Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Bucket List


           Have you ever seen this movie? 

I’ve seen it quite a few times and each time it’s inspired me. 

            This movie, the Bucket List, is about two cancer patients who make up a list of things they would love to accomplish before they die, and set out together to make it happen. This story is about the journey into hell that death offers each and every one of us:  A Divine Comedy.  It’s about growing up and realizing what is most important in life – the people we love, the earth that nourishes us, and the wonders of our planet both natural and man-made. 

I’ve struggled with chronic illness (diagnosed) for the last 25 years.  During this time I’ve had surgeries, lost organs, died three times and discovered that life and death aren’t separate realities but actually two spinning ribbons within the same spiral.  There were moments where I wished to die; other instances where I feared it; and the rest of the time it’s as if death is just a looming shadow cocooning me. 

Nobody likes to suffer physically or emotionally; and nobody likes to become more and more dependent on others.  Illness strips us from illusions, life expectations and personal identity.  The only way it becomes an ally is when we make the choice to stand in courage and in faith.  Death is scary because it brings up so many questions.  What happens when we die? Is that the end or do we move on to some other kind of life?  Does it hurt etc?  What I found out was that if we sit with it every day it reveals itself as wings and it teaches us how to use them.  I believe that if we thought of death every day and made it an integrated part of ourselves (as it is)– we would be ready when our time would come and it would be as a moment of pure joy and gratitude.

In life everything takes time and effort whether it be committing to a relationship, starting a family, building a career, taking care of a home or a pet etc… Death takes work too.  It’s not just about life ending, it’s about leaving people behind, showing that we counted for something, and moving on to something else.  I once met a woman whose 14 year old son had committed suicide.  This woman was the most serene and profound individual I have ever come across.  She explained to a group of us who gathered together at a workshop how her son had taken the time to clean his room and even store his close in boxes before he died, so she wouldn’t have to do it after he was gone.  He left a note telling his mom that “he didn’t want her to pick up after him or to hurt because of his decision.’  He just needed her to know that it wasn’t about her:  About what she had failed to do or had failed to see.  It was about him and his own mortality and that even though she may not understand, he hoped that she would accept him in death the way she had always accepted him in life.  Grieving takes a whole other form when the people who have left us were the lucid authors of their own ending.

 

Food for thought.

5 comments:

Ally said...

Wow. Yeah. I need to be with this a while, but yeah.

Ally

jen said...

i imagine there's a big difference between sitting with death and acknowledging it every day, and thinking about death and dying every day.

Faithfully-Loving-Raven said...

I like this.. a lot.
I relate to what the boy chose to do. During the times I thought about ending my own life I too decided I was going to 'clean up' before I go. Death is a process too.
I feel we endure enough pain during life to outweigh any pain we may feel in death.

Thank you Okwaho.

Wheelkeeper said...

I find that a part of me wants to die and another part fears it. It is hard to imagine my death, and live with it, as Jen says... How do we really get in touch with the reality of it? As I am going through a major life transition and letting go of many things.... it feels like a death. It makes me realize how much we attach to and in death, we have to let go of everything... people, objects, pets, our bodies, our identities... everything. What is left is our pure essence. That is what I would like to be in touch with every day... my pure esence.

One of Many

Michelle said...

I was called to write on this post even though you wrote it in May it has helped me see alot about the sacrificial lamb post and how that fear of death or message of dieing now and regretting but that is shadow and maybe like you say there is a whole other flight taking place...all this talk of death makes me wonder what parts are dieing around me parts that im letting go of programming thoughts, to be replaced by stronger and more aware of concepts it makes me excited for this next stage I do not miss the old Me it looks so boring to me now then I think wow what a difference six months can make...Whats coming with the Blue Moon in Decmeber or maybe this was just all preparation for the even bigger changes yet to come...