Springingtiger's Blog


Talking Of The End
March 11, 2013, 17:56
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Today I am thinking of a friend who faces the impending demise of his mother. They say a boy does not grow up until his mother dies, but I think it’s a high price for maturity. When my father died the poem which best expressed my feelings, and the the raw pain of my feelings was Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle” because the loss of a loved one hurts.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
(Dylan Thomas)


One might suppose a believer in reincarnation, such as I, would not feel pain in separation. However, although we believe that which is eternal continues, the fact is that the person we love is gone or going. My father who in this life filled the world as Thomas Alexander Patton is no more and there will never be another Thomas Alexander Patton. In whatever life he lives he will be different, even were I to recognise him he would not occur for me as he was; this is as it should be, for we each have to move on to new lessons and new adventures. I know a young girl who died some years ago who was quickly born into the same family, but he has no recollection of who she was and is happily doing the things he never could as a girl because of her peculiar circumstances. We do not as a rule know who we were or who we will be, the trick is to fully be who we are.

For many of us there comes a time when, having lived, we know it’s time for us to die. Last year Neelam’s grandmother decided it was time to go, but when she told her children her husband had come for her, they told her to tell him to go away. As she lay, trying to slip away peacefully, her children were calling their siblings and her grandchildren; again and again she was interrupted with the instruction, “talk to so and so on Skype”, “give so and so a wave”. In the end she gave up and postponed her departure for some months; by the time she did go her children were more ready to accept her decision. At the moment of her final departure a sunbeam illumined her hospital room which occurred to some as a miracle, even more so when I pointed out that the positioning of the room made it impossible for the Sun to shine onto the bed.

Of course, what cannot be denied, even by atheists, is, that as long as we remember them, our loved ones live on in our hearts, or at least our memories. When my cat Smudge died I planted a holly bush on his grave, it flourishes. We are all part of this universe and when we pass we return our elements to the earth; some may give their organs so that others can live, some may further medical science, others fertilise the earth and some have their bodies reduced to ash, but nothing is lost. We are all part of the One, both physically and spiritually, are they ever separate? We are nature, we live out our seasons like all of nature, and in due season we die, let our loved ones harvest from our passing what fruit they may.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sow; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3)

There is little comfort that can be given in bereavement, but experience shows that the pain does pass. In time the pain is often replaced by a strange wistful joy and gratitude that arises from their having been in one’s life. All I can say to anyone experiencing the pain of loss is that nothing is forever, nor is it ever as it seems, give it time. The sun will rise tomorrow and the world will turn, this is as it should be, and even this will not last for ever, and this too is as it should be.

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