Throughout our 20-years-plus lifespan, there must be times when we feel like saying ‘I feel like dying’ (when we’re down with the most horrible flu), or ‘Die, you idiot!’ (When some reckless pakcik pete-pete almost hit us at the side of the road), or even ‘Kill! Kill! Kill! Die! Die! Die! (In some Godforsaken video game where we massacre a whole village of monsters). Life, death, and dying – these we keep saying in our many conversations, sometimes consciously, but most of the times unconsciously, almost like a natural thing in the world to be talked about.
Well, at least for me it was.
I have just had the privilege to start learning Forensic Medicine, and even though we haven’t covered much, there are a few vital things that our beloved Dr. Cahyono has taught us, like the medical definition of death, and the changes that occur to a person once he is declared ‘dead’. And I have to say that throughout the lecture (and until now), I was- humbled beyond all means, and scared too. Humbled at the realization that we are such a vain, weak creatures who always boast our God-given gifts like knowledge, money, power, and taking for granted our sense of hearing, seeing, listening, and speaking by doing the forbidden, the unlawful, and indulging in laghw’ (useless acts). And secondly, scared at the realization that death is just lurking in the corner, waiting. Scared of facing the Angel of Death, scared of being left alone in the tiny confines of the grave, scared of facing the two angels that are going to interrogate me for my deeds (and smite me for my wrong answers), scared of facing the Judgment Day…in short, just plain scared.
Rumi had once said:
…Death has nothing to do with going away.
The sun sets and the moon sets,
But they’re not gone.
Death is a coming together.
The tomb looks like a prison,
But it’s really a release into Union…
Yes, the sufists welcome death like we would a newborn baby. To them, death is the moment when they will finally be united with their Beloved. Think of how beautiful that is.
Somehow it alters our revolting perception of death, making us work for the Hereafter with love. And when combined with our medical and forensic knowledge, it makes us strive to do more good in this world minus the pride and arrogance, because when the time comes, we are nothing but just another rotten food for the earthworms.
P/s: I strongly recommend the novel ‘Contagion’ by New York Times best-selling author Robin Cook, MD. It presents a very interesting, revealing, and thoughtful insight on Forensic Medicine and the deadly dangers of infectious diseases.