Life and Death Story

I first witnessed death since I was 17, it was my father. Everything was going too fast, it took 2 days for a person from laughing out loud in the restaurant, come home, feel tired, recognized that his blood cancer “knock-knock” his life after almost 9 years of temporary “leaving” and leave this world. It took me almost 1 month to realize what was happening that it was not just a dream, it was real ! At that time, death for me is very simple, we get old and we die, that’s it ! No big deal ! I didn’t know how it will affect my life 3 years later, that such incidence give me broader view about this world: the ending that we all share and cannot escape from.

But first, let’s start with those 2 horrible days, 2 days that I remembered every hour, every second of a person leaving this world.

Day 1: After getting back from a wedding party, he felt sick

Day 1.5: Things started to get serious, he cannot even barely walk. My mother suddenly feel that it is now the time but she didn’t tell me. She rushed him to the hospital. The doctor recognized the symptom and put him into sleep. No one know that it would be the last time he open his eyes.

Day 2: My mother rushed to “Benh Vien Truyen Mau Huyet Hoc”, finding the best doctor she could find. That doctor is also the one saw the miracle 9 years ago, when he told my family that we should prepare, because he’s gonna leave in a few days. My mom back then prayed for God to get him back in the middle of the hospital open field. (vai lay bon phia). The miracle was true, when God gave him 9 more years to live. Maybe to fix thing, maybe to do all the things that he have not done (FYI: blood cancer can only be survived around 5 years). Now it’s time to go !

Day 3: After doing all things that could be done. Finally, the doctor turn off the “oxygen”, let him leave this world.

Day 4: Everything is now a mess, I could not imagine what was happening, it is so fast that I cannot realize what was going on.

Day 5-8: His family, friends and acquaintances started to visit. Almost half of them told me that “Life is impermanence” or in Vietnam “doi vo thuong, chet roi co mang tien theo duoc dau” .

I didn’t grasp the full meaning of it, until now. It’s impermanence, that everything he has worked for that 9 years, vanish in just a second, leaving nothing behind. It’s true that all the time he thought that was useful to build a company, now doesn’t matter anymore. He, or we are, already naked and have nothing to lose in the face of Death. I doubted my belief, about all the “career choice”, “love choice”, “family choice” that are happening around me. What the hell do we fighting for? Why people fight each other to just get a position in a company, that even the shareholders doesn’t give a shit about your belief, your core value. They just care how much profit you will make for them. Why all the political stuffs in every corner of conventional corporation? Why we need to hurt people feeling just to satisfy our “self” (ban nga).

I didn’t get the meaning, until now !

The second story is about my uncle, the guy who got into Waterloo in Canada, the guy who earn more than 120,000 USD salary,sport enthusiasts, travelled around the world, living in 5 stars hotel, business class airplane,  have his own boat,no religion, the guy that can be called a “typical idol” for young people. At his prime, over 40s, Parkinson say “Hi” to him. He was not ready, all the physical materials he has possessed started to mean nothing. For many years, he ignored and didn’t accept the fact and questioned “Why are all these things happening to me?”. One year ago, Parkinson got worse ( Youtube “Parkinson” final stage, and you will see how terrible it is), he has to make a choice. He had to have a surgery, to put a “chip” (yes, a chip! a computer chip) into his brain, which means the doctor has to open his skull and implant it. The result : 50/50, either he can walk and move normal again, or things will get 10 times worse. You know, living in Canada makes you become more individualistic, people don’t call for help thanks to all the technology available. Now, he started to make contact with all the family members, including me. Again, 2 years ago, I didn’t know that he made constant contact with me because he thought that his time has come, that his surgery was 2 weeks away and he thought that he could not make it. But now, everything is now OK !

The third story is very short, a guy I know when I was in university, a gym enthusiast, 6 packs abs, 20 years old and have somewhat hard-to-cure disease. 20 years old, and have such experience. He is so young, there is a whole future await for him. Come on ! God is not fair this time.

At age 21, I faced somewhat called near-graduate crisis. I questioned about all those things around me, meaning of this life, my future, things I’m fighting for, things I’m scared. I began my journey to connect all the dots. I researched about Buddhism, I read books about life and death, I asked elder people, I am in a chaos of not knowing what will happening next. Life provide you many choice, why do I have to limit myself into a well-defined path. I face “society pressure”, ” peer pressure” or whatever you call it because I want to explore things outside my little world and don’t want to be in a cog in a machine. But… after connecting all the incidence in my life…

My lesson: Death makes you realize what’s important

1) Death is a destination we all share, I am already naked, there is nothing to lose. There is no reason to follow your heart and start doing things that matter. I shouldn’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with other’s people thinking and drown your own inner voice.

2) Be bold to peer pressure. Yes, peer pressure is good, it’s telling me that I am not good enough and continue for improvement, but I shouldn’t allow it to overwhelm me.

3) What people telling me today, they are not gonna remember it tomorrow. 100 years later,next generation will not remember me or any person that criticize me. The critics you receive today, doesn’t matter tomorrow because they we are all will be dead.

4) Fame & fortune have less meaning than I thought. The coffin closed everything. Contribute to things being bigger than myself although my name will not be remembered tomorrow!

5) Imagine that I will die tomorrow will makes all the differences in my choice.