Monday, July 18, 2011

When Days Are Numbered

Yes, it’s called samsara. Take a number, get in line, we could be here awhile. Some of us have a plan to get outta here early.

In just a period of two months, I come across three situations where I am told that so-and-so has only XX numbers of days to live.  The term that is used, and I learn that a hospital would describe it, is 'awaiting the end of life'.  In each situation, there is a voice of sadness.  There is a feeling of loss.  It brings the whole family shattered with uneasy feelings.

First, there was Ruth 'Roofie' Thomson.  Then, it was the mother of a close friend.  These two had recently passed on and May Their Souls Rest In Peace.  And, just two days ago, I have been told that another friend, Susan Ho is now at her Stage Four of cancer. Her doctors has given her notice of 'awaiting the end of life'.

Personally, when I am told of it, I feel rather uneasy.  I feel that the phrase or term is rather distasteful but yet 'awaiting the end of life' is exactly right and appropriate.  It is exactly an expected medical prognosis for a situation to happen for a prediction of a highly probable course. 

Perhaps, it has to do with my take on separation and on death where a permanent departure can no longer be avoided.  It evokes a feeling of grief.  It evokes my past experiences on the loss of loved ones. It saddens me to feel the pains inflicted into my friends. Of how they would be grieving, of how they would be adjusting their lives and the emptiness and the sorrowful feelings that shall follow with the days after that.

Admittedly, I used not too good at handling such a situation.  I could be very much affected when there was a broken human engagement; a departure.  I could be all bummed-out when someone passed on.  I felt that I had been robbed of an earthly unison in human relations.  I felt broken and sad and there was a creeping sorrow that tailed me for days.

I felt a sense of loss.  In fact, I can still feel such emotions these days but less 'traumatized'.

It has to do with the discomforts that follow thereon where life, for those of us left behind, with new adjustments that have to be made.  To learn to live life without our loved ones.  It is such a situation where now made me filled with the sense of realization of my own time and then to the emotions of those people that I will, eventually, leave behind.

Being one who has probably had fair share of losses in my life: the death of my parents, the death of my eldest sister, the death of my beloved companion with Ruby, the death of my nephew; I have come to accept a fairly healthy attitude to death and dying.  While initially I can be all bummed-out to grief, death provides me the lesson about grieving, letting go and moving on.

Yes, it is a reality that our days are numbered.  One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day.  This is a call that many of us would prefer not to think about.  To some, it is a taboo (and many would think it is just 'rude' and plain 'negative') to think that we should live lives everyday to prepare for death.  It actually surprises me when some of my friends would dismiss such a guaranteed thing in the big equation of life.

While it is true that we need to lead a life to enjoy and to live a fullest life, I feel that one should also go on with his or her life to live with absolute quality.  We have to follow our passion, to figure out what it is that we love to do and have courage to do that. There must always be a feeling of peace to accompany, to all our actions and thoughts.  There must always be an equation of balance and harmony, to all our deeds and relationships.  It is not about the quantity to what we can achieve but to the heart's attitude that counts.  Oscar Wilde wrote "Men die for what they want to be true".

But, what is the truth?  This is something that we, as an individual, should find for ourselves.  Our characters, our attitudes, our ways of life cover a wide array of concepts.  From the moment our feet touch the floor in the morning until our head hits the pillow, we leave with imprints.  Yes, imprints that last to those we will leave behind.  We just need to create the 'truth' to our legacy that we will, eventually and certainly, leave it one day.

How far should, or would, we go to prepare and undertake ourselves for that 'ultimate' when the plug to life is pulled off?  Can we, honestly, speak with remarkable candor about such end of life matters?  Realistically, such a situation has become much more complicated than we can think of.

Death is unavoidable.  Its time is uncertain.  Our only security is the strength of our practice.  Susan Ho, my friend who is now struggling with 'awaiting for end of life', makes me deep in reflection and remembering.  The thing that stands out clear is that death is simply a part of life.  It is just the natural progression of life.

Her situation reminds me, and hopefully to all her family and friends, to consider how we can prepare for death.  How we can consider our dying to benefit ourselves and others. 

As I begin to prepare for my death consciously, I feel I am preparing for a renewed sense of appreciation for all that is precious to me in my life.  I must learn not to postpone life and awaken to a deeper compassion and a richer, more meaningful existence.  That all the ordinary and simple events in my life must take on a deeper significance.

These two months have been a confronting journey for me.  I am being pushed into a territory that has brought up a heap of reminders about uncomfortable areas where I am yet to clean up in my life.  There are trashes in Reiki Sanctuary not sorted, affairs that still to put in order, responsibilities that been long delayed, words left unsaid and gratitude unexpressed. Perhaps, there are far more things which I cannot think right now and have conveniently omitted them.  Perhaps, there are far more things that I have taken for granted not knowing them now.

Susan has decided to spend her limited days to finish off some important personal things, to tour Japan and Australia, and as she said it "for the last time to close some chapters".  It is what that makes her happy that makes her life full and complete.  Giving an action, and voice, to such fundamental material represents one piece of unfinished business that is now filled with peace.

For what she feels important to finish, I am praying for her peace.  I am praying that she is filled with joy knowing that all her responsibilities are complete.  That she can move on with spirit of love, and be loved.

For me, I find solace in the fact that I have known Susan.  I am glad that this good and decent human being has played a part in my life.  I am very thankful that I have had given this opportunity to know her.  Friends like her are so few and far between.  It is important that she knows this.  It is important that she lives her last days knowing that she is loved.

.. and my prayers,

for her courage, 
for her strength,
for her family 
and for her friends

continue ..

    About Me

    I am a certified Master in Traditional USUI REIKI and KARUNA REIKI. I am also a certified practitioner in MAGNIFIED HEALING and INNER DANCE.

    I have been teaching and conducting spirituality, healing and energy works (including Breathing Techniques, Meditation and Spinal Qiqong) for more than two decades.

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