These are precious times. While sitting next to my father the time seems to go incredibly fast, trying to remember what happened last week feels ages ago. My father is nearing the end of his life. And I come to the conclusion: consciously dying brings the best out of people.
I feel committed to support him in a way that he can rest in peace. And I am not the only one. His ‘Living Apart Together’ partner moved in and she takes full time care of him. My brother and I take turns to be with him whenever possible. The nurses from the homecare organization Activite support him three times a day. He enjoys their presence and dedication. The GP comes in every other day and takes time to listen to him. The care that these professionals are giving is incredible. I’m very grateful for the healthcare we’re having in the Netherlands. Professionally I am used to work with the bosses of the bosses (or even their bosses or insurance companies). But these co-workers know what it is to be attentive, to love and to be present to the needs of the suffering. It opens a new and loving world for me.
The dialogues we’re having are intense, deep and sometimes confronting. This is living to the max, with the end in sight. We come to new insights about being a father, the unconscious behavioral patterns ruling us and the value of (motherly) Love. All of this in the midst of suffering and pain. But we’re grateful to have this time together.
In between I’m re-reading ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’. I read it for the first time before my best friend Wim died four years ago.
People who are dying need love and care, but they also need something even more profound. They need to discover a real meaning to death, and to life.
Believing fundamentally that this life is the only one, modern people have developed no long-term vision. So there is nothing to restrain them from plundering the planet for their own immediate ends and from living in a selfish way that could prove fatal for the future.
Saying goodbye: first you must give the person permission to die, and second you must reassure the person you will be alright after he is gone, and that there is no need to worry about you.
The picture above is from a few years ago when we discussed the book ‘Mindsight’ by Daniel Siegel, his Guru.