Sunday, February 15, 2009

Death and dying...

If "time" involves anything similar to a theme, then... the theme of this last earthly year has been all the imaginable subjects related to what I perceive as "death".

I understand, that it is the soul that matters and not the physical earthly body. I understand this, as well as I am capable of knowing and understanding any idea of great importance. Earthly life is impermanent. Earthly life is linear. Earthly life has a beginning and an end.

I understand that it is only when I pause... and meditate on this subject, that I truly remember the great significance of these understandings. As I walk through my earthly days and nights, I oh-so-easily forget what I have remembered and proceed to live as if the earthly body were permanent and immortal.

I was blessed with the earthly death of my father and my grandmother within the last 3 months. It is natural and understandable that everyone will not perceive the arrival of physical death as a "blessing". It is for me, a great blessing as I understand that if either one of them still fit here - they would still be here.

In my own personal dictionary, the fact that they no longer fit here, is perceived as a the completion of a cycle. Their death is perceived by me as a completion of some - if not all - of the lessons which they came here to work on - and this... is always a great accomplishment! I am thinking that the death of their own earthly body is for them a great blessing.

However... their death has also served as a great source of important lessons for me. I participated in so many different experiences that were related to their dying and their death, that I was somewhat shocked by the infinity of profound personal lessons available within.

The opportunities to think and to feel and to act and to not act were available for me on an almost daily basis. The opportunities to attempt objectivity regarding my own thoughts, feelings and actions served me well. The only real issue... or real challenge... related to all of these profound individual lessons, is that they were clearly my lessons to learn - and not the lessons of anyone else.

Understanding this and accepting this is easier written about - than achieved! As usual... I was plagued by the human desire to make my lessons - the lessons of others - and this... is a clear violation of the free will of others. I do understand this. I don't like it. I struggle with it... but, I do understand this.

As I watched my father's body die, I do think that I was somewhat privy to some of the soul-struggles he experienced. It was for me, a very painful and very difficult experience.
I realized... I was reminded... that there was very little that I could give this being to help him "face his own demons". When my time comes... I expect it will be no different.

I watched his desperate struggle to remain alive - as he hoped that doctors and drugs would be the answer. I hope and I pray that I will clearly remember the futility in this and that I will choose differently.

My father's dying and his physical death served as a catalyst for facing my own demons. With an earthly history of victimization, I found myself, once again, tolerating abuse and responding with the thoughts, feelings and behavior characteristic of a victim.

I think that it must be extremely difficult for anyone that has not suffered abuse to understand that an inner voice prompted me to make a choice. For some unexplainable reason... I clearly understood that I could indeed choose to remain the victim of my father's abuse - or - I could choose not to. The most difficult aspect of the choice, lies within the fact that the choice became available within the context of his earthly death. I came very close to characteristically choosing the path of victimhood,
very very close...

I found that I could not justify remaining his victim out of love, or external consideration, or empathy, or compassion. I felt sorely tempted to remain his victim - out of a feeling of pity, i.e. "my poor father is old and he is dying and I will probably only have to be victimized for a short period of time".

However... I also understood that a soul - any soul - struggling to learn - is not a pitiful being. A soul struggling to learn is a natural element in the universe - not something or someone to be pitied. My father did not deserve to be pitied - and in the same light - his daughter did not deserve to be abused.

Simple? not exactly...
for the choice, like all choices... this choice also generated a slew of peripheral outcomes within my biological family. These experiences, these thoughts, these choices, were once again... only my individual lessons. To expect anyone else to agree, or understand or accept any of it was not only futile - but it was was unbalanced thinking and unrealistic expectations.

It was only when a family member behaved in a judgmental and critical manner, that I felt motivated to attempt to explain my lessons and the reasoning behind my choices - not because I was feeling guilty or defensive - but rather because I was feeling so very "misunderstood", i.e. "poor poor me". This limiting feeling of self-pity and of being "misunderstood" was a lesson all of it's own.

With my father's death, his mother was left, once again, living alone. Before I felt I had the opportunity to really accept the complete experience of one death, I was confronted with the very real probability of an additional death.

Intuitively, I knew that my grandmother would die very very soon. She died exactly 5 weeks later.

Not one day passes that I do not think of my grandmother. I try so much not to feel hatred. I understand that hatred is one of the most limiting emotions we are capable of. But I acknowledge, that I do hate that she suffered so much in the last 5 weeks of her life.

Even though I realize that her own lessons obviously included all the experiences contained within those last 5 weeks - it still feels painful when I remember her suffering. I would have gladly given my own physical life - if my own death would have lessened her own suffering.

I did not pity my grandmother either. There was nothing about this strong and independent woman that inspired pity. I did love her - and I will always love her.

My grandmother taught me a lot about love.

My "Abuela" taught me many things that I value today and will always value. I learned as much from what I perceive as her "mistakes" as I learned from what I perceive as her "successes"!

The most profound blessing related to having her in my life - is that I did know - while she was physically present - that she was - one of my most cherished teachers!

I benefited from her presence and her involvement in my life while she was still physically here.

I think that one of the most important lessons she passed on for my consideration is that we humans have the capacity to "accept" others - even when those others may abuse us.

She felt pain and anger and outrage related to the abusive behavior of humans towards humans, and yet, she accepted this as a fact of life. Not as a fact to be justified or agreed with or supported - but as a fact that can be accepted as just that... one realistic and objective fact.

I know that she prayed to "her god" for patience and forgiveness every day. I think that her prayers were answered - as she apparently was able to accept those things which she knew she could not change.

My Abuela, also taught me a lot about the futility of accumulating or valuing all which is "material". Abuela lived a frugal and simple life. Through her actions - she demonstrated to me that she did not value the accumulation of money or other material possessions. She somehow knew... intuitively... that doctors and drugs were not the answer.

I think that living a long earthly life must include pros and cons just like any other long-lived opportunities that arise. It is, I think, reasonable to assume that she was able to learn a lot while she was here. I hope and I pray that she learned how much she meant to me.

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