“Am I Dying…?”

This question was asked to me by my uncle who is suffering from lung cancer that has spread to his brain. He has been given days to live.

I did not know what to say. Should I tell him what I have heard? Should I try to change the subject? Should I lie? I froze.

I could have used logic and say “We are all going to die…” Or I could have minimized it and said “Don’t worry… you are fine…” Or perhaps I could have denied it and say “No, you are not .” Others would have probably used religion by talking about God and the “plan of salvation.” Would this be ok? Do I have the authority to talk to a dying person about what to do to go to heaven, when I have my own faults?  My own doubts?

Death is such an awful thing to accept.  It is difficult to finally face the reality that one day a loved one and all of us are going to cease to exist on this earth.

Cancer is a monster.  It is a way for the cells to replicate faster than it can get rid of, ultimately killing the whole body. It is a way for the body to slowly commit suicide.  Scary.  If I had a completely objective mind, the thought of cancer would be simply a medical condition that just happens. But since I have feelings, goals, intentions, wills, and hopes, thinking about this makes be very uncomfortable.

Is it possible to accept death without any fear?  I have learned that we all have a fear of death from birth.  As babies we cry when hungry, cold, bored, or in pain.  All of these experiences, if not taken care of, will ultimately lead to death.  When we are adolescents, we crave for acceptance and identity, something that will lead to feeling abandonment, isolation , and ultimately death if not addressed.  As adults, we want to marry, earn a career, have possessions, and have a purpose in life,  which will bring us to depression and anxiety if not accomplished because it means that we will be closer to having or being nothing, which is related to death.

If we are going to die anyways, why do we fear is so much?  It happens to everybody.  Why do we always try to ignore it and pretend it is not going to happen?   Is it the fear of the unknown?  Should we learn to accept it as we learn to accept failures, discomfort and pain?  Analyzing about why we fear death does not help me to alleviate the fear.

We have the concept of eternity.  We long to live forever.  Does this mean that we can actually live forever?

I don’t have the answers.  I am not sure if anyone does.  All I know is that one day we will all have to confront our end.  I hope that before that happens, I will be able to do what I enjoy the most and gives me purpose in life:  spend time with my children, paint, go to the beach, learn to play the guitar, visit other countries like Italy and Japan, and much more.  Today is the day to do these things.

However,  I also try to remind myself that I don’t want to be here simply to meet my own selfish desires.  I want to also be other people’s blessings.  I want to help others feel loved and important.  I should not only strive for the things I want for myself.  I want to also be part of a whole.

I recently read the quote “To be happy is not to have what I want.. but to want what I have”.  Great words of inspiration!   Being content with what I already have should be my life’s purpose.  That is why I also long for simplicity.

Maybe being content with my current life will help me to accept death more.  Maybe being happy with what I have accomplished and how I have blessed others should give me peace of mind.  Perhaps wanting to continue to help others in need should be my ongoing journey until it all ends.  Maybe death is like graduation.  A stage in life where I look back and acknowledge my losses and triumphs, always thinking that it is all about helping my fellow human beings.

What did I actually say to my uncle you may be asking?  I looked at those big green eyes staring at me…. thought for a few seconds and said “I don’t know for sure… all I know is that you are still here with us today…you have accomplished a lot in your life…  and we are happy to have you right now…. because we love you.”

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About Noel

I am a person who has realized that the teachings of Jesus are centralized in the genuine care and service of others. I have evolved from fundamentalism to a moderate spiritual approach. I am a reflecting person who has grown to not fear doubt but to embrace it as a means to growth and increasing closeness to God. View all posts by Noel

12 responses to ““Am I Dying…?”

  • duanetoops

    Beautiful, the potentiality of the present, the Eschaton of the everyday. Well done.

  • nadinemarie33

    Oh Noel, those are beautiful words! I couldn’t think of any other way to put it more aptly. It isn’t easy being around the dying, bless your heart for being so inspired and guided! Much blessings and Love & Light!!! Nadine Marie

  • Marie Alesbury

    Hi noel! I love this post…so beautifully written. You are right none of us truly have the answers and i sometimes wonder that perhaps we aren’t suppose to know right now otherwise surely we would. I dedicated a chapter to fear and fear of dying in my book as most people don’t even realise that they have a very real fear of dying at heir very core so what you have written about really resonates with me. I have found that when you look this fear and other fears straight in the eyes and really question it and become curious , it does disipate somewhat. The fear of fear itself is what stops people from examining their thoughts, limiting beliefs and ultimately fear that holds them back in life…I love that you have chosen to write about this…it is a you say a very real part of our lives
    Again, beautiful words.
    http://www.awakentoyourheart.wordpress.com

  • lulu

    Good answer. Your uncle may not know when or if he is going to die, but I suspect he knows what we all do…death is inevitable which is why we must make the best of every day. What is sad is that sometimes it has to be such a dreadful process.

  • Noel

    Thank you everyone for commenting…. today was the day. He was a veteran, a strong person.

  • Gina's Professions for PEACE

    What an incredibly beautiful post. I am so thankful that you found my wee blog, that I could easily find you as well. Your writing is profound and honest and I am happy to Follow and learn more. Thank you for sharing of yourself here. With warm gratitude, Gina

  • influenceversuscontrol

    Hello Noel. I believe that what you said to your Uncle was inspired! It is best to appreciate what we have when we have it.

  • Larry

    Hmm… interesting. For some reason I am not scared of death. I believe that it is actually a wonderful thing to look forward to as with it comes lack of pain and suffering etc. In fact, in a way, atheists do believe in heaven in that we believe in a total lack of pain & suffering when we die. Although of course, it’s not a conscious thing that we can be grateful for at the time :p a very thought-provoking post though; and that was an absolutely brilliant thing to say to your uncle!

  • amracu871012

    Hi Noel,

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your Uncle to cancer. And I sincerely hope you are doing well. Often times, the best thing is to be compassionate, honest, and genuine; you accomplished that rather eloquently. What you said to your Uncle could not have been a more honest, genuine and heartfelt response.

    Beautiful words for a beautiful life.

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