My first feeling of grief since the funeral

Bored after doing schoolwork for 8 hours straight, I clicked on the 觀音心咒 (Om Mane Padme Hum) mp3. As it started playing, I was suddenly struck with the memory of my last night with my Father.
He had stopped responding to our attempts to communicate for a week. His eyes did not close, whether night or day, glaring straight ahead. His mouth was gaping wide open, with the gas mask on. The sound of the gas blowing into the mask would have irritated him immensely, if he had been conscious. Thin, frail, like a pile of bones and skin, he lay on the bed, a pitiful past behind him, the end of the road in front of him.
That night, I brought an mp3 player with headphones, and stuck it into his ear. Whether he could or could not hear, I don’t know. The six syllable chant was something that he had done faithfully for 13 years in front of our altar, hoping and hoping against all hope that all the misfortunes would stop. Instead, downhill all the way, his faith ran dry.
Lying on the hospital bed, in that indescribable state, what could I do to help him? Throughout the night, I played the chant, the left earpiece in his left ear, the right earpiece in my right ear, praying, meditating on metta, dedicating my merits, dozing off, waking up with a start, waiting for him to take his next breath.
Playing the chant now rings the chord of pity and helplessness that I had felt.
Playing next is the Heart Sutra.
Empty, empty, everything is empty.
Like fools we are, us and our foolish pre-occupations.
Comedy, comedy, black is this comedy,
Like blind madmen, self-absorbed without cessation.
Hurry, hurry and meditate.
Before it is too late.
If you don’t know how, at least contemplate:
Why is dying and sickness our inenvitable fate?

1 Comment

  1. Mr. said,

    7 September 2006 at 23:43

    Well I do suppose you know who I am, even though I\’ve officially declared myself missing from the Buddhist Society ever since my final contribution towards Lamp of Wisdom (remember the bloodbath picture of the bamboo grove we did using Photoshop?).
    This comment is simply to let you know that when you speak, sometimes people do listen. Partly this is because MSN Spaces seems to be even more accessible than Blogspot, especially if one is plugged into MSN Messenger. Yet more importantly, granted I\’m no Uncle Agony of sorts blessed with the gift of dishing out comforting words like some online literary Mother Theresa, I do hope life gets better for you & for everyone. This semester has been insanely arduous for a lot of people I know, and one could only wish for the best and may everyone make it through sane & sound.
    Don\’t bother replying to this post because I probably won\’t read it anyway. Still, I wish you all the best and do take care.
    ~ Mr. Loh

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