In a recent online interview I had, I came across a good question (*). That was the question:
“How do you continue a sentence beginning with to die?”
I said, “To die/ death exists” (**).
I believe that it is not a problem to complete a sentence beginning with to die, but it is difficult to live with the consequences of not thinking long and hard about how to live a life having death in its tissue.
A lot of bighearted people wishing to support dying people and their families are getting in contact with me. When I remember my condition a few years ago and as much as I could sense from the conservations I had with these people, I think the task of “ being supportive” could have a romanticized aspect. For example, I used to think that dying people would make wise speeches as they are about to die or people assume that they will share from the heart by sitting near the dying people and having the honour of holding their hands in the last few hours.
This is far from reality. In fact, spending time with dying people and their families could be defined as a rather dull procedure. You just sit there. There is not much you could do. The dying person either doesn’t want to talk or doesn’t have the physical energy to do so or both. A long silence pervades the environment.
However, it is up to you what to do with this silence like what we choose to do when the hard times of life fall upon us.
To illustrate, letting the silence between the dying person and me touch me, or my intention of getting fully involved in the experience there in as much awareness as possible.
What I try to do while the silence touches me is not removing my boredom miraculously, or not getting bored, or by no means making the place more fun. Letting the silence touches me is to be determined to look at what silence does to me.
I go back to the topic.
To die/ death exists.
What does it do to you? What does living knowing this do to you?
Death is an invitation to meditate on what creating meaning in life is. In this pandemic period we are getting through, it is an invitation reminding us our accepting it.
I have read an article dear Elif Ledron wrote about Beirut (***). In one part of the article, she said: “The relatives of the lost seventeen thousand people in the war (Lebanese Civil War) came together and tried to trace their loved ones. They went to an MP. He asked them who remembered who had killed whom.”
It is necessary to accept the invitation as to die/ death exists.