My father passed the past Friday afternoon. Just a few weeks ago, we, his family, came together as a unity to support his passing and to support ourselves.
I remember clearly when one of the doctors said to us that our objective is to take care of only one patient. He meant that the family around my father was vulnerable to the tension his disease creates. We could end up in conflict, depression, and even illness.
A few days later, I fought with my sister. I don't remember a similar situation; we both were uncontrollable. The adrenaline was palpable. The reasons for our discussion illogical.
After deep reflection, I realized that each of us was fighting as if our survival was at risk. We projected our father's life to our own. We harmed ourselves, disturbed the peace around our dad in the name of love. How is that possible?
In trying to answer that question, an idea emerged. Our mind tries its best to interpret our deepest intentions, and in doing so, it makes us believe that our conclusions and actions are the best possible. We close down to other possibilities. Our sense of responsibility, duty, love, and compassion end up misinterpreted; they can become harmful.
As I experienced my father's death, I learned that our most profound and purest intentions need no interpretation. The love that fuels our intentions has power. In the end, it redeems the effects of our actions with infinite compassion. The vulnerability of the human body, the fragility of our life, makes it all possible.
I will never know if the support I gave my father during his last days and hours was enough, was appropriate, right or wrong. His latest smiles, the purest I've seen on his face, were to me the evidence of his soul forgiving my perennial human ignorance compassionately. My father's love purified his life and ours. His death was the end of a complete cycle, perfect, unique.
When the time comes for me to leave, I know now that my vulnerability, my love, will clear my mind and open me to the deepest understanding in the face of the inevitable. I'll see, even if for a millisecond, that I return to the beginning, I'll close the cycle purified with compassion for my own misinterpretations and ignorance.
I feel no reason to fear death now, and while the feeling lasts, I vow to keep my intentions clearer and see my actions with compassion. Death is an idea, and it is yet one more interpretation of our mind.
"You would not cry if you knew that by looking deeply into the rain, you would still see the cloud."
― Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear
I wish you and everyone facing the passing of a loved one, a brotherly hug.