“Twilight is upon me, and soon, night must fall. That is the way of things. The way of the Force.” Yoda
If you know someone close who is given weeks or months to live because of an illness like cancer the pain and helplessness you feel is like no other. Your view of life can be altered drastically. You will put on a brave face and carry on with your day. At times you will dare to imagine that the Doctors have it wrong but deep inside you know they are right. All of the sudden trivial concerns no longer seem to matter. Our desire is to spend us much time with our loved one as possible. We dread the day that we know will come.
While we are tearing up inside and inwardly grieving the very person we grieve will surprise us with their dignity and humor. They seem accept their fate more than we do. Rather than feel sorry for themselves they only regret that they cannot be here for us. They think only of others and apologize to their loved ones with tear felt sincerity as if their own mortality was somehow their fault.
“I promise you. I will even learn to stop people from dying.” – Anakin Skywalker
Death is not something we like to think about. When we are confronted by death and reminded of the impermanence and fragility of life we must also consider our own mortality. We know that we cannot live forever but put the thought of our physical demise out of our minds. Out ego needs a body and functioning brain to exist. The inner pilot, our higher self does not. Regardless we fear death and prefer to bury our head in the sand. We work hard at extending the time we have on this plane knowing full well that we can only cheat death for so long.
“Don’t behave as if you are destined to live forever. What’s fated hangs over you. As long as you live and while you can, become good now” – Marcus Aurelius
I have been privileged to be at the sacred moments of birth and death. Each of us is born into this world with a right to live and a right to die well. Being alive carries a precondition that life must some day end. We all come from the same place and we all meet the same fate. We belong to the Force and must ultimately return to it.
“Both Alexander the Great and his mule keeper were both brought to the same place by death” – Marcus Aurelius
Accepting the fate of others and accepting our own fate need not be morbid. The circle of life touches all living things. Death does not discriminate between the poor or the rich and powerful. All Emperors and mortal Gods die and eventually all they created and built withers to dust until the memory of them and all who knew them is utterly gone. In the end all of us go to the same end. Our fates are united.
“Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” – Marcus Aurelius
Time and choice is all we have. To regret the past, fear the future and neglect the present is a waste of life. To deny the natural cycle of life and death is to live in delusion.
We must only decide how to spend our days as long as we live. Life can be lived in a way that when you face the final day others may weep but you can rejoice a life well lived.
Our memory may not endure after we die but acts of love and kindness to others do extend well past our lives. The small things we do today do make a difference. Choose them well and live each moment.
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force.” – Yoda
Thank you for showing me how to live and how to face the end of life, dear Friend, patient Mentor and loving Father.