Friday, April 15, 2011

More on life and death

Two poems I cannot get out of my head:

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas -- one of my favorite poets and the subject of my senior English thesis in college. "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." 

No Man is an Island by John Donne, another favorite from my college courses. "... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Too many conversations about death and dying and endings and letting go are running through my brain non-stop: Did I say the right things? Is he going to go through with it? What else should I have done? What can anyone do? What right have we to interfere in another adult's decision -- assuming, of course, that his intent is to harm no one except himself,  and thereby harming himself,  he harms others, undoubtedly irreparably, inconsolably. A moral conundrum. 

Until death at last appears unbidden on our threshold to complete our journey, there is always another chance. There is always a way through the pain, the uncertainty, the despair. It is hard work, to be sure, but there are many helping hands along the way if the person only can ask, can admit that death may not be the best solution at this moment, and allow himself to be vulnerable enough to accept a hand. 

We are always stronger working together than we are standing apart. An integral part of every 12-Step group is drawing on the collective strength of the group to keep going on every day, moment to moment, knowing that they are there to fill you back up at yet another meeting, to give you encouragement to keep on, to help you stay on track. 

I want so much for my cousin to know this and to find one shred of something that he still wants to do, to find, to be. Just one tiny thing can make all the difference between life and death. 

I always analyze my own actions and words after they've been done and spoken, and am a harsh critic: did I do enough? Did I do it well enough? Did I say what I meant, and was it received as it was intended? Could I have said something better, more clearly, more meaningfully? Why didn't I think to say/do this, or that, or something that would have worked better?

Yeah, I know. Gotta let that go.

 Deep breath.

Mine is the only life I can save. But may my prayers and my words and my actions reach others who need to hear that someone cares, that there is a way through the dark, that we are not alone in this world. 

No comments: