Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Beautiful Death

An article in the Kyeongyang magazine by a mental health specialist tells the readers about a doctor who had a CT scan done on himself to discover half of his liver was covered with tumors that had metastasized to the lymph glands and to other areas, and he was surprised he was not conscious of any symptoms.

At the longest it was three months he said spitting out the words. He was a specialist in liver cancer and worked operating on liver patients for the last 30 years. He retired 5 years ago but still gave of his time to the hospitals attached to Medical Colleges in the country. He never deduced that in his own body cancer was growing.

Death is destiny. Once we become clearly conscious of our own death fear enters.This fear has helped to develop the medical sciences, given life to religion and faith, many maintain that even, art, culture and our whole worldly reality is tied to this fear of death.  Fear of death, paradoxically, has given birth to what makes life beautiful. The doctor had donated all the money earned over the years to the hospitals, he now took two hundred dollars and put it in his wallet.

Fear of death makes one attached to the material. Why this attachment since we will be leaving it all behind shortly? Materiality temporarily allows as to forget the anxiety of life and compensates for the emptiness felt. We all live as if earthly life will not end and yet we know our material things will be divided among others at the grave site.

Often we hear the five steps of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We don't have them necessarily in that order and often many are skipped but few come to the complete acceptance of the inevitability of death with peace. Strange, facing death we should be less concerned with what is going on but often the opposite is seen when death is seen as coming many become more obstinate and want to grasp what they are losing.

The doctor lived over six months and died peacefully in the arms of his wife. We all have to meet death but it is not all in the same way for the way we live is varied and different for all. Old age, sickness, pain. poverty, loneliness are steps in the process. One of the great desires of many is to die in their sleep.The way of death is not always just.

The less satisfactory our life is the more we try to amass the material, and with change we see obsession. Some become attached to an unorthodox faith life, trust only in skilled doctors and get lost in an imaginary world. Fear of death can make the years before death hell, and a hell like life makes for a hell like death.

According to some studies on a good death, honesty and transparency, cheeful relationships with others  an interest in the world around oneself: not to particular things but to the future of descendants,  family, spouse and enjoying time with them are all elements often present.

We begin dying right after birth. How do we fill up the life that we have been given? This  is our decision. A life well lived will be followed by a beautiful death.

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