Terminal Treatment

Anything goes (almost).

Terminal Treatment

Postby Hickersonia » Thu May 16, 2013 1:53 am

My dad is a terminal cancer patient... I may not have mentioned it before -- or I may have -- I cannot recall for certain. In any event, this has been an ongoing thing for some time now. I live about 100 miles from him (aprox. 2.5 hours drive), so I am not able to be there at the drop of a hat.

He and I spoke a week ago and I came to realize that he was on the verge of giving up the fight. Not that he said it in those words precisely, but suffice to say it was clear from his voice and the way the, rather brief, conversation went.

Today he calls me and informs me that he is now on hospice and all treatment has ceased. He will now only receive sufficient care to made as physically comfortable as possible until his end.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this while I've been... well... kinda bored at work... I've kept busy when appropriate, but there have been some lulls in the work flow that have permitted me a lot of time to think. I won't lie and say I'm completely at ease with it, but I've noticed that everyone expects me to be absolutely falling apart and... I'm just not.

I'm not really sure how exactly I'm supposed to feel right now. Almost 13 years ago, when I was barely out of high school, my mother passed away (also the result of cancer, albeit a different type). I was a sniveling mess then. I know a lot changes in 13 years and in all but the most "mundane" ways I am not even the same person anymore, but still I'm left trying to figure out whether this is the result of some sort of spiritual epiphany / maturity or simply that I'm burying my emotions.

I don't necessarily think anyone here will have "all of the answers" on this, but I felt like it made sense to write it out and post it somewhere for others to share their thoughts... maybe I'll get something useful out of it and maybe not, but I appreciate that others even bother to read it at all.

In the meantime, I've made arrangements to visit him tomorrow and I'll hopefully not be expected to say anything terribly insightful because I'm just not sure I have anything dramatic to say.

Thanks, friends. Be well.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby LastLegend » Thu May 16, 2013 2:26 am

There is this book called Zen Macrobiotics that you should read. You can download it here: http://www.mediafire.com/?mtdnmztimwz

I don't personally stand witness to it being a cure to cancer because that's not what I have. This is my Day 8 fasting on brown rice with sea salt and sesame seeds to detox my body. I think this fasting diet is no longer recommended in the West amongst macrobiotic practitioners. And if people want to try this fasting diet, they need to have a thorough grasp of the instruction. Otherwise, it can be extremely dangerous because it takes a lot of mental endurance and strictly have to follow the instruction. There are reported cases of death as a result of not following the instruction or understanding the practice. And it takes a lot of faith to practice it.

Read it PM me if you have any questions.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2186
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby viniketa » Thu May 16, 2013 2:46 am

Buddha never said one should have nor show no emotions, only that our emotions should not rule our responses to others and our lives. If you are hiding or suppressing your emotions about your father, you will have to deal with them eventually. You will probably get a handle on where your self-cherishing is when you come fact-to-face with him tomorrow.

Sogyal Rinpoche has come under a lot of criticism, but his book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is one of the best references one can read on the topic. I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it will help guide you in giving your father what he needs at this point in his life. Giving of ourselves to others at the end of life is one of the most beautiful things we can ever do and does more than any charnel ground practice to prepare us for our own death.

May your father die well.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
User avatar
viniketa
 
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Location: USA

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Wayfarer » Thu May 16, 2013 5:14 am

I wouldn't feel remiss because you're not undergoing a lot of emotional trauma, if that's what you're asking. I have seen many of my older relatives pass on - I'm probably a generation older than you - and it has rarely been overtly emotional. It's much more so when someone dies young or unexpectedly. I think one's role in those circumstances is to be present, if you can, and also to remember the teachings at all times, for your sake and his.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
User avatar
Wayfarer
 
Posts: 1931
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby KeithBC » Thu May 16, 2013 2:23 pm

Hickersonia wrote:I'm not really sure how exactly I'm supposed to feel right now.

Who is supposing you to feel a particular way? You feel what you feel. That is your right.

My own father passed away a little over a year ago. We were not particularly close, but we liked each other, and in latter years we tried to understand each other. I think we were both partially successful in that. So when he died (of cancer), it was like closing a book. There was no grief or anguish. It was simply a story that had ended well.

I wish you and your father a peaceful transition.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 414
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Simon E. » Thu May 16, 2013 2:38 pm

As others have said there is no " right" emotion or reaction.
Just be aware and honest and stay with what arises. And if that is numbness, then thats what is.
If there is grief then thats what is. If there is relief then thats what is.

My thoughts are with you and your father.

:namaste:
Simon E.
 
Posts: 2543
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Namgyal » Thu May 16, 2013 3:38 pm

Image
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby corrine » Thu May 16, 2013 7:07 pm

There is no right or wrong way to feel when someone in our lives is dying. Having gone through this over and over again, I would tell you to just be there for your father. How you feel is not even important right now. What is important is being supportive in whatever way the dying individual needs you to be. If he needs emotional support, regardless of how you feel, hold his hand and just be comforting. If he needs to talk and express his feelings about dying, let him do so without telling him how he should be feeling. In other words, just do what you can to help him to make this transition. And it will be enough. Right now your feelings do not matter. What matters is what you can do to aid him on this last bit of his journey. Compassion is the only requirement as compassion will allow you to do what he needs you to do and be what he needs you to be.

After he dies, there will be time enough for you to attend to your emotions or lack thereof. Right now the only emotions that matter, are his. You will have no regrets after his death, if you do what you are able to make his death easier. I wish you peace through this challenging transition.

corrine :namaste:
corrine
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:27 pm

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Punya » Thu May 16, 2013 9:58 pm

As it appears your father has made a decision, your present state of relative equanimity could be very helpful to him in supporting this decision. The Bardo Thodal teachings emphasise that strong emotions ( clinging) on the part of relatives and friends at such a time is not helpful to the person.

When my aunt appeared to have made a similar decision 18 months ago, I asked my mother if she had said to her sister that it was OK to go. My mother, in a response typical of our current society said she would leave this to the nurses. But she also has said something else in the past that may be helpful to you: that she was absolutely devasted when her mother died when she was in her twenties but having worked through that emotion subsequent experiences with people close to her didn't affect her in the same way ie the first time is always the hardest.

I also recommend the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and a book by Ken Wilber (another controversial figure) 'Grace and Grit'. To me, one of the strong messages in this book is about when to fight and when to let go.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
User avatar
Punya
 
Posts: 379
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:50 pm

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby KeithBC » Thu May 16, 2013 11:06 pm

Punya wrote: I asked my mother if she had said to her sister that it was OK to go.

This is actually one of the most helpful things one can say to someone who is dying.

All my family members independently got the impression that our father was clinging to life out of some sense of obligation to us. Though he was unable to communicate with us, I took a chance that he could understand me, and, in a private moment, I told him that it was okay with all of us if he decided that it was time to go. An hour later, he died. I think he just needed to hear that from one of us.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 414
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Fri May 17, 2013 2:11 am

Image
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

— Chinese hermit, Amongst White Clouds
User avatar
Fu Ri Shin
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Hickersonia » Fri May 17, 2013 11:36 am

Thank you all. All of your replies have been very helpful.

I don't know if I feel any differently about things, but I'm at least not worried about it. The visit with Dad was a positive thing even if it was incredibly stressful. I Know he appreciated my being there.

I'll have to look up the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying after we get our move settled today and tomorrow (yeah, moving and dying father, lots of stress eh?). I am in need of some new reading material anyway.

Again, thank you all for your very kind responses. I hope you are all well.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Ayu » Fri May 17, 2013 12:38 pm

Ah, I'm late with my thoughts.

In my experience it was always some kind of baffling for the emotions whenever something severe happened.
Either the just new birth of my own child or the death of my parents: it was normal to feel NOTHING in the first moment. In case of my mother's dying: this moment lasted for two years.

It is very important, like some people here said before: Emotions are as they are and there is an own reason for this. There are emotions accepted or not accepted in society for certain situations in life. This expectations how one should feel are never helpful but often messing. We never really react in the standarts of Hollywoodfilms. :smile:

Also, when i was about to die nearly, i could only feel nothing. Seems, the emotions come later often.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
User avatar
Ayu
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Hickersonia » Wed May 22, 2013 4:46 pm

In case anyone is interested, he passed this morning. I hear he was in a state of relative calm.

May his next destination be a fortunate one.

Be well, friends.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby mandala » Wed May 22, 2013 5:30 pm

I'm sorry for your loss & my prayers are with you, and your dad for a peaceful onward journey.
Please look after yourself and I hope you're surrounded with love & care.

:heart:
User avatar
mandala
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Wed May 22, 2013 9:37 pm

anicca vata sankhara chant -
Anicca vata sankhara
Upada vaya dhammino
Upakituva nirujihanti
Tesang vupasamo sukho

English -
All conditioned things are impermanent
Their nature is to arise and pass away.
To live in harmony with this truth
Brings the highest happiness. :anjali:
Khalil Bodhi
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby kirtu » Thu May 23, 2013 12:49 am

OM MANI PEDME HUNG
TADYATHA OM BEYKANZE BEYKANZE MAHABEYKANZE RAJA SAMUGATE SOHA
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4501
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Lotus108 » Thu May 23, 2013 10:46 am

My condolences to you and your family. May your father's onward journey be calm, and his rebirth fortunate.
Lotus108
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:44 pm

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Ayu » Thu May 23, 2013 12:59 pm

Image
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
User avatar
Ayu
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Terminal Treatment

Postby Punya » Sat May 25, 2013 6:37 am

Taktsang Bhutan 2013.jpg
Taktsang Bhutan 2013.jpg (105.64 KiB) Viewed 151 times

OM MANI PADME HUNG
User avatar
Punya
 
Posts: 379
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:50 pm


Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: duckfiasco and 12 guests

>