A few hours before my father passed away, I was sitting in front of him, and wrote this piece of ‘confronting death in peace’ to dedicate to my father for him to relax and let go in peace. As soon as I finished writing and looked at him, his breathing had stopped for a few seconds, I shouldn’t, but I had gently called him, “Papa.” and he started breathing again, with his eyes wide opened and fully dilated, and I stood right in front of him and gently whispered to him, “It’s okay, papa, I’m here. Just relaxed and let go.” And his eyes closed again.
After that his breathing stopped for a few more times, but it came back again when there was sound from the people in the same ward. Then, his heart rate became very unstable, dropping to 14 beats per minute and shooting up to 200 or 300 beats per minutes changing very rapidly and irregularly. I called my sister if she would want to come to the hospital. As I believed my father would pass away any moment then.
While waiting for my sister, he had stopped breathing for more than ten seconds. I thought he had gone. I went to inform the nurse. When the nurse came to check upon him, he started breathing again. I realized he couldn’t go in peace as there’s disturb of sounds and movements around him. And, it takes some time for the complete disintegration to happen even after the breathing or the heartbeat had stopped. And so, I decided to maintain very quiet if he stopped breathing again.
I told my sister and her daughter who came later, just about an hour before my father’s passing away, I asked them to do the same – If they see him stopped breathing, do not make any noise, do not call him or call the nurse to come. Just wait for at least few more minutes. To let him go in peace completely.
While the three of us sitting there watching my father, my sister couldn’t help talking about the past, and how much money she had borrowed from people due to have to look after my father. I knew my father could hear this and he wouldn’t be able to go in peace, because my sister has no awareness that she was complaining and blaming my father’s condition for her debts with relatives and friends. And so, in order to allow my father to go in peace, quietly I stood up and moved to the side where my father wouldn’t be able to see me, and waved to my sister to come to me, and quietly asked her to bring me back to the hotel to rest. So that she wouldn’t be there to talk about things that wouldn’t allow my father to go in peace. And my father finally passed away peacefully while my sister’s daughter fell asleep after my sister and I had left the hospital.
It takes years of practice to confront the last days/moments of death, calmly and peacefully.
Letting go the body, the thinking process, the perception of existence, the relationships with everyone, and all the past pleasant and unpleasant experiences and memories, in peace, without clinging onto life existence and all the relationships with everyone, without fear or aversion towards death, without painful sorrow of separation from life existence, people and things, without unfulfilled desires, without disappointment or regret.
Being aware of the process of the disintegration of the body.
Without fear and worry.
Without craving and aversion.
Without guilt and regret.
Being in the present, calm and quiet.
Though practice for years, still the mind might not be able to let go, in peace. It’s okay. Even this will pass away.
Fear, worry, clinging, attachment, craving and aversion might arise during the last moments of death. Then ask the mind, what can be done now? There is nothing but letting go. There is no need to perform any duties or responsibilities or actions anymore.
Allowing the body and the thinking mind to be what they are. They are not perfect and it’s okay. Let them go, in peace.
All kinds of thinking and feelings, all kinds of relationships with people, animals, plants, things, knowledge and memories, all the flashback of countless events, all the good and bad, the right and wrong, the happiness and unhappiness, the should have and shouldn’t have, the achievement and non-achievement, the fulfillment and disappointment, are all nothing but impermanent names and forms, forming and deforming, arising and passing away.
Be bold, be calm, and be very quiet.
There’s nothing to say, nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to smell, nothing to taste, nothing to think, nothing to feel, nothing to do, nothing to bring with you, nothing to regret, nothing to forgive, nothing to ask for forgiveness, and nothing to desire.
Let the world be what it is. It’s not perfect and it’s okay.
Let everyone be what they are. They are not perfect and it’s okay.
Let the memories of happy and unhappy events be what they are. They are not perfect and it’s okay.
There is only now, the present.
Be aware of the air coming in and going out.
Be aware of the process of past accumulated images arising and passing away. It’s not who ‘I’ am. It’s not ‘I’. It’s just some flashback of old and new memories, both remember and forgotten, actual events or imaginary events, understand and couldn’t understand, know and doesn’t know.
Acknowledge the unknown and allow the unknown to be what it is, without fear, as the unknown is nothing but what it is. Let the unknown be the unknown.
There is no need to perform any duties or responsibilities or actions anymore.