My father passed away early this morning. For the past three months, he was fighting a heart failure. But he really had little chance because many systems in his body had started failing. He was 76.
I seek comfort in the fact that his memories live on. His love and care, and his patience with my silly, childhood questions will all live on, not merely in my memories, hopefully in my actions as well.
Perhaps even the expressions on his face will live on for longer than I think.
Death is as much a part of life as birth. Anything that has a beginning has an end. So why do we grieve?
We do because death stands a bit outside our worldly knowledge, beyond where our logic and rationality apply. So the philosophical knowledge of the naturalness of death does not always erase the pain.
But where does the pain come from? It is one of those questions with no certain answers, and I have only my guesses to offer. When we were little babies, our parents (or those who played the parents’ role) stood between us and our certain death. Our infant mind perhaps assimilated, before logic and and rationality, that our parents will always stand face-to-face with our own end — distant perhaps, but dead certain. With the removal of this protective force field, the infant in us probably dies. A parent’s death is perhaps the final end of our innocence.
Knowing the origin of pain is little help in easing it. My trick to handle it is to look for patterns and symmetries where none exists — like any true physicist. Death is just birth played backwards. One is sad, the other is happy. Perfect symmetry. Birth and life are just coalescence of star dust into conscious beings; and death the necessary disintegration back into star dust. From dust to dust… Compared to the innumerable deaths (and births) that happen all around us in this world every single second, one death is really nothing. Patterns of many to one and back to countless many.
We are all little droplets of consciousness, so small that we are nothing. Yet, part of something so big that we are everything. Here is a pattern I was trying to find — materially made up of the same stuff that the universe is made of, we return to the dust we are. So too spiritually, mere droplets merge with an unknowable ocean.
Going still further, all consciousness, spirituality, star dust and everything — these are all mere illusory constructs that my mind, my brain (which are again nothing but illusions) creates for me. So is this grief and pain. The illusions will cease one day. Perhaps the universe and stars will cease to exist when this little droplet of knowledge merges with the anonymous ocean of everything. The pain and grief also will cease. In time.