Losing my son was like losing my life

I was a career woman, happy wife, and mother to 3 beautiful children.  Like many others, I enjoyed holidays, good food, shopping, and spending time with my family, but my life changed 6 years ago.  I was busy as usual when my eldest son, JP, invited me to have dinner with him. I almost rejected him but was touched by his kind intentions, so we had a wonderful mother-son date that night.  He even posted a photo of us with the hashtag ‘boyfriend of the day’.  After he brought me home, he went out to play futsal.  He said, “I’m leaving Mi”.  I too waved “Bye”.

Just 20 minutes later, JP’s friend called to say that he had fainted.  When I arrived, JP’s lips had already turned a dull purple.  The doctor announced him dead on arrival at the hospital.  I could not believe what had happened but I stayed calm… maybe I was just numb.  I kissed his cheeks and told him “I love you, JP” without shedding a tear.

It was only a week later that it dawned on me – my son is gone.  I cried day and night, and even thought about dying so that I could be with him.  I tried many ways to overcome my despondence, such as psychiatric help, self-hypnosis, and medication, but nothing helped.  My husband took me for many long holidays abroad but they only provided temporary happiness.  My life was empty, and nothing could free me from this pain. I missed him so much.  I was so tired.

At that time, my daughter joined her university’s Buddhist society and she sent links to a few talks.  I could not really understand these talks, but I was getting more curious and had even more questions.  Fortunately, I found a Buddhist centre which conducted Dhamma classes for adults and since then I have been learning Dhamma at any time I could spare.  The Buddha’s teachings on overcoming attachment and grief made so much sense.  When I put them into practice, I found some relief from the pain of loss.

I also joined the weekly evening meditation sessions.  Again, with no clue of what it was, I just persisted and followed my teacher’s advice to “note, note, note” everything that arises!  Within a year, I went for a few retreats, as the energy aroused in me.  I could see as things arise and cease.  I gained direct experience of seeing impermanence and dukkha, and how craving created suffering within myself.  From this seeing, I experienced calmness.

Finally, I was able to overcome my grief and understand life better.  I observed the emotion of missing JP arising, and I witnessed that feeling fading away.  I cherish the time I had with him and make peace with the fact that it had come to an end.  Now I focus on what needs to be done before death knocks on the door.  I truly treasure the present moment and am thankful for what I am blessed with now!  Out of gratitude, I started to offer my service at the Buddhist centre in the hopes that more people can benefit from the enlightening Dhamma.

My confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha continues to grow with every learning, reflection and experience.  I express my eternal gratitude to all my Dhamma Teachers both monastic and lay, spiritual friends and community who helped me see the Truth of life.  Through this Dhamma journey, I have grown to be a better person at home and at work.  I am happier, more contented, compassionate, patient and accepting of life as it comes. Even though I have lost a son, I am grateful to have found the Dhamma.  Thank you JP, you brought Dhamma to my Life.