Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Death and Life

Once in every great while, I get into a very deep philosophical thinking, and it is usually triggered by a profound event. Recently, there has been a death in the family, and that has led me to thinking about life. The passing in Stu's family is a very sad one. It has led me to feeling guilty for bringing a baby into the world after the funeral is said and done because I will go back to focusing on my baby. The guilt makes very little sense to me yet it is there. With every death departing the world, it brings in a life, and it is as if life is making up for a death. This reminds me of a conversation between our classmates, and a nurse we had in our childbirth class from a while ago. 


She told us how she used to work in a nursing home for about a decade. With that job, she had experienced a lot of deaths, and dealing with grieving families. She often watched her patients slip away into an eternal sleep, and held hands of family members when she told them that their loved ones had passed away. After a decade, this nurse decided to take a different job at a maternity ward. There, she experienced helping to bring life into the world, and shared tears of joy with family members. Her colleague asked her if working on the maternity ward was much better than working in a nursing home because it was less sad and more joyful to bring babies into the world instead of watching people pass away. 

The nurse replied that it was not any different emotionally from working in a nursing home, and a maternity ward. Both had strong emotional impact on families. Both brought a lot of tears, and a sense of unity with families. To her, death and life were no different from each other. 


In a way, it made a perfect sense to me. The nurse saw death and life as beautiful. That was something not many people understood and embraced. It came across to me as pretty powerful that someone was able to see beyond the stereotypes of death. Death was often not to be embraced, but to be feared. Death had gotten a bad reputation when in reality, death was no different than life. 


Death and life are beautiful in their aspects. To take that very last breath was to embark on an unknown adventure. Let it be reincarnation, go to an afterlife of your belief-- Summerlands, Fields of Aaru, Elysium, World to Come, Heaven, Hades/Hell, Valhalla, or simply fade away into the stars above and become nothingness. 

To take that first breath of life, an adventure of lifetime is only beginning. A theologian, Alfred D. Souza, put it in eloquently about life: 

"For a long time, it seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one."  

Ever since my friend had once said to me that Life and Death were just on the different sides of the same coin, it became a part of my life philosophy because it made sense to me.To view death as a terrible or negative thing is to look at life in the same way. I certainly do not view life as a terrible thing even though we see on news almost daily about warfare, rapes, murders, shootings, or less than fortunate circumstances. We see people we care and love about going through struggles in their lives including ourselves. Life does have its ugly side. Just like Death. Also, Life does have a beautiful side....and just like Death does. 

Death helps us to take a step back and really see what we have in our life. Sometimes, it even promotes us to change what is unsatisfactory in our life. Death reminds us that we have people and pets we love and care about. This is why we weep and grieve for them when they are gone. Death sparks the feeling of being alive within ourselves. This is why some people live for adrenaline rush; it reminds them why they are living and what being alive is all about. This is why survivors of traumatic events, once they have come to term with what had happened, find intense beauty in life. Sometimes, when you hold the hand of person you love as he or she is dying; it changes how you feel about the world, yourself, and others. Without those reminders, life is not really being seen, felt, and understood. Without death, life is not truly rich. 


This is why when I named this blog, Every Little Beautiful Pieces, last summer. It is my daily dosage of reminder to really enjoy small things in my life. When I am having a bad day, I sit down and count my blessings. I remind myself that I am loved, I have a roof over my head, I am married to a wonderful man who treats me well, we are able to afford food and gas, we have vehicles, our pets are healthy and happy, plenty of friends who makes me smile even on my bad days, wonderful families, and becoming parents of a baby boy soon. On my good days, I soak into goodness and happiness and stay in the moment. I never let people I love and care about to leave without a hug/kiss and saying I love you. I challenge myself. I chase after my dreams even if they don't work out. I end up feeling good that I have tried instead of not trying at all. Life is just too short to let all that pass by and have regrets because of things you have not done. 

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what world needs is people have come alive." -Harold Whitman

1 comment :

  1. I truly believe in life BEFORE death.
    I think that how we view death is entirley dependent on how we view life. Our lives.
    great post.

    And they say pregnant ladies are supposed top have "pregnancy brain" -- pshaw! Still brilliant.