Self Growth through Death

Death, the ultimate life coach. Hi, there. My name is Janis Underwood and below is a picture of me with my Grandpa back in 2014. The picture was taken at my grandparents’ home just eighteen days before he died. Though he was in excruciating pain, he still made me laugh with his quirky sense of humor.

My life profoundly changed after he died. Have you been touched by death? Listen to our most recent podcast here.

Opening Up to Death

While it was hard for the little granddaughter in me to watch the once strong and able-bodied man suffer, she still felt protected in his presence.

And while the little girl within was sad, the older, wiser part of me seemed more alive than ever.  It was this part of me that rose to the occasion and helped Grandpa transition.

I hardly knew her strength and calm, but she knew me. She comforted me because she knew his death only meant the end of his physical existence. She also knew how beautifully it would show me a new beginning.

When my grandfather died, I died, too. I agreed to die with him one sunny, windy afternoon. I vowed to let go of all I no longer needed because it was time for me to let go of the past and get on with living.

Listening in a Different Way 

My grandfather’s messages from the “other side” were absolutely life changing for me. I was fortunate to be in dialog with my grandfather during the last phase of his transition.

This gift of hearing what he had to say allowed me to actively walk beside him through and beyond his physical death experience. It became a shared death experience that taught me the truth about life’s gifts.

Still Processing 

As his two year anniversary draws near, I find myself understanding more and more about the experience. Little by little my conscious mind integrates the lessons death teaches, inasmuch as we are willing to acknowledge it as one of our greatest teachers. 

So far, here is what I’ve learned:

  • Death is just another word for change; there is life after death
  • We can communicate with our loved ones through feeling
  • Embracing death frees us from fear in daily life
  • It is never too late to become whole
  • Leaning into cycles of death and rebirth creates a happier life
  • We must face and embrace death (relationships, job, physical health, homes, etc.) to experience life fully

Finding Others 

Since my grandfather passed, I witnessed the unexpected passing of my Godfather and had the pleasure of sitting with a woman named Barbara who asked to become whole before she died. I’ve been blessed to feel the power of love and intention through their death transitions and am eternally grateful to be there at the end of their lives.

Because my grandfather’s passing was so life changing, I couldn’t help but seek out others with similar stories. These stories created the “Dying with Grandpa” podcast.

Live Your Truth 

I invite you to travel with myself and others as we take you into and through the death process so you may also know the truth:

You are love and love is all there is. Period.

It is with an open heart, (as open as I can get it right now), that I share my journey with you so you know where to start.

 To hear others’ stories about death and dying, listen to our podcast here.  


On January 25, 2017, I “testified” on stage to a full house as part of Testify Austin’s monthly story telling program. Click here to read “My Travels with the Dying.”

In October of 2017, the end of the letting go process I started with Grandpa completed. I left the rest of my life behind and completely started over with just one suitcase and one backpack…in Spain. Life is still unfolding…

© 2015-2018 Janis Underwood