Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Death & Dying

This is a bloody depressing post today, read at your own state of mind. For those interested I was in a good mood while writing this, go figure.

You have no control over your birth, but you can influence your death. 

Death is a universal shared fate.  It is the only thing in life that we can have mastery over.  Mastery seems like an odd choice of words. The unknown can stop our life at any moment, nonetheless, it's the wakeful life that we can have supreme guidance over. We are given a lifetime to get good at dying.
From every thought, action, reaction, every morsel of food we digest to how we move our body all impact the destiny of the unavoidable. Every breath and each heartbeat brings us closer to the eternal. Let us not waste life.

Do not give up on being human. This is the lesson learned.  This is the reoccurring thought that I live with. If I ever do get around to writing a book I think I would call it “Do Not Give Up On Being Human: The Sequel”. Much has been shared with me this year and the subject of living one's life needs to be pointed out to all reading. 

Collectively it looks as though living-a-life has been forgotten about or maybe it's just too much work.  We exist, sustained on the generation before us.  This (our) generation has bred disease. With all our technology the only thing that we will leave for the next generation is disease, plastic, debt and a raped planet. (Bloody depressing, I warned you.)

When you live with a disease the thought of dying looms everpresent. At times when the illness is stronger than the body, I lie in bed and think about how I will die.

Is this how I will lose my life? Lying in this bed for days on end, fatigued, short of breath, body full of torment, embarrassed to be seen, guilty for the pain that I see in the eyes of my loved ones?

Odd that the inhabitants of the world have division with each other.  When in the end we all share the soil.  Dust to dust, raise up into the clouds reincarnated as rain to fall back down to the soil.

At dark times I think what  my funeral may be like.  Family staring down on my corpse lying in a pine box. I hope they dress me in comfortable clothes. I do not want to be in the afterlife wearing a suit and tie.  T-shirt, loose pants and barefoot is how I wish to walk into the Promise Land. I can hear the mourner's voices peering down at me: he is no longer in pain, he is in a better place, he tried so hard, he is at peace.

Wrap my body in a sackcloth and lower me into the ground, place me under a tree. There is no better feeling than the comfort that the shade of a tree provides, whatever the temperature is I am always comfortable under the shade of a tree.  No embalming, especially no embalming fluid to line the inside of me. If you must preserve me fill me up with Scotch, coffee or red wine do it with something I love.  I have spent my life trying to keep my body clean of chemicals and toxins; do not fill me up with the poisons that I have spent a lifetime avoiding. No cemetery, no tombstone...let my decay feed the Earth. Compost is what I want to be.

Why is it that we can not place effort into our dying? It is the conceivable-unconceivable thought we all must come to terms with. 

Do not give up on being human...this year I was given intimate knowledge of rebirth without the need for the passing of my soul. A living death; I exhaled out my last breath and inhaled new life into the same body. A metamorphosis of sort.

The days since have been a life lead with the purpose of dying well. To remain alive on top of the soil with no regrets, enjoying the shade of the tree.

I think about the stories that will be shared with my daughter on my passing about how her Dad lived life, pushing himself in body, mind and spirit.  I can live with that being my legacy.  I feel as if I have done something purposefully with my life.  You the reader, the sharer of your stories with me have told me so.

Be alive; the body is meant to be in a state of creation and evolution at all times.  Take delight in the destination of dying well.  Die fully present with a smile of grace on your face.  This is how I will go out, with a smile of grace on my face. I will walk through the pearly gates of Heaven high-fiving Jesus as I walk by.

Do not give up on what it means to be human. From a person who thinks about death I have learned to live life. 

Life: nothing special, only a gift given to all...do not squander this gift for as of tonight you have one less day to live.

Until then, I’ll wait and listen for the silence to come.