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HONORING MY MOTHER | My opening farewell

My heart goes out to a friend who just recently lost their daughter after a long-drawn battle with cancer. While it is true that this dreaded disease has made kin out of us all, this frowned-upon commonality has likewise sprung a more positive bond which only affirms that, even during the darkest hours, we can all share not only grief but comfort in each other as well. As death is but a part of life, let it be stressed firmly that no one has ever lost to it. We merely answer to that eventuality and dutifully move on to the next.

As we are thus partners in this life journey, in the end, it will not matter how long we grieve because we will each endure and continue on with our own lives until we meet with our own fated departure. The cycle continues even as we go and then for others, life goes on.

One stoic friend has hit it right on the head when she said we begin to die the moment we are born. Hence the title. We begin our opening goodbyes the moment we set foot on the earth. But then, in his book, Advice on Dying, the Dalai Lama is even more clear. He said it is this notion of complete acceptance and surrender to the reality of dying which make up for a fruitful stay here on this plane. No fear, just a silent surrender.

May we realize that there is no time to waste,
Death being definite but the time of death indefinite.
What has gathered will separate and what has been accumulated
will be consumed with residue,
at the end of a rising comes descent, the finality of life is death.

Then on the event when we lose any of our children too, may we find solace in a poem penned by the sleeping prophet, Khalil Gibran. He wrote: “Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you… You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness. For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”


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