Monday, August 30, 2010

Letting Go Lesson

AIDS had dealt him its final blow, and now it was death's turn to march in with its unmistakable signs. Even the purple spray bottle, that's used to moisten the mouth of those during their last hours, had been stored away. There were was nothing left to do but sit, and be with Doug. Amidst the narrow space,  between the huge oxygen bottle, the long tube, and his bed, I managed to squeeze in a chair.  

Sitting, I was struck by the poignancy of Doug's situation. Doug was dying alone in the midst of the Laguna Honda open ward. His body showed signs of what must have been a hard life, with messy tattoos scattered all along his arms. I wanted to know more about him. During our first encounter last week, I had not been able to make sense of his words, only than he had just come from UCSF. Looking around Doug's bed, I found no personal belongings, other than a bible, and even that, I was not sure was his. Inside the holy book, a business card from a social worker at UCSF, and a dirty envelope with his name hastily scribbled, that held pictures of a lonesome baby cat.

Sitting, I took in the tension between Doug's almost complete stillness, and my own agitation. Despite all my intention to be calm and open, something inside was resisting. There was tightness in the throat, and the chest, and the stomach also. A whole blockade meant to oppose, and cling. The longer I sat, the stronger the walls of the fortress. Meanwhile, I could feel Doug drifting away more and more, into a place of utter surrender, with only a few rises and falls of the chest, here and there. Light, effortless.

Sitting, I let Doug show me the way. And I realized I need not wait until death comes, to let go.


  1. Show me the way to go home... Remind yourself, this the fast path of Dhamma(the way things are).