I found myself repeating what I did to my grandmother who passed away almost 30 years ago but it was my mother this time. She passed away on the 26th of August 2016. The doctor called for us to come immediately to the hospital which we all knew it was bad news. When I reached the hospital my mum’s heart beat was already very weak, I reached out to her ears and whispered ” Mummy I love you, please forgive me for all that I’ve done wrong, do not worry about us and go in peace” My family each took their turn to whisper something to her ears, her heartbeat was still beating but very weak. I went up to her the second time round and  whispered once again ” Mummy, everyone is all here, you should not worry about us anymore, there is a better place for you to go. I give you permission to die, go in peace” immediately after saying that her heartbeat started to fade away. She passed away very peacefully in her sleep with no struggles or showed any signs of suffering.

I did not shed a tear, not in the hospital and neither during her funeral. Some people may say that I’m emotionless or have no sense of empathy but death is a natural part of life be they young or old. There is no certainty at all and we will all succumb to it sooner or later. After a thunderstorm you may sometimes see broken branches with young buds on it, you may also see old dried leaves on the same branch as well. Young or old we succumb to nature when our time is up, If we are conscious everyday and know that we are all mortals and that life can be taken away from us anytime, we will be more prepared for it, however most times we think that we are immortal and that’s why when we plan for the future even before things starts to happen we almost always assume that what we plan we will see thru it. What if we died before our plans has been executed? Will our friends,families or partners be prepared for all that? We are taught in the Dharma that we should not carry our past with us, neither should we overthink about our future because neither can help the present moment but only gives us more stress.

It was mentioned in the Tirokudha Sutra that

“No weeping, nor yet sorrowing,
Nor any kind of mourning helps
Departed Ones, whose kin remain
(Unhelpful to them acting) thus.”

Therefore instead of crying, it is better to do merits for the departed in the form of Dana(Giving food) or robes to the monks, while the monks chanted while we pour water(Kuad Nam) into a bowl as cleansing; we should contemplate on our departed and wish they will receive all the good merits that we have done for them. Chant the abstract of the Tirokudhha Sutra below for them.

Adasi me, akasi me, natimitta sakha ca me
Petanam dakkhinam dajja pubbe katam anussaram

He gave to me, he worked for me,
He was my kin, friend, intimate.
Give gifts, then, for departed ones,
Recalling what they used to do.

Na hi punnam va soko va ya c’anna paridevana
Na tarn petanam atthaya, evam titthanti natayo.

No weeping, nor yet sorrowing,
Nor any kind of mourning helps
Departed Ones, whose kin remain
(Unhelpful to them acting) thus.

Ayan ca kho dakkhina dinna sanghamhi supatitthita
Digharattam hitay’assa thanaso upakappati.

But when this offering is given
Well placed in the Community
For them, then it can serve them long
In future and at once as well.

So natidhammo ca ayam nidassito
Petanam puja ca kata ulara
Balan ca bhikkhunam anuppadinnam
Tumehi punnam pasutam anappakanti.

The True Idea for relatives has thus been shown.
And how high honour to departed ones is done
And how the bhikkhus can be given strength as well.
And how great merit can be stored away by you.

The last thought of our last breath is the most important, that will determine where we will go in our next life. If we practice giving charity, keeping our 5 precepts and meditating daily. It will be easier to focus on our attention.