The Process of Dying

Timing is everything. Predestined or not, everything happens at some specific time in space, including the inevitable death of every life. But whether there is a particular point in time which signifies the commencement of an irreversible decline of all bodily functions towards the sure end is as mysterious as it could be obvious in hindsight, perhaps, depending on the kinds of terminal illness concerned. When a tumor in the brain developed to such extent which began to inhibit ones conscious control of the body, that one fell down, became bed-ridden and had trouble swallowing, that's probably it - the point of no recovery.

Anyone having the unloved privilege to witness a painful process of bodily decline should be enlightened, that why it is such a spiteful curse to wish for somebody's suffering toward his life's end; and that the luckier person who ever lived could be the humble-living one who died an easy death rather than the one who led an affluent life but suffered an excruciating end.

Unfortunately, an easy death is something which could only be wished for, but may be hard to come by in reality. There is no easy way out for most people. Sooner or later, everyone has to confront death and, sadly, may have to suffer in one way or another. That's why it should be helpful to learn to suffer sooner than later. But when one starts to lose his sense and sensibility in the dying process, even the art of suffering cannot help anymore, when what remains is probably ones true self of character - one which is driven by pain, or by the urge to avert from pain, therefore, hardly a pretty one.

While one may aspire for, or even live in the illusion of, aging gracefully, there is absolutely nothing graceful about the process of dying, except perhaps for those high-wits monks who persist to cultivate for perpetual enlightenment towards the very end. 

Sadly, before having to experience and cope with the onset of ones own death, everyone surely has to witness the tormenting process of departure of a beloved one or two. But if there is any advice I could think of, it is thus:
1) Embrace it - accept it as being an inevitable part of life.
2) Treasure every remaining second of encounter, say all the affectionate things which come to mind with no reserve, and do every conceivable  thing for the sake of comfort for the dying.
3) Be thankful for the privilege of final intimacy - that one should appreciate life in an enlightened sense; that one should never take a living moment for granted anymore.
4) Hold grief from getting in. Learn the art of suffering.
5) Contemplate ones own death every now and then, but cultivate for a beautiful true character to remain for the last moment. 


John Cass said…
I thought your post was good, and I was reminded of a studs terkel book, the Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Reflections on Death.

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