Death & Dying: Farewell

Few weeks ago, I woke up to find these words in an email “…he committed suicide.” Suicide: the action of killing oneself intentionally. I stood, staring at my iPhone as the word suicide repeated over and over in my head. There were so many emotions that washed over me all at once – anger, fear, regret, remorse, grief, and others that I have no words for. This is the first time I was touched by suicide. As though I was on autopilot, I showered, got dressed and went to work. It seemed strange that time continued to pass, all of my day’s obligation still existed despite this incredible tragedy.

Later that day, I searched for all the emails we’ve exchanged and read it. I looked at the words said and words unsaid. I wanted to find the unsaid words, the words I should have heard. I went to Google, typed in his name and read through all 14 pages of Google results. I looked at all the search results from Google images. I also read through his Facebook posts. I don’t know exactly what I was looking for or why I was doing this but I did. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I must have missed something. Maybe if I found some clue that he was reaching out for help, I can go from grieving to being angry at myself.

His obituary said he was 24 years old… When I read that, I felt rage, it welled up from some deep part of me. Then I felt sorrow. He didn’t have perspective of his older self to tell his younger self that this pain he’s experiencing, this will pass.

Few days after reading that email, I connected with the friend who shared the sad news. As soon as I got on the phone, we both started to cry. It was a deep release of pain, sorrow, grief and all the things that was said and unsaid. Despite the pain, at some point during the call, we both noticed a sense of kindness, gentleness and sweetness – both of us crying, sharing our humanness.

There was no looking away from the pain. No attempt to hide. No attempt to deny our sorrow. I practiced and felt what it meant to be truly in my grief. It reminded me of this poem:

Don’t turn your head.
Keep looking
at the bandaged place.
That’s where
the Light enters you.

~Rumi

 

The sense I’m left with is incompleteness. I’ll never know this beautiful human being as his older self. I’ll never get a chance to ask my many questions.

Sigh. I really miss you, my dear, beautiful, darling friend.

 

PS – After my friend’s suicide, I came across this podcast on On Being titled Suicide, and Hope for Our Future SelvesPerhaps you may find it helpful as well.

 

photo credit: Mara ~earth light~ via photopin cc

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Post image for Body Scan Meditation (30 Minutes)

When I started meditating, I hated the body scan. The teacher would say, “now feel your left foot” and I’d want to scream, “what do you mean, FEEL my left foot?” When I told him about my very negative reaction, he suggested I approach those feelings with curiosity. That suggestion really annoyed me. Why would I turn towards the negative feelings? Despite the annoyance, frustration and anger, I persisted. Then I began to notice that these feelings were prevalent in other parts of my life. I’d feel mild lingering of annoyance, frustration and anger when I was standing in line at the grocery store, talking to clients, talking to opposing counsel, talking to my mom, and on and on.

That was my “ah ha!” moment. Meditation allows us to observe our mind and it’s a snapshot of our mindstate – how we interact in our world. So, if you find yourself feeling frustrated with the body scan, I feel your pain! My best suggestion is to keep at it and turn towards whatever feelings, sensations (or lack of sensations) that may arise.

If you have any questions or comments, please drop me an email – jcho@jclawgroup.com

Warmly,

Jeena

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Death & Dying: Living Each Moment

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Last weekend, I went camping with my husband. While there, I saw our neighbor’s dog – a golden retriever walking towards us. He was limping and clearly in pain. His hair was frizzy and felt rough to the touch. His owner (along with a 6 month old baby) came by and explained the dog had cancer and […]

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Day 112 – Reliving Childhood Injury

I’m taking a Journaling class at The Writing Salon. There’s about 12 students, all women. Frequently, we’ll be given a prompt and asked to write about it. We wrote one on childhood injury or illness. As we went around the room and shared our writing, I thought it would make for a really good This […]

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Day 113 – Meditation 101

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Meditation is good for the brain. I think about meditation as exercise for the brain. It’s also a time where I can tune in and pay attention to what’s going on inside my body, my heart, and my soul. If you’ve wanted to try meditation, here are some tips and suggestions. How to Meditate Sit […]

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Day 114 – Living with the Inner Critic

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The Amazing Brain The brain is an amazing problem solving organ. When you pose a question, the brain immediately goes into doing mode and comes up with the answers. The trouble is, we don’t always ask the right questions, especially when the inner critic is doing the talking. Meet the Inner Critic The inner critic is […]

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Day 115 – Perspective on Pain

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Pain. It’s the black sheep of the emotional family. In meditation, we are encouraged to cultivate a friendly attitude towards all emotions that bubble up during our sitting practice. This includes exploring pain. For a long time, I resisted this idea. After all, it seems crazy – why on earth would I spend any time […]

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Day 116 – Put down the damn iPhone!

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I really really really love my iPhone. It helps me stay connected to my Facebook and Twitter friends. I can stay connected to my clients and my work. I can text people. There are gazillion apps to solve every woes. It promises almost endless hours of distractions. Somewhere along the way, I became one of those people. […]

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Day 117 – Why are you here?

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I started meditating because I needed to find a way to cope. I have a tendency to internalize all of my client’s problems. When you practice bankruptcy law, you see a lot of suffering. That’s a lot to carry with you 24/7/365. What I didn’t expect when I started meditating was the fundamental internal changes […]

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Day 118 – After Anxiety and Insomnia

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Life After (Less) Anxiety It’s been 2 months since I finished the Stanford 8-week Mindfulness course. I signed up for the class because I needed a different strategy to cope with the anxiety, stress and pressure of practicing law. (Who am I kidding, I didn’t have any strategy.) Over the years, it felt as though my […]

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