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Ramona’s Ramblings

Come Sail Away

Ramona Jan
Posted 2/8/22

According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, what really matters in life is death.

Specifically how one faces the end because, as they say, death is the crowning glory of life. Well, that’s …

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Ramona’s Ramblings

Come Sail Away


According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, what really matters in life is death.

Specifically how one faces the end because, as they say, death is the crowning glory of life. Well, that’s nice to know.

Since 2018, I’ve had no less than three oncologists panic at the mere sight of my lab reports; inoperable, advanced cervical cancer with a large tumor.

One of them even freaked out when I told him I wasn’t going to use any of his treatments; no scans, chemo or radiation. What do I say to my current oncologist when he tells me: ‘you should be dead’ – and I’m not?

The details of how I dealt with my cancer in a natural fashion will someday fill a book. What really matters now is that I think about death and dying every day, whereas before, I didn’t.

I’d like to go back to the way it used to be, but innocence has been lost. What now could possibly be found?

I had just finished washing my hands in the bathroom sink when I suddenly felt uplifted and that I loved everyone, even my mother-in-law.

When I asked a spiritual teacher what had happened, he said, it was a gift of ‘no-mind’ and that I should never speak of it again. And then he added, presence is the cessation of thought without the loss of consciousness.

I’m running a bath. My hands are under the faucet. I hear and feel the water and then I don’t hear or feel the water. What happened? I didn’t leave the room. I just started daydreaming.

‘The light of presence knows no suffering’ says my guru, who hates being called a guru.

I’m reminded of the tarot card; the magician. Standing before a table with the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, the magician raises one hand toward the heavens; the other points at the ground.

I take it to mean that somehow I have to balance this absurd physical body with the essence of an invisible energy; whatever animates us; call it a soul, light, the cosmos, source, god, whatever you want.

Too bad a wayward mind is at the helm of it all constantly inventing stories, scenarios, replaying the past, imagining the future, over-thinking, over-working. Sometimes there’s even a soundtrack; an earworm – lately it’s Come Sail Away by Styx.

Worst of all, whatever’s going on in my mind is always a cheap fiction as compared to the present. At the end of my cheap fiction, of course, someday I’ll die.

This brings the question of having the right to die as I see fit; a discussion that caused great strain between myself and the first two oncologists.

My current oncologist laughs heartily when I bring up end-of-life care because, in me, he can’t find any more cancer. Keep doing whatever you’re doing he says.

It’s such a new experience collaborating with a medical professional that I regularly accuse him of sneaking into a doctor’s coat and that he’s really the janitor.

Death looms in a real way for all cancer patients, cured or otherwise, even though nobody knows how or when they will die, including myself. My aunt died in her sleep. Hopefully, it runs in the family.

Walking along River Road, I ask myself, ‘why am I here and what am I?’

When death happens will I become the winds and rains of heaven; the rising tides of oceans or will I just cease altogether to exist?

Come spring, I’ll till the soil; try not to slip through the cracks of now and then. And if you ask me if I have a future, I’ll say ‘yes.’ In it, there will be flowers because I’m planting them.


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