How to Deal with Life and Death

How to Deal with Life and Death
by Andrés McAlister

This article is about a recent experience I had and how coaching helped. Recently my brother-in-law died. I had just returned from Uruguay to the US after a long vacation with my family. A week in Washington, D.C. and I received a call from my son that my brother-in-law died. I called my travel agent and at 4 pm the same day I was at Reagan National airport starting my home trip to Uruguay hoping I would make in time to be with my brother and family at this very emotional time in our lives.

After booking flights that included two stops and three different planes I made it to Montevideo. I literally flew out of the plane and airport where my sister was waiting for me. She swiftly drove me to the Cementerio del Norte where family and friends had gathered for the ceremonies. My sister-in-law and one of my cousins saw me first and we embraced in a triple hug. A bit later my brother who was in the middle of an embrace himself saw me from the corner of his eye and we quickly walked towards each other to reconnect.

Needless to say all of this was very emotional. We walked together towards the casket and communicated in silence with our loving deceased. I transmitted a few loving thoughts and walked away in a very tender moment of closeness with my brother.

I had decided to stay for a few weeks to be with my brother and the rest of my family to help heal them and to heal myself from this totally unexpected death. It really puts things in perspective. We live our lives sometimes as if we are going to live forever, and in reality we can die in any second. We give priority to all things but the really important ones, such as spending time with ourselves and with our loved ones. We think death only happens to others. Life will surprise us. It certainly surprised me.

Our family has become much closer and have spent quality time with each other as individuals and as a group. I have connected with part of our family which were never very close before. Why don't we do this when we have all the time in the world? This is just a rhetorical question.

I have spent time in Montevideo without rushing to be busy like I often do when I visit. I have dealt with emotions I had pushed away and had suppressed deep inside of me. As I release emotions as a coach I am faced with deeper ones. Sometimes these emotions have been so strong I have had to stop on the street to go through them and regain my balance.

I believe my presence here in Uruguay has made a major difference in my brother, my family and certainly in me. I have been able to support my family, they have made me feel as an integral part of their close nucleus, and we have regained some of what we had lost for being so far away from each other for so long. I believe this experience will give us all the energy we need to live our separate lives in a much closer way.