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.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
That’s a real profound spiritual issue that I feel has no single resolution. That you are facing it is a kind of grace in itself. I am touched by your openness to share it. The mysteries that we must face, deny, wrangle with, bargain with, or accept will always present themselves to us. I admire you for your search and feel that the “peace that transcends all understanding” will visit you in unexpected moments. Namaste.
I witnessed a similar peace before death when my closest friend died at age 46. While those around her were despairing her early passing, she radiated peace, love and acceptance. She simply said, “It’s my time.” Something about realizing the inevitable, and then accepting it. As you say, unless you’re a yogi, I’m not sure you realize that same type of peace while still fully engaged in living with no imminent threat of death to this body, this lifetime. I guess we’ll find out when the time comes.
Not long after my husband’s myeloma diagnosis, at only 43 and us with an 8 year old daughter, I kept waiting for it to “hit” him. For him to break down and cry, feel despair or depression. It never happened. I finally asked him how he was doing this. (I was strong when he and my daughter were around, but cried my eyes out when I was alone, and I was ANGRY about what fate dropped on us) He said plainly, “I have to play the cards I was dealt. Whatever time I have left, I am not going to spend it moping and complaining.” I guess some people have that kind of mental strength. It’s also somewhat of a “letting go”. I guess you could be angry and depressed and all that, and I think that would be my reaction. But, it probably feels better to accept that some higher power is calling the shots and try to enjoy your life as much as is possible. My husband doesn’t even get that nervous when he has check-ups. He told me that those numbers are already on those papers and him getting uptight are not going to change them. He amazes me…….every….single……day. Your blog gives me hope. Hope that if I lose my husband, I may actually be able to craft a life still. It’s so important to know that people can at least heal enough to want to “stay in the game” of life.
Powerful post here Denise. I cannot say that I have successfully crafted a life but I am working on it. It is an onngoing process. Your husband sounds so right there. I am glad you posted. I am not surprised you are amazed. It sounds very similar to what I expereinced with Jim. You are part of what makes his so centered and strong. I have no doubt. Hang to hope. It is a good thing to do. Thank you for postinng.
With God comes peace. I missed out on a great opportunity when my husband was passing and said to me “Do you want to know what it’s like to be dying?” and I answered “No” because I was mad that he was leaving me and was so at peace about it. I know that with dying comes peace for those that believe in God, I have seen it so many times. I went on to meet another wonderful man, he also died and was very much at peace the whole time he fought his brain tumor. Both men were young 62 and 57. The second died in April and it has been the hardest year I have ever gone through. It’s reliving both, I pray to find the peace to go on without them. Thank-you Janet for this blog as it helps me. God Bless You.
Faye, I am so sorry to hear that you have had to go through this grieving twice now. . I am glad that this blog helps you. It has helped me. It is my journal. I have always felt that if my honesty could help one other person even just a wee bit then it is worth it to me. I am glad you find it worthy for you. This is hard and all we can do is help each other. Remember to take it one little step at a time and let others love and support you. It is all we can do for each other.