“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

My 83-year-old aunt, Sylvia, is on her deathbed. Just this week, her cancer became more aggressive. Her body is weak, she can barely muster the strength to talk, she isn’t eating and she can only tolerate a few sips of liquid at a time. She calls for her momma (my grandmother, Fanny) for hours at night and cries that she wishes she were dead.

I found a wonderful Buddhist guide with sensible, comforting advice on how to act around a dying person. It has helped me to communicate well with Sylvia during the last couple of days.

I’ve never spent so much time with someone so close to death. When my father was dying over twenty years ago, I saw him once a week and wasn’t as spiritual or psychological as I’ve become. (Not that I’m exactly Mahatma Gandhi now, mind you!)

I thought, as I was sitting next to Sylvia this morning, how similar a dying person is to a newborn, so helpless. I know this concept isn’t original, but I bring it up because it is chillingly true.

Something else occurred to me today. Yes, the newborn is just beginning his journey. But, as far as I’m concerned, so is the dying person. I can’t see it being any other way.

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5 Responses to ““Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.”

  1. Barbara Mangini says:

    Geri, I was so touched reading this and spent many days with my godfather at the end of his life. It was one of the most wonderful gifts that I’m grateful for now. I think you see it the right way… as a beginning. As an auntie, I know just how full of love your Sylvia must be by your presence. ox

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  2. Marilyn Kleinberg Wald (Sara's Mom) says:

    Sending my love to you Gerri during this difficult time Living with the loss of someone you care about creeps in and expands into every corner of your life. I recommend A wonderful book, that a helped me understand the confusing upsetting communication of my mother when she was dying and helped me to respond to my mother’s final message..,,,, The book is Final Gifts (http://www.amazon.com/Final-Gifts-Understanding-Awareness-Communications/) written by very wise nurses who worked with the dying. Marilyn

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    • Geri Brin says:

      Hi Marilyn,

      I can’t wait to get this book. I read a chapter online and am ordering it right now. Thank you for your kind words.

      Fondly,
      Geri

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  3. Nicole Ricci says:

    You’re so smart, Geri. So sweet.

    Remember that, when a journey ends with one person, that same person begins a whole new journey.

    Send all my love.

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  4. Maravonda says:

    Geri, you are experiencing what I do for a living…and I, too, can’t see it being any other way.

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