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Embracing Reality

“I can bring you to the door, but you have to walk through.”

Jean-Paul Vadnais

Today we’re lucky enough to be able to quietly ignore most aspects of death — or at least, we have the option to. But is it better that way?

It wasn’t long ago that we couldn’t ignore death. We used to look after our dead and dying ourselves, within our communities. We didn’t have the option of hiring out that care and that work. It was part of our lives.

As we were able to hire people to do that work for us, we stopped doing it ourselves. As people started going to hospitals to die, we learned to shut our eyes and have someone else take it away. Death became this unknown, scary thing. No longer a normal part of life.

But we can’t avoid loss. It’s everywhere in life from divorce to losing your job, to pets passing away. And when those unfortunate events inevitably come, healing is about developing resilience by healthily embracing reality.

From my personal experience, embracing the reality of death means embracing all that comes with it. It isn’t all yellow flowers and sunshine and smiles. It’s about embracing that it’s hard, it can rip your heart out, it happens, and we can’t avoid it.

You don’t love somebody without there being a consequence that they’re no longer there to love. And if we can embrace all of that, it enriches our living lives as well.

I think it’s fair to say that people are generally uninterested or afraid of talking about death and dying, so when they’re faced with having to deal with it, they have very little knowledge about what to do or how it all works. They’re forced to learn quickly, at the worst possible time.

Right now there’s a movement of people trying to get other people to have these conversations.

More people are starting to learn how to deal with death. How to understand and be more comfortable with what’s going when you’re in the throes of it. More people are starting to learn the true value of ceremony and ritual in helping us through these times. 

If you want to start this important conversation, KORU can be your guide.

We offer workshops in-person and virtually, and would be happy to add you to our invite list and we can refer you to other trusted partners in our community and beyond. Call 604-324-8285 or email us at [email protected] or fill in our “Contact Us” page on our website.

Click here to read how KORU is operating through the COVID-19 Pandemic

“Open Door” photo courtesy of Arno Smit through Unsplash Photos


  • Horace Randall
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:25 am

    I strongly endorse facing this issue before you are under stress with the loss of a loved one. My wife lost a sister in a truck/bicycle accident…..she was 14 at the time and her sister 11.My wife and her parents never recovered from the loss and I realized very early on in our relationship when the time came for my wife to face the loss of one of her parents it was going to be a tough road ahead. I was her husband and naturally would be affected very deeply with the occurrence. My support would be vital. I felt I needed to prepare myself as best I could to face the inevitable. I was fortunate in that I considered death to be part of the life cycle…..that was a degree of solace. However I wanted to prepare myself as best I could to face the situation. Both father and mother were not in the best of health. I registered for a university course relative to death and dying……something my wife could not wrap her head around. This was the winter semester in 1988. If I had not gone thru that course I’m not sure how I would have survived. In September my mother in law was in hospital, had emergency surgery while my father in law was in the same hospital facing a leg amputation on a different floor. My wife and I waited at the hospital for hours and hours the day of the surgery and eventually late in the day we were told the surgery did not go well and she was in immediate danger. She was kept on life support for two days, but never survived. My wife was devastated and for days there was complete chaos. Thankfully the resources I had gathered during those evening classes helped me stay strong and cope beyond belief!

    • Ngaio Davis
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story. It is through courageous action and the willingness to share intimate stories, such as yours, that help all of us come to grips with the realities of life and death.
      Peace to you and yours,

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