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Finding strength in difficult situations: Alexei Navalny

Hello again!

These past few days, I have been reflecting on the latest news regarding Alexei Navalny’s death. I am not one to discuss politics extensively, so this post won’t be a political one. Instead, I am here to bring a different perspective into how Navalny potentially viewed death and embraced life fully, dedicated to what he believed.

In the pursuit of justice and truth, Alexei Navalny's story serves as a powerful testament to the resilience of humans.

Near-death experience

His near-death experience, a result of a poisoning attempt, left him in a coma for several weeks. Guess what happened after? He decided to return to the place where he knew he might not be welcomed anymore and was willing to deal with the consequences.

I believe this near-death experience made him more determined than ever. Perhaps, it also helped him overcome one of the biggest fears of humans: death.

He probably woke up after several weeks of unconsciousness and realised there was nothing he was afraid of during that period. The worst that could happen is for him to feel (technically not really feeling) that way again.

While reflecting on his journey, I also realised there are elements that could be linked to a ‘Stoic’ way of living. His experience didn't deter him but rather fueled him with determination to continue his mission. This narrative echoes the stoic principles that encourage us to confront adversity head-on, finding strength and purpose in the face of life's challenges

He who fears death will never do anything worth of a man who is alive.

Seneca - Highlight the notion that the fear of death is often more daunting than death itself

As we contemplate Navalny's journey, we can draw inspiration from the Stoic philosophy that encourages us to view challenges not as obstacles but as opportunities for personal growth.

In our own lives, we may encounter difficulties that test our resilience and strength. Just as Navalny faced adversity with determination, we too can embrace challenges with a Stoic mindset.

Seeking closure

Now that Alexei is no longer here, another topic that has been headlining the news is about his death body.

His mother spent days trying to see his son’s body. Why? because it brings closure. It makes it real. She has finally been able to see it and now she is trying to fight against the odds to honour him the way the family thinks its appropriate.

One of the things that stuck with me during my End-of-Life Doula training was the importance of rituals. Specifically rituals involving a death body.

Family members can get together to help clean the body, as a final act of care. There are also the most known rituals such as funerals and memorials.

Personally, seeing my dad’s death body, although heartbreaking, was comforting in a way. It made me realise that the person I love was no longer really there.

During his funeral, we had an open casket and I would have not chosen any other way. I appreciate the meaning of this ritual. The closure it brought.

As direct cremation becomes increasingly popular in the Western world, it makes me wonder whether families that choose this avenue will find closure. As a society, we might need to find new ways to honour the ones who are gone whether we are religious or not.

Rituals do not have to be religious; they have to be meaningful.

As we navigate through almost the end of the week, let us reflect on the enduring wisdom of Stoicism.

Reflect: What did you learn from the last difficulty you faced?

Until next time!

Fernanda

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