Confronting Mortality. ~ Taya Smythe

Via on Nov 9, 2012
Photo: essers

One of my friends is currently facing the death of his father.

Though his father has been sick for years now, the time has finally come for my friend to say a real last goodbye. I asked him how he was doing this evening, and he replied, “It’s interesting.” And I know exactly what he means.

As humans, we spend a lot of time dwelling on death: worrying about it, wondering what it’s really like, pondering an afterlife, speaking to God and surveying our current status (“Am I good enough? Am I living right? Am I happy?”). And then when death nears, it can first incur panic, but then comes a stark stillness.

When a loved one is passing, it is painful, yes. But it is still a two-sided coin. When the coin flips, all of a sudden we’re very aware of our deepest core. This awareness unfolds within us and gives us a very simple truth—though it is bittersweet for us humans as we are so rooted in our material attachments, external desires, etc.

The truth is: we’re okay.

Death is supposed to be so scary and heart-wrenching. And though at first we may experience these emotions, if we are honest with ourselves—letting go of anyone else’s expectations that we must stay sad and hold on to this grief—we know that the person who is leaving physical form is okay, that we who are staying in physical form are okay. We’re not really losing.

When my brother Ryan died a few years ago, I didn’t feel empty. There was a time when I felt literally sick that I could not talk to him in the same way, or hold him, but after some time, I realized I wasn’t empty of him.

It was just that the space I held for him in my heart evolved. That place feels different now, but it’s still his place.

He’s still here.

And as for the more severe effect of death confrontation—which is not the losing of the person, but the encounter with our own mortality—it also somewhat dissipates. This is part of the natural course of our lives.

It turns out that what’s more frightening than dying is not living while we have the chance.


A practitioner of yoga since the age of 16, Taya Smythe is a writer, photographer, teacher, student and lover who loves practicing yoga on and off the mat. She currently resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana, working as both a group and private instructor and the manager at Pranayoga School of Health. “I believe that what serves us is in front of us. I believe that we see fear get in the way. I believe bliss happens in embracing this very moment. Every day I am sharing this concept with others and with myself.” For more information about Taya, check out or follow her on Facebook.


Editor: Jayleigh Lewis

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4 Responses to “Confronting Mortality. ~ Taya Smythe”

  1. […] on Share this:FacebookTwitterTumblrGoogle +1PinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  2. "It turns out that what’s more frightening than dying is not living while we have the chance."

    Yes; absolutely. My poem, "The Dance" came out of thoughts such as these.

    Thank you.

  3. […] alone was scary enough, but I was also suddenly dealing with my own questions regarding mortality. What if death was all there was? What if there was nothing on the other side? There was the idea […]

  4. […] death, our own and those loved ones who have previously departed, would generate more energized, radiance-filled lives, the ones we were born to […]

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