In his book, “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying,” Sogyol Rinpoche speaks of how to work with someone who is dying. It’s a good book to read and re-read because life happens and so does dying and you may want to know how to handle both.
When my mother had cancer and was dying a wasting death from this horrible disease that eats away healthy cells, I remember the emotion of total helplessness. That emotion affected me so intensely that I never wanted to feel it again.
We have this thing about deep emotions. We tend to want to hide from feeling deep emotion and so we drink alcohol or take a drug or pop prescription pills to make us not feel anything or dull the experience.
Ok. For me that’s never worked. I’m not a masochist or anything like that. When I’ve felt deep emotion for some reason I’ve wanted to meet it head on to the point that in dealing with it, I intensify it. I’ve experimented with deep excruciating emotion by moving into it. It’s like sitting with the energy as in meditation, then letting your mind move into the depths of the emotion and expanding it and expanding it until it gets to a point where it dissipates and then blinks out. Sort of the concept of homeopathy. Like meets like. Sit with the pain until it heals itself.
Everything we meet in life teaches us something. Death is no different. Death is a great teacher of how to let go of someone and in letting go we learn to also let go of the circumstances surrounding that someone. Although my mom’s experience affected me and changed me and the anger motivated me to move into natural healing because what she went through with doctors and the established medical model pissed me off to the point of wanting to change it over 40 years ago. It did the same to a lot of people and you’re seeing the effects of that now with more natural medicine taking center stage.
Each and every person we meet is fighting some kind of battle, unless they’re enlightened and then that’s another story because that person is here to enlighten us if we allow it. But that’s another story.
Death. The finality meets us head on and we crash into it and we are damaged by it because if we’re not then we didn’t care about that person. But when we care we are scathed and damaged and grief is overwhelming and steels your soul.
So I am recommending you read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying so at least you can wrap yourself around hope and some useful concepts that will help make you feel less helpless. I wish I’d had it when my mom was dying all those years ago.
Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Tibetanbookoflivinganddying.