3872Re: My Dad and Mom
- Apr 30, 2004Dear Dharmaja,
It is incredibly painful watching parents struggle with severe
illness and approaching death. My father had a long illness and
finally died about 2 years ago, so I can imagine the agony you are
experiencing. My heart goes out to you.
Here are my thoughts, which I hope may be useful. Firstly for your
mum, what about music? Even if she has no history of loving music,
this world might open up for her now that her vision has failed. Who
knows what kind of music she might tap into. Of course, spiritual
music would help her enormously - the simplicity of Sri Chinmoy's
flute music, or the enjoyable harmonies of student arrangements of
Guru's music. Or perhaps traditional Christian sacred music. Or even
regular classical music.....If she is depressed, she would most
likely need someone else's enthusiasm to assist her to get into the
music world - someone who would love to share his/ her love of music
('listen to this bit!'). It is very hard to generate enthusiasm for
anything from a state of depression, even things that might help to
bring one out of such a state. Having said that, something like the
flute music played softly as background music is great as a
consciousness raiser and mood soother - my sister uses it often for
her young children if they're upset.
Next, talking books - there are a huge range of books now out on
tape - designed for blind people, or those driving to a joy weekend
a long way away! Detective stories, classics, comedies...she may at
least get some distraction from some of these. There is also a
thorough range of spiritually uplifting and personal development
type 'books' out on tape. Then of course, there are Guru's talking
book tapes - Angels, Friendship - you know those small books that
all came out in tape format.
Companionship definitely! I agree with Kamalakanta. It depends how
depressed she is whether she'd be able to benefit from supporting
others, but definitely some sort of companionship apart from your
father would be helpful. In Australia we have some 'adopt a
grandparent' services and other 'visiting older people' services run
by local welfare agences or local city councils. It is very
important for older people not to feel isolated from the community.
Depression amongst the aged is apparently very common, and I'm sure
is exacerbated for people without a spiritual outlook on life.
A thought for your Dad - it may not be appropriate in your
situation, but I read to my Dad the bit from the Bhagavad Gita about
the soul (water cannot wet the soul, wind cannnot dry the soul etc).
Like many men of his generation, he was not one to talk openly of
things like death, but he really received great help from this
passage. Maybe in your situation, you could actually talk to him
about death? Do you know what his views on it are? Given your
parents have met Guru, they will have in them the seeds of
spirituality - I'm not sure from your description of them to what
extent it has blossomed, though. To hear a little from you about
Guru's descriptions of death as 'going to another room' etc. might
help...Or hearing personal descriptions from people who have written
about near death experiences.....
Death and impending death is a time of profound aloneness - no one
else can have the experience for us - but just feeling the support
of loving family is enormously helpful. I am really grateful that I
made extra time in my father's case last year to spend time with him
and support him. I know it was really helpful for him, but also was
very, very beneficial for me.
I hope this is helpful.
--- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, dharmaja
> Dear Kamalakanta,
> I am most thankful for your expression of compassion and
> I will visit with my parents during the next few days, and try to
> implement your suggestions.
> A sweet anecdote about my parents and Sri Chinmoy. Years ago, Sri
> Chinmoy was in San Francisco, and he gave a public meditation,
> which my parents attended.
> After the function, people in the audience were invited to walk by
> our Master as he was meditating, so that they might have a brief
> moment of individual meditation time with him.
> At first, my parents did not want to go up, but I pleaded with
> them at length, and they eventually acquiesced. So they were one
> of the last people to walk by Sri Chinmoy.
> When they finally got up near the front of the line, oh God!, Sri
> Chinmoy stopped everything, called my father and mother over to
> him, had them stand to the left and right of him, PUT HIS ARMS
> AROUND THEM, and called the photographer to take a picture!
> I cannot express the emotions that welled up from my heart at
> this. Later, back in our car, my mother said that this was the
> "most thrilling moment of my life!"
> I never got that photograph, but the smiling image of Sri Chinmoy
> with his arms around my mom and dad is forever etched in my
> Some weeks ago, I gave mom the health mantra that appears in the
> book, "Prayer World, Mantra World, Japa World." Dad told me that
> she is saying this mantra faithfully.
> with much gratitude
> --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, kamalakanta47
> <no_reply@y...> wrote:
> > Dear Dharmaja, my heart goes out to you. When my mother had a
> > small stroke a few years ago and could not speak for a few days,
> > I lost my voice when I was trying to tell someone else to tell
> > Sri Chinmoy. So much for my detachment!
> > What can I say? My parents are in their late seventies, and they
> > are still holding their ground. I do not know your mom and dad's
> > religious or spiritual practice, but from my own experience,
> > even having a flu is pretty challenging. When I have a severe
> > flu, it feeels like I am dying. I reason that a cancer must be
> > something like this: A flu that never goes away. This is how
> > intense this "mild" disease can be!
> > But thinking about your posting, it occurred to me that you
> > might be able to find people who can help your mom. There must
> > be support groups, either through a local religious organization
> > or the city where she lives. Either she can find people who are
> > less fortunate than her, or people who specialize in helping
> > someone like her.
> > Still, sometimes, when one is in a bad situation, if one can
> > meet someone else who needs help more desperately, and one can
> > be put in a position to contribute something to someone else's
> > life, that by itself might bring her out of the depression.
> > By way of speculation, let us think for a moment that somewhere
> > else in her town or city there is someone with a terminal
> > disease. Let us also assume that this particular person does not
> > have a family to take care of them, and that maybe they would
> > benefit from someone coming in on a regular basis, just for a
> > little chat. What a difference that can make in someone's life!
> > It could be a young child who never met his/her grandparents, or
> > someone of her own age. I am sure your mom has lots of stories
> > to tell about her life, and knowing how gentle and courteous you
> > are, I am sure she is a good listener also and has a very good
> > heart.
> > These are treasures that she can share with others less
> > fortunate than her!
> > Again, these are just ideas to explore. Maybe you will need to
> > do some research in her town.
> > ***********************
> > Regarding your father, o my God, I also have not conquered the
> > fear of death! What frightens me the most is not having had
> > enough gratitude or love for God, from whom I have received so
> > much! It is so hard to express gratitude or love! I know it is
> > there, but how to express it, or nurture it to grow?
> > Again, I do not know your father's background, and I don't
> > remember what happened the last time I was here; how I dealt
> > with it. I now try to live each day as if it were my last. This
> > forces me to be grateful for all the blessings and love I have
> > received, for who will want to die ungrateful?
> > Everything that is born must die, this is an immortal truth. We
> > are very much attached to life as we know it, so much so that
> > parting is painful. Yet the real Life is God, and Life is
> > never-ending. Death is but a rest.
> > I am reminded at this point of a meditation technique from Sri
> > Chinmoy's books, in which he advises to concentrate on our
> > heartbeat, and to try to feel that our heartbeat is the Immortal
> > Life within us.
> > So it seems to me that the answer lies in God. Let your father
> > search for God more, within his own faith; this will give him
> > peace, peace of mind. We must center our mind in God; it is
> > really the only solution, for young and old alike. The physical
> > life is transient, and we suffer because we identify with the
> > physical. But what is the physical? It is but a withering
> > flower! It is born, it grows, it blossoms, and then it withers!
> > But if we identify with the Spirit, with God, with the Eternal,
> > Infinite and Immortal within us, then where is death?
> > So these three solutions come to mind: God, Companionship, and
> > Service. There must be something there for them. In a
> > combination of these three things, I think your parents will
> > find the joy and peace they seek.
> > your brother, Kamalakanta
> > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, dharmaja
> <no_reply@y...> wrote:
> > > Dear Family,
> > >
> > > On many occasions, I have posted humorous things. The other
> > > participants in this forum have been tolerant of my insanity.
> > >
> > > But today it is something serious.
> > >
> > > I am asking for prayers, and also spiritual counsel and ideas,
> > > on how to help my father and mother.
> > >
> > > They are both eighty-something years old.
> > >
> > > My mom has recently developed acute ischemic ophthalmic
> > > neuropathy, which has resulted in a significant deterioration
> > > in her vision. She can no longer read, or even watch
> > > television or a movie. She appears to have simply surrendered
> > > to a state of depression over this. From my dad's description,
> > > she doesn't even seem to be "fighting" depression, she is just
> > > immersed in it, and doesn't have the strength of will to go
> > > beyond it. Dad is trying to be supportive, but he has his own
> > > set of challenges.
> > >
> > > My dad is trying to deal with the fact that someday soon he
> > > will have to leave earth. He is not acutely infirm, but he
> > > realises that a human life is not a permanent state of
> > > affairs, and I think that he is simply afraid of dying. Who
> > > can blame him? I cannot say for myself that I have conquered
> > > the fear of death.
> > >
> > > I will gladly listen to any suggestions as to how I can be
> > > supportive during this difficult time.
> > >
> > > Dharmaja Acterman
> > > Sacramento, California
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