Dylan was in his thirties when his father died. He was not ready to see his father pass away. He wanted his father to stay here, to be alive, to avoid the inevitable end each of us faces.
While Dylan Thomas's message is a good one for giving it our best shot, it fails to recognize that acceptance of dying is required of all of us. We will die, and in that moment, acceptance - not fighting - is the thing we should most want. "It is appointed unto man (and woman) once to die."
We cannot escape this journey. All of us will make it, and we will make it one at a time, as our life leaves us and we make our way to the next thing which awaits us. There is a time to fight disease and injury. There is a time to surrender to it. Either one takes courage when it is the called for response.
People who are dying need to know their loved ones accept their decision to "give up the ghost" when that time comes. I have known a number of people, mainly in my parents' generation, who have been joyous when they approached their death. They saw it coming. They made peace with it. They glowed with a joy I can barely describe.
It has been written that people rapidly approaching death have responded in a manner which might lead one to believe they saw a coming glory. We are all free to believe whatever we wish. I believe there's something glorious after this life, but I'm still scared of dying, still not ready to go yet.
I can't say I'll rage against the dying. Having seen suffering by loved ones and others who clung to life, I'm sure I don't want to go out like that. Living a life where I'm unable to care for myself is a frightening thought. Living a life which costs large sums of money to keep me alive doesn't appeal to me, either.
Because of Dylan's Thomas's age, I don't think he saw death the same way his father might have. His father may have been ready to go. His father may not have wanted to wage the battle Dylan urged.
When our loved ones face their end, when they have disease or other malady to face, our duty is to be supportive, not to mandate that they fight. Each of us is endowed by God with our own mind, our own heart, and the essence of who we are. When each of us decides we are ready to go, loved ones should stand four square behind that.
Of course, I'm just one man, and this is my personal opinion.
© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore, All Rights Reserved.