We have put so much faith in the medical profession but they ultimately cannot deliver us
from death. Oftentimes in our western culture, agonies are prolonged as surrounding
relatives make their peace with what a very wise teacher once said to a student, the only
thing you have to do is die. The homework is up to you. And often the departure is fraught with negatives. The biggest being our inability to leave with dignity. For then we are stripped of our freedoms; the freedom to leave with a mind intact. Is this the purpose of a life? Is death so ominous that a breathing body vacant of spirit is preferable?
Preparation should have allowed for the personality to keep as much of its functioning self
as possible. Medical science can make it easier for leave taking on both sides when what we leave is a body still recognizable with a spirit of the beloved we know. It does not help when our memories are fraught with last months and years of pain that distort the image of the one held dear. Medicine often negates all we tried to do in life. When the body is programmed for long life it would be best if we also programmed the mind.
With so much emphasis on the body, we have left no time to fill the mind with nourishment befitting a body determined for immortality. The spirit makes the break. Little by little , the time spent away from the body is longer. The tenuous thread, the linkage to the heart in desperation breaks. And by that time, who we were can no longer be recognized. The civilities, the niceties that we encouraged through the many years have departed with the spirit intact. These are what makes a civilization humane, civilized and what is left is Cro-Magnon.
The mind that has been fed, that has been nourished, has the right to what medical science offers. But this mind will also call a halt to procedures that no longer give sustenance but instead steals from it its dignity. The population at large has not availed itself to the study of man’s place in the universe Has not availed itself to what has been offered as guidelines, as nourishment for the spirit. It has not taken as gospel what we all should know from the time of birth. . . . that death too is part of the living process, the earth process. And if we have accorded dignity to life itself, then death must be included.
To program a body for long life but starve a mind is criminal. We are deluged with information as to what to do to keep the body active, to keep it healthy. We are a world of proof that a healthy body, one told to eat whatever is newsworthy at the moment will result in a body that fights diseases, that will be able to withstand everything. And yet we will meet death, if not in our youth by misfortune, then in our dotage with a body so well taught that it will continue to do what it is we taught it from day one. Yet the mind, the spirit has subsisted on kindergarten fare. On porridge. And we are left to wonder why mother or papa are not the persons we knew and if we loved them so much yesterday how could they change so fast to being mean and ugly today?
And where the peace and resolve of the unresolved that are suppose to occur at the bedside? Where the reconciliations when the unable in body are also unable and absent in mind? And where the spirit of the beloved who has nurtured us in ages past, the linkage to what was, as our children will be the link in the future to what we were? The emotional tie will be non existent for the grandchildren. The last memories will be the only memories for some and for the others, the last memories will be wiped out as not being part of life. And both are damaged, for unless we rearrange our priorities, reprogram ourselves, rewrite the lesson plans, the last memories will continue to be part and parcel of life in this 21st century.
What to do? Feed the mind as well as the body. As we stretch the body, we must also stretch the mind. New concepts, old ideas made relevant, religions made vital, philosophers resurrected and visionary poetry made mandatory. Literature to be taught and understood with today’s technology, in today’s high tech world has application in the dailyness of each of us. Along with the ability to compute anything and everything, should be stretched the mind’s ability to grasp spiritual concepts to enrich the person. It will prove to be practical in the long run. And the result will be characters of substance befitting the body programmed for life everlasting.
8 responses to “Wrongful Death”
Few have the attitude I was taught in grade school, “A healthy mind in a healthy body.” How much of health is vanity; how much is in unity with, and subservience to, spiritual goals? Longevity for longevity’s sake is a narrow view when quality of life is more important. Spur us on to higher goals, Veronica!
Ruth, thank you for commenting. I appreciate your thoughtful response.
Veronica, I have been appreciating your poetry and essays for some time, finding my way here via Maria Wulf. this one resonates especially at this time and yes, feed the mind. teach it to be discerning about what is valuable to keep in the old religions and literature and what no longer holds merit. teach it to recognize wisdom and instinct. to know what is true and what is happening in one’s entire being. and teach it to remember that the choice is ultimately one’s own.
Jan, welcome to the upper floor. Maria has been especially helpful in her praise of my work. Thank you for your thoughts on Wrongful Death.
Veronica, Such necessary words! I worked as a hospice nurse for 10 of my 34 years as an RN, a midwife for the dying. I still draw from that experience and see how we still have difficulty in our culture accepting death as part of life. As to what I fill my mind with, your poetry always invokes thought and feeds my soul. Thank you.
Terri, Thank you for commenting. I am grateful for your thoughtful response. As a hospice nurse you know first hand of what I speak. Thanks again.
This is so much about imagination and being truly open minded. There are not many places where this kind of thinking is welcome.
Maria, the root for imagination is image. Meaning that somewhere there was an icon of this for me to remember and a someone who taught lovingly. For all of us there is a someplace and a someone like this. I appreciate your comment.