Saturday, February 9, 2013

The death of a dear one and our response to it

Death is the biggest cause of insecurity and grief to us. I too am concerned about death and its effects on people. I am also curious to know what death is. I am going to write about death as I see it after experiencing the death of my mother two years ago.

She had cancer. We did not inform her about her disease as my papa did not have the courage and I did not believe in the doctors about their diagnosis. I still am very suspicious about what doctors say. Mother’s cancer spread to her lungs and the last two days she had increasing difficulty in breathing. Everybody believed that it was the end of her life, reluctantly I too believed it. And the last 2 days were terrible for her and for us. She was admitted in a hospital and she was sedated. I felt as if we were waiting for her to die which made me feel so bad. I searched everywhere for some consolation. I felt I would die. When she passed away, I had severe pain in my chest and I felt dizzy and I felt like falling unconscious. I somehow managed to hang on. The thoughts that gave me strength were that my papa needed me and that my mother always wanted me to get the best in the world and I imagined that her soul wanted me to not only carry on but also to excel in life and be happy in life. She wanted me to lead a good life and take care of my father.
My mom did not understand me well, but she always supported me and I was never afraid of her. I knew that she would always love me even if the whole world hated me. I was special to her. I sometimes argued with her for not understanding me and my thoughts. However, I was always sure of her support and love.  She was only a human and she had her failures also. When death approached her, I was devastated. I was not married. I did not have any job as I was trying to make sense of the world at that time by reading, thinking and experiencing. I want to share my thought on death, so that others who are dealing with death may get some strength to face it.
When a person has lived for nearly a century and has experienced as many things as possible, for that person it is usually not difficult to accept death. Some aged people even wait for death.  There are times when the society becomes so insensitive that it forces people to commit suicide.
If our loved one is dying, then we feel angry, sad, abandoned, lonely and confused.  People with high self confidence and self esteem often become depressed when their loved ones are about to die. Our attitude to life and death both matter in such a situation. We should accept that life is a phenomenon and we know very little about it. It is very easy to get angry with God, but we must realize that our knowledge and wisdom are very limited and there are so many things about ourselves that we don’t understand. Death cannot be the end. Death is only a transformation from one form of existence to another about which we cannot know because we are prisoners of our senses and we are destined to be humans and we can know only those things that humans need to know.

Hence, it is important to be humble and to believe that nature and God know better. We must trust God and nature and believe that they will do only those things which are good for us. Those things may seem to be unfair, but everything will turn out to be good if we continue to be good human beings. God will take care of our loved one in the other world. The concepts of sins and punishment are man made, which were made to scare people to stop them from doing bad things. I believe that in the other world, nothing is like what we see or feel here, it is totally different. Therefore, our concepts are meanigless there. God will do only good to our loved ones as he does to us.  We must emerge more noble and strong after every tribulation and our dead loved ones will also be helped by God to be happy where they are.  However, if we do bad things in this world the bad effects will be left for ever in this world to be experienced by us and our loved ones.
We are helpless when our loved ones are near death. However, we should not feel guilty that we are somehow responsible to save them from death. We should try our best to find ways to save them, but if everything fails we should not blame ourselves.
We should not give the care of our loved ones who are near death to experts. We should take control and as far as possible keep the experts away. We should be with them caring for them.
It is very important that we do not believe the words of doctors when it comes to the time left to live. There are so many instances when doctors predicted death within days and the patients went on to live for many years. The future is highly uncertain and nobody can predict what will happen in the future and doctors are no exception. Therefore, when we take care of our loved ones we should believe that the person will go on living and we should behave accordingly. It is foolish and fatal to accept that death is imminent just because doctors said so. Doctors are also humans and they depend on past experiences to predict the future. In life, our beliefs often come true. Therefore, we should believe the best and give confidence to our loved ones. We must stay with them and make them believe that we are always with them caring for them. They must also know that if they die we will continue to live on, helping each other.
The presence of our loved ones can give us consolation at such times. It was nice to see even my enemies at the time of my mother’s demise because that indicated a kind of bond between us. The loved ones can give us help and they can divert our attention to other things as well.
After our loved one has ceased to breath, some experts will say that the person is dead. However, there have been instances when people have again started to breath after some hours. Therefore, we must not cremate the body before it starts to decompose, which shows that the person is indeed dead.
We must share our grief with others and we should not suppress our need to cry. We must not become so emotional as to ignore our duties.  We must remember that our deceased ones want us to carry on with life. They do want us to remember them and pray for them. They would be devastated if they come to know that because of them we have stopped living. The dead relatives and friends are in other world about which we cannot know. I prefer to believe that they know what we do and what happen to us.  If we go on to live a happy and noble life, they will be proud of us. Of course, they would be happy if we acknowledge their contributions and pray for them.
I hope my experience and my views can help people who are dealing with serious illness and death in the family. I pray that God give them strength.

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