Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is Death Darkness?

The theme remains death. Recently an aunt passed away. She has been "ill" for as long as I can remember - poor circulation in the legs that led to pain and eventually to an almost crippling state of being. Strokes. Progressive physical deterioration. A little over 2 years ago, her doctors told her family that she has 12-14 months to live. She lived double that time. I smile because doctors often believe they know everything and this just proves that they know relatively little in the whole scheme of life and death.

The quality of life, however, in those last years was very poor. I say that because while the body was weak and failing, the mind appeared to be strong. During the last few months, she could little communicate due to the failing body. But the light remained strong in her eyes. What is this quality of life? I imagine a certain amount of fear connected to an alert mind trapped in a body that is betraying one's very existence. To be unable to communicate with those around - about little things, about important things, about nothing - is frightening.

In such a case, is death darkness - or is it amazingly beautiful light? Is living the darkness of the tunnel and death the light at the end? I cannot say. Quality of life is truly up to the individual; however, when the individual can no longer communicate, how can we know whether the quality is sufficient for them? How can we tell when the fear of dying succumbs to the fear of living?

It is a fine line that we walk. Each day we begin anew, never suspecting the moment that could be our last. Is it harder to live or it is harder to die?

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