This week the activities of my profession included attending the death of a 5 year old little girl, helping her parents gently wrap her body in a blanket, and hugging them tight while her body was removed from their home.

The most common thing I am asked about my work is “How do you do it?”

You would be right in assuming that it can be heart wrenching and filled with grief.

But here is what I witnessed this week: I saw firsthand the depths of what the human spirit can endure. I watched these parents not break but instead stretch to the capacity to take in what most people will never come close to even thinking about taking in. I saw them do that for their daughter, for each other, and for their other healthy child. And as they stretched, so did I.  I am changed by the people who let me stand by them during the most tender moments of their lives.  I am stretched in my capacity to be with suffering and in my ability to see the always present peace.

Besides being an honor that I cannot adequately express in words, these moments, the ones that sound awful and horrible, are the ones that leave an imprint on my soul and fill me with a knowing of the truth — that we are not our bodies.  I am never more connected to the Spirit of all that is than in these moments.  Along with the sharp pain, grief and despair comes an overwhelming sense of oneness and LIGHT.

We all have special talents and gifts. One of mine happens to be serving as a conduit of peace in the midst of tragedy.  In return for answering this calling, I am gifted with moments of profound grace. I grow, I am transformed, and I get glimpses at what it means to transcend the suffering of this world.

So here’s my response to the how-do-you-do-it question:
How could I not???

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