SOMEBODY sent me an email chiding the method chosen by "two stage-4 cancer half-heroes" in the movie Bucket List, to spend the last few moments of their lives.
"In the movie, a great deal of time was spent on mundane sensual thrills. Except for family relationship perhaps and their new-found friendship, their bucket list lacked spirituality," the email went.
The email was forwarded by someone I knew who already had a bypass and just recently survived another attack on his heart.
I hoped that by forwarding an email about dying, it spoke less of my friend's physical health and more of another philosophical way of reminding me of my own march towards the inevitable.
The email, nonetheless, advises those who know they would "kick the bucket," or die, so to speak, to "strengthen your soul as your body ages and recedes…kick the bucket not with a bang but with quiet gentleness…go for enduring spiritual concerns…renew old songs, old movies, old friends, old places."
"Meditation, prayer, forgiveness, humility, giving, sharing…do not seek joy for yourself but for others which becomes your joy…give hope to the desperate," the email went on.
Finally, it advises that we "kick the bucket with a smile."
This person maybe ignorant of the pain a cancer patient feels. Fortunately, I haven't been diagnosed as yet of having the big C. Unfortunately, I know people who did. One of those is someone dear to me and died after her ovarian cancer spread throughout her body.
Believe you me, I know it wasn't as painful to see her in pain as the pain she physically felt.
Besides, who are we to judge the "spirituality" of the dying?
Would it be less spiritual for people to choose Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson characters' methods of "kicking the bucket"?
I haven't died but I don't think I'd give a shit anymore to whether I had a smile or not on my face. Besides my health care plan and bank account can only afford me to watch Freeman and Nicholson's characters tick off their things-to-do-before-I-die list.
"He's drooling, doc, should we give another morphine shot?" I'd like to hear the nurse say.
But the things the email sender advises people to do before they "kick the bucket" should be done even if the doctor gives us a clean bill of health or hold off the psychedelic juice.
Don't make imminent death an excuse to suddenly call for a group hug and sing Kumbaya. Rather, I suggest make Life the reason for giving hope to the desperate, for seeking joy for others and making it a personal happiness.
I always believe that what matters most is not the days spent before death but the life lived from the first breath.
We are merely mute witnesses on the periphery of history's passage; the ones who can only meditate how we will also be judged by time.
Waiter, 'sang bucket pa nga!
[Photo by Dennis D. Estopace, October 2009)