A Change of Guard

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Monday, 31 December 2012

A father’s wish fulfilled [Princess Norodom Soma's father's wish has been fulfilled]

By Princess Soma Norodom (pictured above)

Phnom Penh Post
31 December 2012

When a person moves closer towards death, he may experience a surge of energy as he gets nearer. He may talk to loved ones, or ask for food after days of no appetite.
This surge of energy may be unnoticed, but it is usually a dying person’s final physical expression before moving on.
The main fear of death in most cases is due to a fear of the unknown.
On Sunday, my beloved father passed away. He was 77-years-old. And before he died, he had this surge of energy, witnessed by me and my cousins.
No matter how much you prepare for this moment, death arrives in its own time, and in its own way.
Then a dilemma arose, and it was one I was not prepared for. We had to decide whether to have the doctor remove the pacemaker from his chest. A pacemaker is a small device inserted in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms.
This device uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.
When the doctor pronounced him dead, the doctor and the nurse asked if I wanted them to take his pacemaker out.
I was still in a state of shock from his death, but had to suddenly decide if I want the doctor to cut my father open and pull out the pacemaker.
I called my sister in the US and told her the sad news, and also asked if I should have the pacemaker removed from his body. She did not know the answer.
His wish was to be cremated, like the majority of Buddhists in Cambodia, but we weren’t sure if it mattered that the pacemaker was inside his body.
I called my girlfriend and luckily her husband works in the medical field, and he said the pacemaker must be removed before cremation.
The intense heat of the cremation process could make the pacemaker explode, endangering people and damaging equipment.
Pacemakers contain mercury that would be released into the atmosphere, and there is a danger of an explosion.
Other large metallic pieces, such as jewellery and prosthetics, should be removed before cremation as well.
The nurse advised me that the pacemaker would explode during the cremation, but I wasn’t sure, and I had to make a quick decision during this emotional state which I was in.
“Go ahead,” I said. “Take out the pacemaker”.
The doctor performed the surgery at Wat Than pagoda, where my father’s body would be for five days. I watched my father’s chest being opened, the pacemaker being removed, and the chest being stitched back together.
It was a shocking experience.
When a person is ready to die and you are able to let go, saying goodbye is your final gift of love.
The tears are a normal and natural part of saying goodbye.
I have done both this week.
My father, Prince Norodom Vatvani, was cremated at Wat Than Pagoda in Phnom Penh yesterday. He is finally now at peace and where he wished to be, in his homeland of Cambodia.                        

The Social Agenda with Soma Norodom
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.


Anonymous said...

To princess Soma,
I would like to share my sincere condolences to you and your family.
It is very sad and a very difficult time for you and as I am a human I can imagine how much the pain that you and you family have had. We human more or less share the same feeling about this tragic event in life across the globe. This sadness is some time is uncontrollable, yet it is very universal feeling, principally motivated by the force of love, affection, caring, time and memory, which is bonded in our heart and mind.

Perhaps, this emotion that comes out of our faculty of knowledge which is a mysterious gift to human being called consciousness, which also separated us from others animals or beings. They say when we mourn our lost one, it seems that time stops moving and you feel the sacred state of mind that free us from the earthy concept, which filled with karma or sins. Some would never recover from this feeling for the rest of their lives.

Our lives is of course is a journey, that cannot be played back like in a film. Some see this journey as an opportunity to obtain the merits for their next life as our existence is governed and recorded by God. Some also see death as a complemented thing that will renew or free their soul from this violence paradise into the next one. When I talk about all of this concept of live I am sure that not many people believe in it, or they might view it differently from me, but I would like to share with you that our existence is mysterious. Scientist, of course, can only explain about the DNA of God’s elements, the atom,which itself is composed of even smaller subatomic particles, such as protons, neutrons and electrons ,but none of them can tell the origin or the big history that go beyond the Big Bang or the big history of God’s Great Great grandfather. Yes, when we talk about elements it is a complicated knowledge, and scientists acknowledged that atom cannot be destroyed, isn’t it a glue? for us to realised that it is atoms that made the air we breath, the breads we eat and the bricks that build the houses, and of course our body too, which is the house of our soul, cannot be destroyed too?. We are not scientist, we don’t know much about the quantum theory, but I am sure we certainly have the ability to sum up the mysterious question without the answer of chicken and egg that human have been searching for the answer since they started walking on this planet. I don’t believe many things in religions, but I do respect them and I truly believe that there is someone, who are greater than us out there.
Yes, I am talking too much about my philosophy, but my soul purpose is to make you feel free and except that nothing in our live is eternal, like lord Buddha said more than two thousand and five hundred years ago that when there is a physical body there is disease , there is suffering and death, and no one can escape this law of the universe. As our world in the 21st century is getting faster, many of us seem to forget the prime purpose of life that evolve with very important questions such as ,why do we exist? What are we living for? what should I do for the next unknown life? Perhaps, if everyone asking these questions they might be a better persons and the world would be a better place.

When I red your article about your father passed away and the process that you had to face and it made me feel very sad, but I really appreciate your bravery to cope with all of those moments and especially you don’t mind to share honest emotion with the public at large. I believe that your grieve certainly will be shared by many others and it will enrich and remind each other about the cycle of life itself.

May your father’s soul rest in peace.

True Khmer

Anonymous said...

Wow! True Khmer!,Don't dare to say anything much but to share my condolence and sadness with my princess Soma during this difficult time,i am grief with you and your families in the time as this from a distance
your father was a good man for his beloved country and his fellow cambodians people.May his soul rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

I share my condolence with Princess Soma also. My the soul of your father rest in peace.

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