“Everything Comes to An End In Time”
That’s the first thing he said to me as we looked each other in the eyes and clasped each other’s hand.
It was late Saturday morning at his home in Ottawa and we were alone in his bedroom, as he requested one on one meetings with each person. His body was failing but his brain was still as sharp as ever. He continued to tell me that my marriage was a success, he admired how we had faced and overcome many difficulties, he commented on his health and kids, then he asked me to take care of his sister. I told him that I would, as well as kids and wife, then we said I love you to each other.
Born in British Cyprus, Ozay Mehmet was a graduate of the London School of Economics and received his PhD from Toronto University.
As a specialist in economic development, he consulted for the World Bank, Canadian International Development Agency and the United Nations which took him to Malasia, Indonesia, Uganda, Liberia, Ethiopia, Jordan, and Guyana. He also taught at Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa and Carleton universities and was Dean of Economics at Eastern Mediterranean University, and a founding rector of Finale University. In addition, he authored 21 books, over 100 academic articles and two historical novels.
In 1970 when he learned that his parents were about to marry his 16-year old little sister to a rich old man, he brought her to Ontario and took total responsibility for her.
In the spring, Ozay discovered he had stage 4 prostate cancer upon which he made the decision to communicate his will, wishes and distribution of assets with his wife, children, and others not just in writing, but also in person.
That meeting has had a profound effect on me. It is the first time that I have had the opportunity to say an absolute goodbye to a person. In the past I have known that others were ill or heard that they died and reflected on their life in various ways, but always after. This experience has compellingly brought home the fact that my time here is limited, and it has pushed me to ask questions about my priorities, needs, wishes, what I do not want, and what’s on my bucket list.
It has elevated my appreciation for family and community. I admire his initiative to decide to, then acting to set up the experience of reflecting together, then saying goodbye. It was a truly unique privilege. The experience also revealed the possibility that I may have more time than
he did, therefore it’s time to define needs and take action. It’s time to recognize that while I have always saved and put things off for another day, the other day is now. It has also reinforced commitment to what I stand for and our first principle – The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person is at the top of that list.
It has increased my appreciation for family and our UU community. Love for our nation and our planet has been heightened. I recognize also that our nation has the world’s highest population percentages of mass killings and suicides, and the income gap is expanding.
We are in a world where anti Semitism, Islamophobia, Racism, Homophobia Misogynism and Genocide are growing. It has increased the desire to constantly look around to identify and build on what we
have in common. It has sparked the desire to collaborate more with individuals and organizations of like minds, because our strength from working together will pave the way for a better future for us all.
Ozay decided and got approval, as is legal in Canada, to receive MAID – Medical Assistance In Dying scheduled for November 24. He even arranged and paid for a celebration of his life event for 170 people. His one on one with his little sister and then me (her husband) was on Saturday, November 11. On Monday, November 13 he died in his sleep, leaving a wife three sons and two sisters.
How much time do you have? What do you want? What are you saving for another day? What do you not want? What’s on your bucket list? What do you stand for? What decisions are you about to take?
”Everything Comes To An End In Time”