Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just Words

I couldn't sleep well last night. My nose felt blocked and I could breathe properly. I attributed it to the fact that I missed applying my prescribed nasal spray that morning. When he wrote the prescription, the doctor warned me seriously - that I will have to apply it every day, for a whole month; that I mustn't skip, nor stop, even if I thought I felt better. But that was the morning of the funeral. It was not that I purposely forgot about my nasal spray. It was the morning of the funeral.

Being the expected doesn't make it easier to accept, and definitely doesn't make it alright to be. In the end, it's just words. Words uttered because of their propriety at the time, words said because someone needed to speak, words said because someone was required to speak. They mostly became white noise. Already being acquainted with the Buddhism teaching of the impermanence of life and everything material in life, one would imagine, perhaps even expect in practice, the relative ease of letting go. It suffices to say that it wouldn't be without effort to convince oneself that it doesn't matter. Nothing is permanent. I know that. I think about it a lot. I think about once reading about why William Saroyan begun writing. He said that if he wrote something, that thing in itself would be itself, and would probably be itself forever, or "for what passes as forever". It would be a piece of him that would be, long after he himself were gone. Words. I would agree that, as paintings, sculptures, musical pieces - they are as permanent as livings things will never be. Even more so as the means and ease of duplication and dissemination are as they are now. Ever been told at work to always send wholesome words of gratitude and praise through emails, and harsh ones of reprimand or complaint through phone calls? In the end, we are all remembered, if we would indeed be remembered, by the words we have written. I do suppose so. I do not know why it matters at all - or perhaps it doesn't. Perhaps it is arrogant, self-serving ego, to want to be remembered. Or perhaps the fear of being forgotten is one as real as the fear of heights. Perhaps it is the desire to want to always remember a loved one gone, which instilled a fear of the unreliability of the human memory, leading to the presumption that those gone would fear they would be forgotten. Perhaps most are, in fact, simply indifferent. As of this point the reader may be wondering where I am heading with this post. Nowhere. The mind is overwhelmed and tired. I started writing this piece without ever meaning it to be understood. Recent predicaments had put me in such a mood.

I remembered to apply my nasal spray this morning. Perhaps I will be able to rest better tonight.


Jyan Chin said...

Saw the emergency leave sign at the lab and decided to check your blog to see if there was anything. Sorry for your loss, although I'm not sure who it was...

But if it is your own fears of being forgotten, your own impermanence in this realm or wondering if there's anyone who cares about your well-being here and after, why not give Christianity a shot? I'm sure Ian Chai's more than eager to share with you about the love of Christ for you :D

Anonymous said...

It is hard to deal with death/grief ... as some people will said... and from Scrubs it has 5 stages of dealing with grief(K├╝bler-Ross model):
1) Denial:

Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death. [1]

Example - "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."

2) Anger:
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy. [1]

Example - "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"

3) Bargaining:

The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the person is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..." [1]

Example - "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."

4) Depression:
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect themself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer an individual up that is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed. [1]

Example - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"

5) Acceptance:

This final stage comes with peace and understanding of the death that is approaching. Generally, the person in the fifth stage will want to be left alone. Additionally, feelings and physical pain may be non-existent. This stage has also been described as the end of the dying struggle. [1]

Example - "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."

Taken from :