Of death and regret

Lately my world has been connected more to materialistic or so to say physical world. There is time for meditation and sometimes more time is given to think about earthly things. What could be bigger hint to physical and earthly world than an unexpected opportunity to walk to the graveyard, to my grandpa´s grave together with my grandmother. I don’t feel myself bad in cemetery but then again I don’t tend to go there for an extra walk and I don’t visit folks´ graves often enough. I feel they are not there. Next to own grave, in their grave. They are elsewhere and going to the graveyard is a symbolical activity. Sometimes I think that it would be good not to have the graveyards. Not that we would live forever or that we wouldn´t die. Simply we could all like be blown into the wind so that the next generation would not have an obligation to take care of a piece of land and not feel guilty for not going there for some reason.  

I would like to be cremated. Then I´d ask the ash to be spread close to home as a fertilizer to some tree and the rest should be blown into the wind. When you want to think about me and remember me then light a candle and do so. I´d be more present then than in the graveyard killing time by being under the stone. No, don’t start calling 112, I have no plan to leave yet and this is not a farewell letter. Simply I have thought a lot about death. One of my first esoteric readings were the books by Carlos Castaneda and from there I remember the recommendation that one needs to become friends with death. We tend to forget that we are mortal. Even more than that we tend to forget that the death is natural part of life. Our great grandparents knew much better and on a deeper level what is death. People mostly died at home, the body was kept at home until burial, it was washed by relatives and dressed by them. Now we have all sorts of institutions for it and service providers. We see only beautiful result at a funeral. I believe that we should relearn to accept death and dying in its ugliness and in its beauty. Perhaps we should relearn to die well ourselves?

“The Tibetan Book of the Dead” is an enlightening reading. I´ve been flipping through the pages but have not gotten far. Perhaps because there is so much to think about already on some of the first pages that I have not had the time to think it all through. Especially enlightening for me was the description on how dying people are sent away to hospitals in the modern world. In the old times people died at home, being surrounded by close ones. Today we want to turn on a blind eye and out of big fear our close dying people end up alone mostly in hospitals or retirement homes. We then cry and are sad but we have not been there at a right moment to truly say goodbye to a person who is still alive. We say goodbye to the body. It’s easier this way.

Fear of death on the other hand has taken us so far that we don’t allow people to die. Science and medicine are making miracles. But are these miracles true miracles in a longer perspective? I know already for some time that our society is by now a world of weak ones as too often those who should leave for the other side are brought back to life by force. Where this choice would take us eventually?

Being at my grandpa´s grave an understanding hit me that he has been dead for almost ten years. This time has passed by fast and perhaps the biggest sign of this passing now is how old my grandmother has become. Everything else seems to be the same. And I understood that throughout these ten years I had carried great regret inside me. Grandpa is on the other side already for long time but the regret is still inside me. In this life my biggest regret and also a greatest lesson is my grandfather´s death. My grandpa was actually a simple man but at the same time he had extraordinary and strong personality. Unfortunately his body let him down too early and for the past 15 years he was quite homey. He was active in the garden, offered us excellent dishes in the kitchen, read a lot of books and enjoyed classical music. To be honest, hereby I have already tears in my eyes.

His passing came unexpectedly to us all. He had felt worse for couple of days but not so that he wanted to call for the ambulance. In this hour when grandmother finally came and said that grandpa is doing that bad that she called the ambulance, we went to his house. We lived in the same yard in another house.

Grandpa was in a bed in the bedroom. He had difficulties to breath. I was not able to stay honest this moment. I saw that he wanted to go. I saw that he is going. But I still said that hang on, the ambulance is on its way and everything will be alright. I hid my head under the sand as deep as possible. Now I know that actually I should have held his hand and said, its okey to go. To say how much he meant to us, how much we love him and how much we will miss him. To repeat that when he feels it’s time to go then he can go at peace. This is his choice. My big regret is that I didn’t have the courage to admit the presence of death, that I didn’t have enough courage to take my grandpa´s hand and say goodbye, that I didn’t have the courage to support him in this transfer.

And at the same time grandpa´s death is a biggest example to me. His determination not to allow to call for the ambulance stayed until the end. Finally he probably simply gave his permission that nobody would feel guilty. He left to the other side more or less at the same moment when the ambulance arrived. Resuscitation didn’t give results. Grandfather knew that when he allows the ambulance to be called a little earlier then he would have been taken to the hospital and he would have been perked up. But he didn’t want to be a prisoner in this by that time a broken body. His courage in the most decisive moment in his life has been an inspiration to me and a support when facing many difficult decisions that I have had later on. And I hope that when I have the time to go then I am able to be as brave and let go of life and I hope that the people around me are brave enough to let me go.

In conclusion I will say only this – don’t keep death under a bushel, don’t turn away. It’s only a part of a life cycle, part of what we have lost the knowledge in and that we need to learn to feel and accept again. When your life´s mission is to help others then you need to learn to be strong and supportive also in situations that you´d like to deny and distance yourself as fast as possible. I hope that I have found my strength and the next time I´m able to support the deceaser.

via Daily Prompt: Educate

If you would like to read more:

Time to celebrate! I got married – to myself!

Name of your path

* * *

Viimasel ajal on minu tee olnud seotud pigem materiaalse ehk füüsilise maailmaga. Eks ole oma aeg selleks, et mediteerida ja teinekord antakse rohkem aega maiste asjade peale mõtlemiseks.Mis oleks veel suurem vihje füüsilisele ja maisele maailmale kui ootamatult tekkinud võimalus jalutada koos vanaemaga surnuaeda, vanaisa hauale. Ma ei tunne ennast surnuaedades tavaliselt halvasti, samas ei kipu sinna ka ekstra jalutama minema ning ka omaste haual ei käi just üleliia tihti. Ma ei tunne, et nad oleksid seal. Oma haua juures, oma hauas. Nad on mujal ning surnuaias käimine on vaid sümboolne tegevus. Mõnikord mõtlen, et hea oleks, kui meil ei oleks surnuaedu. Mitte et me võiksime igavesti elada. Lihtsalt võiksime kõik justkui tuulde lennata, et järeltulevatel põlvedel ei jääks kohustust hoolitseda mingi maatüki eest ja et nad ei peaks tundma süümepiinu, kui sinna mingil põhjusel ei jõua.

Mina enda kohta soovin küll, et mind tuhastataks. Siis palun, et natuke seda tuhka saaks kodu juurde mõnele puule väetiseks ja ülejäänu lennutage tuulde. Kui tahate minu peale mõelda ja mind meenutada, siis süüdake küünal ja tehke seda. Olen siis ilmselt palju rohkem kohal kui surnuaias hauakivi all aega surnuks lüües. Ei, ärge hakake helistama 112, mul ei ole mingit plaani veel niipea lahkuda ja see siin ei ole hüvastijätukiri. Lihtsalt olen surma teemale palju mõelnud. Üks minu esimesi esoteerilisi lugemisi oli Carlos Castaneda raamatud ning sealt on siiani jäänud meelde soovitus, et oma surmaga tuleb sõbraks saada. Me kipume unustama, et oleme surelikud. Veelgi rohkem kipume unustama, et surm on loomulik elu osa. Meie vanavanemad teadsid palju paremini ja sügavamalt, mis surm on. Surdi enamasti kodus, surnukeha hoiti kuni hauda panekuni kodus, see pesti omaste poolt puhtaks ja pandi omaste poolt riidesse. Nüüd on meil selleks kõigeks omad asutused ja teenusepakkujad. Meie näeme vaid kaunist tulemust matustel. Ma leian, et peaksime taas õppima aktsepteerima surma ja suremist nii selle koleduses, kuid samas ka selle ilus. Võib-olla peaksime taas õppima ka ise hästi surema?

Valgustav lugemine on ka “Tiibeti surnute raamat”. Olen seda lehitsenud aastaid, aga ei ole väga kaugele jõudnud. Võib-olla sellepärast, et juba mõnel esimesel lehel on nii palju mõtlemisainet ning ei ole seda kõike veel jõudnud läbi mõelda. Ennekõike oli valgustuslik minu jaoks sealne kirjeldus, kuidas moodsas läänemaailmas surijad haiglatesse ära saadetakse. Vanasti surid inimesed kodus, ümbritsetud omastest. Tänapäeval tahame silmad kinni pigistada ning suurest hirmust on meie surijad enamasti üksi haiglas või vanadekodus. Me hiljem nutame ja oleme kurvad, aga ometi ei ole me kohal õigel hetkel, et jätta päriselt hüvasti veel elus oleva inimesega. Meie jätame hiljem hüvasti juba tühja kehaga, kestaga. Nii on lihtsam.

Surmahirm on meid viinud teisest küljest ka nii kaugele, et me ei lase inimestel surra. Teadus ja meditsiin teevad imesid. Aga kas need pikas perspektiivis vaadatuna on  ikka imed? Tean juba mõnda aega, et meie ühiskond on praeguseks hetkeks tegelikult nõrkade maailm, sest liiga tihti tuuakse väevõimuga elule tagasi need, kes peaksid teisele poole ära minema. Kuhu selline valik meid lõpuks välja viib?

Vanaisa haual olles tabas mind äkitsi arusaam, et ta on surnud juba pea kümme aastat. See aeg on läinud nii kiiresti ja võib-olla kõige suurem märk sellest aja möödumisest on hetkel see, kui vanaks on jäänud minu vanaema. Kõik muu oleks justkui veel sama. Ja sain aru, et kõik see kümme aastat olen ma endas kandnud suurt kahetsust. Vanaisa on juba nii pikalt teisel pool, aga minu kahetsus on endiselt alles. Selleks minu elu üheks suurimaks kahetsuseks ja ka suurimaks õppetunniks ongi vanaisa surm. Mu vanaisa oli tegelikult lihtne mees, aga samas oli ta väga erakordne ja tugev isiksus. Kahjuks vedas ta keha teda varakult alt ning viimased viisteist aastat oma elust oli ta üsna kodune. Toimetas aias, pakkus meile suurepäraseid roogi köögis, luges suurtes kogustes raamatuid ja nautis klassikalist muusikat. Olen aus, siin kohal on mul endal juba pisarad silmis.

Tema minek tuli meie kõigi jaoks ootamatult. Tal oli paar päeva olnud halvem, aga mitte nii, et oleks tahtnud kiirabi kutsuda. Sel tunnil, kui vanaema lõpuks tuli ja ütles, et vanaisal on nii halb, et ta kutsus kiirabi, läksime tahamajja. Meie ise elasime siis samas hoovis teises majas.

Vanaisa oli magamistoas voodil. Tal oli raske hingata. Mina ei suutnud sel hetkel ausaks jääda. Ma nägin, et tal on soov minna. Ma nägin, et ta läheb. Ja ikkagi ütlesin, et pea vastu, kiirabi kohe jõuab, kõik saab korda. Peitsin pea nii sügavale liiva alla kui vähegi suutsin. Nüüd tean, et tegelikult oleks tulnud tal käest kinni võtta ja öelda, et on OK ära minna. Öelda, kui palju ta meile tähendas, kui palju me teda armastame ja temast puudust tundma hakkame. Korrata veel, et kui ta tunneb, et on aeg minna, siis ta võib rahuliku südamega minna. See on tema valik. Minu suur kahetsus on see, et mul ei jätkunud julgust tunnistada surma kohalolekut, et mul ei jätkunud julgust võtta vanaisal käest kinni ja hüvasti jätta, et ei jätkunud julgust olla talle toeks selles suures üleminekus.

Ja samas on vanaisa surm mulle väga suureks eeskujuks. Tema otsusekindlus viivitada kiirabi kutsumisega püsis kuni lõpuni. Lõpus ilmselt andis ta loa lihtsalt selleks, et me ennast pärast kuidagi süüdi ei tunneks. Ta läks teisele poole ära üsna samal hetkel, kui kiirabi jõudis. Elustamine ei andnud tulemust. Vanaisa teadis, et kui ta laseb kiirabi kutsuda veidigi varem, siis viiakse ta haiglasse ja turgutatakse üles. Aga ta ei tahtnud enam olla selle, tolleks hetkeks üsna katkise keha vang. Tema julgus sellel elu ühel otsustavamal hetkel on olnud mulle inspiratsiooniks ja toeks mitmel raskel otsusel, mis endal teha on tulnud. Ja ma loodan, et kui on minu aeg minna, siis suudan olla sama vapper ning elust lahti lasta ja ma loodan, et need, kes on tol hetkel minu kõrval, on piisavalt mõistvad, et lasta mul minna.

Kokkuvõtteks ütlen vaid seda, et ärge hoidke surma vaka all, ärge pöörake pilku ära. Tegemist on vaid ühe osaga elutsüklist, osaga, mille kohta teadmised on kaotsi läinud ja mida peame taas tundma ning aktsepteerima õppima. Kui sinu elu ülesandeks on teisi aidata, siis tuleb õppida olema tugev ja toetav ka nendes olukordades, mida sooviksid vaid eitada ja kust sooviksid kiirelt eemale saada. Loodan, et mina olen oma tugevuse leidnud ning järgmisel korral suudan olla minejale toeks.

Kui soovid veel lugeda:

Time to celebrate! I got married – to myself!

Name of your path


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