Its quite normal to hear people say that they don’t fear death. That death is a natural process in the cycle called life and that we need to learn to deal with it, the way we deal with everything else. I say that too. I might never complete this post. Before I click on ‘Submit’, something extra-ordinary could happen in the blink of an eye that it would only take seconds for me to come to a grinding halt. There is nothing like being prepared for death to come. I hear people saying that too. Maybe its about facing adversities one after another, which creates a sense of closure in you that you learn to embrace it. Okay. Embracing death was going a bit too far, but more like accepting that one day it will engulf you and make you cease.
My great grandmother (amma‘s grandmother, ammama‘s mom) died a month ago. She was 97 (I still think she was 98 and that she celebrated her 95th twice, but anyways!). She was an exceptional human being. In the sense that, she had none of what could be commonly called as the reasons for death. All her vital parameters were perfect, perfect vision (until not-so-long-ago she used to read the newspaper without her glasses. Later on, she lost interest in reading when the vision on her right eye started on a gradual decline. Nothing good to read was another factor too, possibly!), black hair (at 97, she had more black hair than my dad), impeccable memory (good enough to know the names of the children of her grand-kids, the in laws of her grand-kids). She only had a minor issue with her hearing, for which she was using a hearing aid.
What struck me the most was the fact that she was clearly aware of her dying moments. Its common to hear people dying. The most common next question would be to know how the particular person died, was he/she conscious and such related queries. I was not with her during her last moments, but from what I heard (and assuming this was no melodramatic attempt at getting sympathy. Yes, families these days do these and much more. Qualifies for another post, some other time), there were tears in her eyes. She was struggling for breath for the last 10-15 minutes and for a conscious person, is quite an obvious sign that you may not make it to the other side from here on. Hearing this to grave detail actually got me thinking as to what were the possible things she could have been thinking of! Was she thinking about her children/ (great) grandchildren? Was she thinking on the things she hadn’t accomplished in her 97 years (wouldn’t be much, but still is a very valid thought coming in)? Was she flooded by memories of the life gone by? That last one, is an obvious first choice when I wonder as to the reasons behind those tears. She has been an exceptional pillar of strength – seen her own kids die tragic deaths (she had 11 kids, only 7 are alive at the moment), seen the wars, spent a lot of years in Ceylon separated from her children for reasons which were the trend during then amongst others. And despite all this, at that vital moment, tears sure did trickle down. And within minutes, she had left us all.
It actually seems scary and intimidating, to be aware of your dying moments. Now sample this: Recently, Hugo Chavez expired. The world needs no introduction to him, yet for the sake of this post, will profile him in brief. He was one of the most fearless, revolutionary human beings I have come across and I have been simply awed by the kind of things he had accomplished in his motherland. He stood up the forces of the world, fought for what he thought was right and stood firm by it. Most people wouldn’t be determined to his standards. He even showed a brave face to the world when he had been diagnosed with cancer. For the last decade and a half, he has been the messiah for Venezuela (who are still finding it extremely difficult to come to terms with his demise. A bit like how North Korea after the Kim-Jong-Il era). He has spoken openly about death staring on his face and as to how fearless he was, about it. Yet when the final moment of reckoning came by, all the much spoken about timidness and bravery had melted down. ” I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die..” were his last words. It wouldn’t be too hard to guess what were the reasons for his supposed statement, at his death bed. It is nevertheless an eye-opener as to how much people value life, despite not openly acknowledging it.
And now I wonder how people with suicidal tendencies tend to cross the line and finally make it happen!? Intriguing.