- Remind them what they’ve done or what they did
- Point out to them that this (their life, their family, everything good and bad that they’ve done) will eventually be forgotten
- Whatever palliative medicine they’re receiving, take it away and no matter how they beg for it, don’t give it back
- Invite each of their enemies over (unexpectedly) for one last little chat
- Make as many references to your plans once the dying person is finally gone
Now, I realise this isn’t the nicest of lists, but I have one very pointed question for those of you who may or may not be offended.
Why are we trying so hard to make things easier for the dying?
Certainly, if they’ve had a good life and made some sort of peace with everyone in it, then the above list will be useless. It won’t touch them. They’re immune from my machinations.
Please don’t think I’ve done any of these things on my list. I’m actually quite pleasant and caring to the people in my life who’re at death’s door. I learned quite a lot while watching my father slowly die of complications related to his diabetes.
He died six years ago last week, and lately my thoughts’ve been swirling around topics of mortality. It’s actually quite understandable.
So, what’d possess me to make such a heartless list of cruelty like the one above? What’s wrong with me?
Well, I’ve got a simple answer for you in the form of a few questions.
Why? Why should I forgive what’s been done to me? What benefit does it serve?
I know a bit about Buddhism, and I know the tenet that carrying around such bitterness is akin to taking poison. Not only am I aware of this, but I even try to practice forgiveness. And most of the time I’m pretty good at it. Most of the time.
But like an irregular French verb, there are always exceptions. And what to do with those? Aren’t there some things that’re unforgivable? I believe that the jury’s still out on that one.