Facing the departure of a loved one

My family and I are currently facing the potential passing of a loved one. He is my father in law and he has been in the hospital for a few days now. Families have been traveling to see him. Doctors are starting to talk about hospice.

Last week, we heard about a friend of the family who was involved in a serious freak accident and unfortunately lost his life as a result. It was a shock for all of us since he was a young man with four sons and a wife. He was very active in the community and in is church. He was a very kind and supportive husband. He helped my daughter find a job and took my son to practice basketball with his sons. He was an amazing man.

My own father passed away almost two years ago. I was not present when he was on his death bed because of the distance. But I was there for his funeral and burial. That was also heart breaking, not seeing my father for a long time and then losing him forever. And now we are facing another personal pain with another family member about to pass.

All these losses that we experience really take a big toll in our lives in a profound way. It reminds us of the mystery of this existence. It gives us a slap on our face about how finite this life really is. All the hopes and the goals they we have. All the challenges and shortcomings we endure. All the lessons that we receive. All the accomplishments and actualizations that we achieve. For us to then cease to exist at the end.

And then what?

This is why I have started to believe that this limited existence , as far as we can be aware of, is basically passing the torch to the next generation. And then to the next. And so on. We are collectively gaining knowledge and wisdom for our children to pass it on to their children so that we, human beings, can succeed and survive.

It is a “big picture” kind of mission and purpose. Our individual lives, if we are truly individuals , don’t have much of a purpose except to benefit humanity as a whole. In thousands and thousands of years. We just don’t see it like that , at least we don’t at the moment and don’t remember from previous generations, but we can maintain faith that that is the way this existence operates.

I could be completely off and be wrong about this. But I strongly believe this is the reason we are here. Otherwise , this is a big and chaotic mess.

So here we are, visiting my father in law for possibly the last time. Remembering his accomplishments and his contribution. Cherishing good memories. Passing on what he learned to us and our children.

Until the next time.

The Reason We Fear Death

Why do we fear death ?

Death is the only certain thing that brings up the ultimate uncertainty .

It is the ultimate mystery of this existence .

Death is the only experience we cannot control or prevent .

Maybe that is why we fear it so much… because we cannot control it. And because we don’t understand or know for sure what it will bring afterwards.

We merely comprehend it as the final stage in this limited awareness we call Life.

It seems as if it’s the end of our identity.

And the identity we were told we have from the beginning and we constantly defend during our lives is what is always threatened by the inevitable death.

What and who will we become upon death?

What kind of awareness, if any, will we experience when death arrives?

It is this and other similar questions that make us ponder and fear the only experience we have no choice but to accept.

We can deny it, fight it, ignore it, hope it never comes. But at the end it always wins.

We can choose our careers, our friends , our hobbies , our political and philosophical views . But we cannot chose wether to die or not . It is the end of all experiences.

Or is it?

The state of (my) existence

I have been living what can be considered an existential crisis for the last five years or so. I have been relinquishing a lot of old ideas and beliefs that I held in my younger life. The introduction of the practice of mindfulness , and the idea of emptying my mind has been a new way of being.

No longer do I strive for happiness , for it always brings disappointments, since it depends on the ever changing circumstances. I have come to accept and live the here and now more . Although moments of irritation triggered by everyday worries and daily demands have not been absent, I have also been encouraging myself to look at the bigger picture .

The idea of a higher being is now more mystical and obscure, since I have adopted a more liberal path in finding meaning in this existence. I’m no longer bound by the traditional concepts of today’s western religions. I have expanded my views and decided to be more inclusive regarding alternative world views and live in the present moment.

Minimalism has also been my latest inspiration. I have recognized that less is truly more. That having more leads to wanting more. It has been also my latest motto in this existence, since abundance and prosperity have proven to be unfulfilling and meaningless .

Simplicity has also been my companion in the midst of the chaos. Perceiving this existence simply has motivated me to live fully and in peace. Letting go of vanity and useless desires has truly freed me from unnecessary addictions . I have come to conclude that living a simple life is much more fulfilling than always seeking for complicated reasons for living.

I have also questioned the existence of the “self” and the real nature of time. Perhaps I am one many cells that compose one larger organism. And time may just be a fabricated idea in our minds.

This state of “my” existence has been a new adventure and a blessing at the same time. It shall continue to be my newest journey .

Thanks for reading .

Accepting the inevitable 


It is so hard to admit what cannot be denied.  It is difficult to accept that this life has an end. But it is a step that we all must take in order to live a full life. 

My dear mom asked me the other day:  “And what if he gets worse ? ”  She was referring to my Dad who is currently in a nursing home and who is deteriorating rapidly.  And my response to her sounded cold and harsh.  I said , “He is going to get worse.”  

 But it is the reality.  It is simply what we all must face eventually and live peacefully with our mortality.

  I don’t want it either.  I want all of us to continue to live on.   Forever.  But what I want is not always what needs to happen. 

We will all eventually meet our destiny. We will have to say good bye to many loved ones. 

We will have to face the ultimate experience. 

We will have to accept our mortality. 

Papi, what is happening to you?: The unforgiving reality of old age


Visiting my Dad , whom I call Papi in Spanish, has been a sweet and sour experience.  I came to visit him in Puerto Rico for a few days… because I miss him and  I wanted to see him again.

During the time I spent with him during these few days , I start questionning again the absurdity of this existence.   What is, if any, the purpose of this life ?  Why are we born to simply die and cease to exist at the end?

Papi was an active man who worked very hard, had many friends and went to many parties.  He was known as having a good sense of humor and making jokes all the time.  He always dressed up with the latest fashion and style.  Papi often took good care of his belongings, particularly his hair.    He also has been a jovial and friendly individual.  He laughed hysterically and made jokes with his friends about politics and life in general. He enjoyed drinking with friends and eating spicy food.

He went to the army for a short period of time, but he often reminded us of his military routine.   Papi married my mom and had four sons.  He worked hard at a pharmacy warehouse . I remember visiting him at his job which was upstairs.   Papi would buy me candy and sandwiches “medianoche” for mid morning snack.   He also taught me one time how to ride my bike, how to take a shower, and how to clean my shoes.  He was very particular about his personal belongings.


Now most of that is gone.  He can barely walk and is more forgetful.  He is in his late 70s and does not eat very much. He is retired and can barely take care of himself.  It’s almost like he has become a different person.   It makes me wonder,  what is happening to my Papi?

In spite of the changes, he continues to do certain things that shows glimpses of who Papi really is. He enjoys doing word search puzzles.   Papi sometimes still makes the kind of jokes he used to make.  He remembers most of his family members and friends.

I can’t help but to question again the reason for this existence.   The purpose of us living in this state of awareness we call “life” if at the end it is going to be gone.  My Papi was a jovial and active man.  Now he is a weak and serious old man.   Like the winter that comes and takes away all the beauty of the trees and the flowers and the sunshine, so does old age take away the sunshine that I often found in my Papi.   Will there be a spring after this?

Most of Papi is already gone.  Most of what he reflected has faded away.

I guess Papi is not completely gone.  At least not in my heart.

Help! Wife wants to go to church!

I almost had a panic attack… not really.    But seriously, I was speechless when my wife expressed the interest in going to church tomorrow.  I asked myself, “is it because it’s Easter Sunday?” Which is common to people who live religious lives, but not truly dedicated to “church life.” I used to criticize people who go to church only on special occasions, like Easter and Christmas Day.

Now I am one of those people.

However, I don’t even like going to church on special days. I just don’t. I have evolved in my spiritual life significantly.  You can read more about my journey in Living the Kingdom blog. To me (and this is my honest opinion), it is a waste of time going to church. This post is not about religion or spirituality.  I am just expressing my opinion and disapproval of an activity I used to do regularly because of tradition. It was a norm to go to church at least once a week. It was part of the culture and family tradition.   But I started researching, reading, and questioning to the point that attending a religious event became the same as going to a sports or political event. They all serve an “idol” and are based an ideology.

I don’t mean to offend anyone (although feeling offended is a choice).  Again, I am just sharing my thoughts about a tradition that many people still follow and they have a right to do.  But I personally don’t think it is worth my time.

So I guess I will have to accompany my wife to this place that I truly don’t want to go to.  I am not always going to do what I want, am I?

What do I rather do?  I rather go help feed the homeless.  I rather go visit people who are sick.  I rather call those who are lonely and distant. Yes, that is what I rather do.  Because, after all, isn’t church a group of people doing certain things, instead of a building?

Just a thought.

Sick of being Sick

 

I have bimageeen fighting something nasty for the last three days.. First I thought it was allergies.  Then I started getting chills at night.  And now  I’m just feeling like I am in a fog.   I take all kinds of medication.. They don’t seem to help much.

But I shouldn’t complain… A few days ago another one of  my uncles passed away (I have three gone already ).  I was not close to him at all, but my father was.   I just spoke with my father about him.   He said “he was younger than me,  yet he was gone first.”

I cannot help to think of the day that my father passes too.  I have been trying to accept it without getting too emotional.   But the day will come… it is inevitable.  And so will be the day that I am gone and every family member that I know … Because we’re not eternal.

So,  sick or not,  I will simply live this day.   Without complaining.  I may recover tomorrow.  Who knows?

What do you think?

 

You know you just turned 40 ….

You know you just turned 40…
When people start to make comments about your gray hair.
When you have to briefly take you glasses off when reading something close.
When heart burn begins to keep you up at night .
When you have to go to the bathroom more frequently.
When wrinkles start to slowly appear on your face.
When exercise is no longer fun.
When you find yourself raising kids while taking care of aging parents.
When taking naps become a necessity.
When cashier no longer asks for your picture ID when buying alcohol.                   When you start losing your train of thought too often.

Any other hints about reaching 40…?

Should We Forgive?

forgive

Is it right to forgive others when they hurt us? This blog is about being frank and honest with each other. But if I feel hurt by others, I would rather feel I sincerely forgive them before claiming it. What would be the exact procedure of forgiving? Is it forgetting? Is it excusing the other person’s wrongdoing? When people repeatedly hurt us, how can we possibly not feel hurt and lose faith of the person who hurts us? I have learned that to forgive is a powerful way of liberating ourselves from emotional bonds. Holding resentments and grudges can really damage our emotional wellbeing. It is like a thorn in our hands, a pebble in our shoes. Being able to forgive would be getting free from this pain. But how can this be done when the pain is too great? How can a victim forgive the rapist? How can a family forgive the murderer of a child? How can a child forgive the abuse of a drunken parent? I guess it requires some time for forgiveness to take place. I imagine it is like still remembering the painful experience, without the emotional pain. It is like no longer feeling the trauma that the experience caused.  And if I forgive, does this make me vulnerable again?  Or is it healing myself? Can we be honest with each other and truly forgive?  And when we say we forgive, is it really true, or are we saying it just to feel good about ourselves?  Is it ever OK not to forgive?  Sorry that this post has a lot of questions, but I think these are questions we must ask ourselves when it comes to being honest with ourselves and forgiveness.  Any thoughts about this subject?

Fading Mind

My mind has been disappearing. My memories are slowly being deleted. I have few recollection of details. When I read, I have to closely  pay attention, closer than I used to. My mind wonders a lot. Maybe that is it. I am slowly distancing from youth. Is this what aging is about? My physical body is also losing strength. I have noticed that my thoughts are slower. I haven’t even reached mid life. I have the desire to enjoy every moment, to live every second, to appreciate every event. It has been hard to do so. I tend to worry. Yes, this has been my greatest obstacle. I want to live more in the present. I have thought that maybe  I am depressed, or overly anxious, or even delusional.  I am almost convinced that I might have Attention Deficit Disorder. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that I am slowly becoming less independent, meaning, I am depending too much on to-do lists, calendars, and other people to remind me stuff. When I read books, I find myself having to reread them to fully grasp the details. I try to write notes on the margins.   When I watch movies, I miss most of the plot. What is this? Is it self pity?  Am I just making it up?  Does everyone experience the same thing?