young is a tragedy to her regardless of how appropriate it is.  Indeed, this age thing seems to be a trigger for many people.  In fact, my daughter’s father refused to let me bring my daughter to my brother’s funeral because he died young.  He thought it would be too emotional gloomy for her.  As it turned out it was a light and festive event.  My brother had wanted a party, and it was just as he would have liked it.

What have you made so significant about age?

My mother was just beginning to settle into her stories when we talked.  She had called me first as soon as she heard.  It was as if she was setting herself up to carry a heavy weight.  Her energy was getting lower and I could imagine her thinking about all the negatives of the situation.  What other stories might she explore.

She might imagine the impact to the man’s children and wife.  Only focusing on the negative and not what this change might create for them.

There is a common view as death as negative.  How does it serve us to see it as a tragedy?

When I run into people that talk about death of someone close, I am always tempted to congratulate them or celebrate with them.  My automatic reaction is, “That’s great!”, which I stifle and then stumble to find something to say.  My default is, “How are you doing with that?”

If they tell me they are crying continuously, I am tempted to ask, “Would you like to change that?”

But I stifle that question as well, since many people believe that grief is natural and healthy.  Not many people have examined their emotions to find how unsubstantial they are.  Grief is not natural, but actually an unnatural state of mind based on some subconscious story.  It may be normal, but it doesn’t represent health.

I am tempted to say grief is not healthy, but actually it is.  It just doesn’t represent a healthy state.  Let’s look at an analogy.  When you get sick and have a cold you release all sorts of snots and fluids as your body expels the virus or bacteria.  Within the framework of a cold, the release of snot and an increase in temperature could be seen as a healthy reaction.  However, true health is not to be sick to begin with.  Similarly, grief with in the context of a loss is a good way to release pent up emotions.  However, to be able to be free of attachment that creates the loss in the first place is true mental health.

Whenever we are reacting to something, whether it be with glee or gloom it is a signal that we have a story underneath it all that is actually a lie.  Some people look at positive change as getting rid of all the negative lies and just keeping the positive ones.  However, once you are living the positive story, you may find that it is empty as well.  Many people that have it all talk about how they are still dissatisfied.  True peace and satisfaction comes when you are free from all the stories and abide in the neutral state.  It may sound kind of boring, but it really is the only state of being that is fulfilling.

This is not about good or bad, right or wrong it is about examining your life and choosing the next thing and creating peace and satisfaction.

If you are feeling stuck, or do not have the peace and joy you desire in your life I can offer you a change any thing now session.  Visit my website at to find out more.  Sessions for this podcast I do for free.  How does it get better than that?

If you have enjoyed this podcast take a moment to give it five stars and write me a review on iTunes.  That will help other people find the podcast.  You can also submit a comment on the positivechangewithdorena website and let me know what you liked or how the broadcast helped you.




Cheery Monday by  Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Voice Intro:

Dylan McClosky

Podcast:  Copyright 2018 Dorena Rode – All Rights Reserved






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