Last week I was driving to an appointment. I was listening to something on the radio that triggered me to emphatically say out loud “Darn it Jim!!!!”. At first I thought it was anger, yet as I focused on this statement I realized it was not anger. It felt more like frustration. As I parked for my appointment I decided to take a few moments and explore this feeling.
What I found frustrating was that Jim had reached a point in his life, on this planet, where he became accepting of his impermanence here and I do not have that understanding. A few days before he died he told me “whatever happens, I am ready for it”. If he got better he would be delighted yet if he got sicker and died he was OK with that as well. For his friends who read this, he also stated that he had seen or spoken to everyone he needed to and he was ready for whatever was next. When he died he was at peace.
Here is what I am trying to figure out. How does someone get to that point in their life? How does someone reach an acceptance and peace. Maybe when you are confronted with the strong possibility that life is near an end the acceptance and peace happens. If that is the case, well, I am definitely not there.
I used to be an RN. I worked with children for most of my career. The outcome of sickness is very individual, yet, I noticed how wise many of these children with cystic fibrosis, cancer and other diseases became, as they approached the end of their short life span. I was not alone in this observation, most of us who worked with them noticed this. I often felt that they became wise old ones by the time they died. They often left me feeling more in touch with my true essence and I felt them to be my teachers.
How do these young ones reach this acceptance? I believe, like Jim, that acceptance and peace arrives as death becomes close. It was as if they lived their whole lives in that short time.
Can someone reach that place without dying? i would like to believe so. Maybe yogis or wise ones understand this, though I am not sure.
This is an interesting topic to contemplate. I don’t find it negative or depressing or anything. I mostly would love to know how to reach that place in my life and remain alive to embrace it and share it with others.
I am glad that Jim was at peace. It was definitely helpful for all of us who loved and knew him. More than anything I wanted him to have peace and acceptance. It helped him to die with such grace. It was an honor to be in his presence.
Three years ago on October 17, 2012, Jim Fenningham died peacefully with those who loved him observing this passing. He was loved.
I miss him still.
And, I am doing OK.