Thursday, April 21, 2011


Grim Reaper at Lincoln City
It's spring and in spring one's mind naturally turns towards death, as snowdrops turn their droopy heads toward the compost they sprung from.  I don't know why death is so dear to me lately.  Since high school, when our school's smartest and snarliest guy went all blase about someone's dear relative's death and drolled, "Death is just as much a part of life as life is,"  I've understood this concept.  And I have contemplated it in detail.  For what is life for, other than thinking about death?  I am no aimless wanderer, I know just where all of this living is headed.  I know where I am going and I think it behooves me to spend most of my journey contemplating exactly that.  I'm kidding.  Living, is just as much a part of death as death is.  So, now we've figured out the destination but I'm still not sure which road I'm taking to get there.  But I seem to be getting closer anyway.  Maybe death is more of an as-the-crow-flies thing instead of an as-they-slapped-down-the-roads issue.

I've thought a lot about death.  Not what comes after.  There's no point in thinking about that.  This doesn't keep my children from constantly arguing about it, however.  While other people's kids fight over the remote control, mine come to blows over the afterlife.  We had another round just this Tuesday, as a matter of fact. Blue: nothing.  Coyote: heaven.  Blue: nothing.  Coyote: god. 

Actually, I have thought about what comes after death, a pointless exercise or not.  I just can't help myself. 
And I've thought about how I'll die. Usually, what happens is, I get a runny nose.  And my differential goes like this: Lou Gehrig's?  Ebola? Alzheimers?  Cancer? pre-cancer?  I can usually talk myself down to "cold" but it might take an hour or two.  Maybe it will be an industrial accident and that's why I don't want to go to work.  Anyway, thinking about how I'll die is also kind of pointless.  Thinking itself seems kind of pointless, frankly.  But that never seems to stop me for doing it, and doing it too much.  Perhaps THAT's what makes people go cross-eyed.

But back to death,  I think lots of other pointless and ineffectual things about death.  Such as how come we seem so opposed?  Why do we keep making it legally impossible?  Between the FAA and dragged out death scenes that go on for years, and sometimes decades, it seems the one thing we Americans can't tolerate is death. 

And also, I think about why death exists at all.

Maiden, Mother, Crone
Of course, just like everyone else on this planet, I don't relish enduring the death of a loved one. Ick.  And I don't really like to imagine them enduring my death, if they really love me like they say they do.  And I tend to be superstitious about it.  I don't imagine that in most cases it is pleasant to endure, whatever part you're playing.  It's the suffering associated with it.  It's the missing.  And the finality. No one can make amends then.  No one can say that one last important thing.  And I fear and dread that aspect of it.  The going-on when it's over for a part of you.  So other than death totally sucking and being perhaps the worst part about life,  there are other things to think about it. 

I can think a lot of things about a lot of topics, as you can probably tell, but sometimes after thinking about something, reasoning it out, coming to logical conclusions (I did get a 4.0 in Logic) or not so logical, the truth of what I've thought-out will wash over me as an emotional/spiritual wave.  And I'll suddenly get it, like a religious experience: oh my god! That's true!  And I'll feel it all over, in all my buzzing little cells.

Death of a Ruddy Duck Pinata.

And that's death for me right now. I am so very thankful for death.  Death is perhaps one of the greatest miracles (after living, of course) that any of us will ever take part in.  Death is amazing.  Death has done me well.  A) It's made room for me here.  Imagine 14 billion people on this planet.  Nope.  I never would have been born.  And maybe my existence is great or not-so-great to you, but that's all pointless to contemplate.  I'm here now and I've managed to find a way to think that's pretty cool, and I think you should too.  B) Every thing I eat is dead.  Plants, mostly.  All dead. And they all grew from dead things.  I'm out in my garden for hours every day now and I'm up to my elbows in death.  Planting little seeds in it.  Cute, ookey-bookey, lil' seeds.  And killing quack grass, evil serpentine quack grass  C)  I am totally 100% post-consumer recycled product. I am ABC gum.  Everything in me has already been caught, devoured, and released.  And here I am. 

And I feel it.  I stretch out on my spring dirt.  I make full-body contact with it.  I lay in my garden rows, and I feel that dirt all along me.  And that glorious death.  A riot of death.  A hootenanny of death.  A bosom of death.  Ahhh... bury me alive... in all this death...but leave a little air hole for now.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, think about death a lot. Sometimes I can't wait. I mean, come on, let's get it over with. What, I have to work how many more years, then experience maybe two years of actual physically relatively healthy "retirement" (which, given my financial circumstances, will involve walking or busing around town, visiting the library, reading: whatever's free or near-free [that's my life now! And I like it!]), and then probably develop some horrible thing like Alzheimer's or Lewy Body dementia, or Parkinson's Disease, or MS, or Sarcoidosis (oh, wait, had that, survived it, not that bad in my case, but bad enough), and end my days in a locked dementia unit? One or more of these diseases is likely brewing in my body now. Even worse would be having one of my kids feel some pointless obligation to take care of me, thus ruining their own middle/younger years (I see this all the time). I'd rather go to a nursing home than be a burden on family. Really. BUT,Best Case Scenario? Go to sleep, don't wake up. Have a plan to dispose of the carcass cheaply, no fuss, no funeral. Cremation, ziploc bag? Toss the ashes on the water somewhere, who cares where. If I develop a terminal illness (other than life itself, which is certainly terminal)I will find that doc that will write me a script so I can "die with dignity". I work daily with those who have dementias, etc., and there is no "dignity" involved here. It's horrifying. It's not "god's will", or some other pretty thing silly people want to say to define it: It's hell. It's terrifying for those who realize they've lost their minds and their identity. Yes, I believe in hell. I've been there. With the catholic hospital in our area fast buying up all the medical practices they can manage, finding that doctor who will support your decision is getting harder. I know who they are, though. Happy good Friday to ya.



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