It was symbolic, poignant and a little sad. One day at the dump I came across a wooden sign lying on the ground. It said “Compassion. Something we could all use more of.” It had been broken into pieces by a vehicle driving over it, so nothing to salvage and it would soon be buried in the dump with the other garbage. Perhaps this was an omen for our current times.

Many years ago, I read a book about Tibet which was primarily a Buddhist country. They believed that when people die, they get reincarnated. It was an interesting book and one part of it has always stuck with me.

It described the custom, that when a person was dying, a specially trained monk from a nearby monastery would come to be with that person to help with their physical and spiritual needs. Their goal was to make the passing from this life to the next as tranquil and peaceful as possible. If the person had friends and loved ones near it also helped them. But it also meant if the person had no kin or friends nearby, at least they did not face this alone.

I read this. I thought about it. And it struck me that this was a much more enlightened and compassionate way of doing things than our current system here in Canada and many other countries around the world.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to appreciate this concept. If you were alone in the hospital or a senior’s home, wouldn’t you want someone to come around? Someone to talk to. Someone to get the little comforts or treats you may not have with you. It would be the human and compassionate thing to do.

It is something that should be part of our health care system because being isolated, alone, and possibly scared is not good for your mental and physical health. It would certainly be an asset if the person spoke the same language and culture as yours.

Also, if you have a loved one nearby who wants to be with you, they should not be barred by some silly bureaucratic rule or mandate. If your child, mate, friend or relative is seriously ill or dying you should have a right to be with them. I would have thought this would have been covered by our Declaration of Rights and Freedoms but obviously it isn’t.

So we need a law that beats all others that says “No one dies alone” or one that defines the basic principles of compassion which must be applied to. If the authorities feel they have a compelling reason to prevent you from being with a loved one, they will need a court order to enforce it.

Some people have been barred from being with their loved ones in hospitals and seniors’ homes because of a mandate that says you can not go if you haven’t been vaccinated. In a court case, one could show that vaccine effectiveness can range from a low number like 30% to a high of 93% but they are never 100% efficient. So, a vaccinated person who shows no symptoms but has covid is allowed in. However, an unvaccinated person who tests negative for covid is not allowed in to be with a dying spouse. That is just not right or compassionate.

Also, whoever made that rule or mandate should have to take a refresher course in compassion and there really should be a compassionate scoring system for government rules, regulations, mandates, and policies.

If you think about it, if all rules and policies had to pass a compassion test, that would solve a whole lot of problems. I wish I had gathered up the pieces of that sign and glued them back together, because it really is something we could all use more of.

Two and a half thousand years ago a Greek named Aesop said “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” That is something for the public and our leaders to think about with everything that is going on.

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