Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk


Monday, March 4, 2013

Delayed Daily Musing - March 3rd, 2013 - Dying - 臨終- Línzhōng

Dying - 臨終- Línzhōng

One wish-
to pass on
with dignity.
Must deal with what-if's;
debilitation or dementia
may cause the quality of life
to deteriorate drastically-
What is the point of no return?
Memory loss,
reduced mobility,
agonizing pain,
or phantom dread?
Will I end up lame,
becoming a burden 
upon family, friends, or the State
without the benefit of speaking 
on my own behalf.
To be stuck in a shell
incapable of communication,
assigned a label:
Not a person...
but once... I was?
Can there be existence
without consciousness?
Can life persist
in absence of a will?
I wonder this,

~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
(pics taken from

Leaden blankets weigh her down,
white hanks drape her leathery face.
Caught in the numbness of narrowing time.
Eyes blinded by gauze,
robotic sighs echo into her coma;
metallic hiss of breathing machine is the
strange violence of modern compassion.

~written by Deng Ming-Dao

How do we decide how to live, when those we care for are dying? We might be tempted to indulge, overwhelming our grief with thoughts for ourselves; our grief, sadness, and fear, as opposed to mourning the soon-to-be-departed. We should think of their feelings. We should consider how they might be feeling. We have a responsibility to be with them.

Do not let others die lonely. No matter how you might feel about your own life, act on their behalf and respect their departing wishes. If they reach out to you, as a way to cope with the passage, you do not need to give them flowery words on the afterlife. Merely sit with them, perhaps holding their hand on occasion, but do not seek to fill the emptiness with needless words. Silence is eloquence. Death may be near, but whatever life is left must be treated as a precious commodity.

The moments of life are not cheapened by death. Observe the world, and affirm the good. Do not seek out death; it waits for us all. Place value on each moment - every minute you have left is irreplaceable. How you use this time will determine your quality of life from here on; embrace that fact, and your life will never be ruined.