What do you do when a loved one is suffering, and you can’t do anything about it?

When disease ravages the mind and the body, and there is very little of what made them who they were, what do you do? Do you push through and fight the gods defiantly to extend their time on earth, or to meekly take what is dealt to you by destiny? But then, if they are suffering, isn’t it courageous to let them depart peacefully and without suffering? Could it cowardice driving you to keep them alive? The fear of having a void in your life, shaped like them.  Is one good day among countless painful days worth everything? Is one smile worth the price of months of pain?

When they don’t recognize the people they loved and there is irrational malice where there was always a cornucopia of love, what do you do? Do you continue to sift through the memories built over the decades to keep a version of them alive in your mind, or do you try to look hard for a sign that they know who you are today?  Or what if they have not forgotten at all, but the devious mind is playing tricks on them on what they see and what they speak? What if they’re still trapped inside that frail body, unable to say what they really want to say? If a person is but the sum of all their experiences, who is a person who has forgotten all their experiences?

When a loved one is suffering every day and the world seems like a deeply unhappy overcast grey, what do you do? When some around you withdraw into a shell and pull back from involvement; when some get into a flurry of diligent activity to keep busy; when some get caught up in the throes of hysteria; when some others weep in a silent corner; when some simply maintain a stoic and quiet presence, what do you do? Did the sight of such suffering at the end of a loved one’s life compel us to create the world of afterlife and rebirth, to console ourselves that they are off to a better place and may very soon be born as a tender baby somewhere else on earth?

The world can be a topsy turvy place even on a good day. Some days though, it can be outright bewildering. While life sometimes allows you the illusion of control, it is best not to think of things as under or out of our control. It is best to do the best we can, day after day, with utmost sincerity. Whether life is actually is completely preordained at birth, or it is a massively complex dynamic system that is the sum of all decisions made by all living beings at any given moment, one can only strive to do the best they can, to be the best they can. So you see, the suffering of our loved ones is not about us at all – we are but kindred spirits attached together for an ephemeral moment between life and death.

Then again, one is nothing but the sum of all their experiences. How can the experience of a loved one’s suffering transcend the pool of experiences without creating a ripple like a pebble on a placid lake? And so the ripple continues forever pushing outward on this infinite pool.