Do days sometimes just blur together into a big grey mess? I was looking at my niece’s note on Facebook, her feeling of juggling so many colorful balls at once while riding a unicycle and the knowledge of how fragile the balance is, how easily all the motions become uncontrollable and all the things we thought we were managing become unmanageable. None of this life seems to respond to our desperate desire for balance and control. We all talk about it, quoting phrases like “just roll with the punches”; “don’t sweat the small stuff”; “when one door closes, another opens”; “just let go”; and my personal favorite: “get your act together”! This seems to be my self-talk when things look like they are dissolving into a gelatinous mess. (As though I personally can make life a perfectly molded aspic with the right design, color, flavor and finish!)
I came across this quote recently; for some people who don’t get to observe the dying process on an almost daily basis, they may think it has some merit. “Death is an inevitable cycle. But sickness before death is a symptom of resistance. Most people think they’ve got to get sick to die. But, you could be like the cat who chooses to get run over. Or, you could just lie down in your bed happily one night, so content and thoughtless, wanting nothing in this physical world; and just reemerge into Pure Positive Energy… You can play it out any way you choose.” (Abraham-Hicks publications)
Wow, I said to myself, and you thought YOU had control issues.
We are ultimately NOT SO in control of our dying as we come to the end of our existence. (Perhaps we possess the power to control our response to the uncontrollable.) Many wise people have made reference to this ability of ours as human beings in the midst of disasters great and small, to control our response to life. But in charge of how it all ends? I don’t think so. I just recently was a witness to the unbearable unhappiness of a man who was losing control of his decision making ability along with his strength to get out of bed, and the perplexity and confusion as he entered his last 3 days of living were beyond the ability of himself or the medications or his medical team or his family’s love and concern, to manage. He was not the first, nor will he likely be the last, patient that I frantically try to keep on top of the wall, but like Humpty Dumpty, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men….some things cannot be put together again.
Another very sentient and peaceful patient who was awaiting her death, knowing it was close yet unable to hasten the timing, told me how tired she was, and how much she wanted this to be over. (She really wanted to lay down in her bed happily and not wake up the next day.) I have heard this many times, in many ways. Do we think we can actually control life and ultimately our dying, or is it one of the most profound yet simple truths of our existence? … that we are not in charge. Yet, I could argue, those times that someone absolutely willed themselves to go, in the inexplicable way that a dying person says a few phenomenal last words, or a long-gone relative arrives at the bedside to hold a hand, just as the last breathes are taken. These things I cannot explain. (Oh, sweet mystery of life!) I am forever awed by these life and death moments, and all our moments leading up to this, the right now of our existence, not for me to control, but to respond to… To live this life fully, to the last.