'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Death



I've recently been thinking and talking about death a lot.  A special friend is dying, and we have some great discussions.  My mother and sister, geriatric nurses, both very down-to-earth people with pragmatic philosophies about this and other matters, have rubbed off on me.  

It seems to me there are some generalities:
1.  It comes to us all, don't be afraid, it's very natural.  Most people just don't see it around much these days so, like anything unknown, it can seem scary.
2.  Everyone is different and thus dies differently.  
3.  It's nice to have time to say goodbye but it doesn't always happen.
4.  It's something you have to ultimately do by yourself.
5.  There is no reason these days, with modern medicine, for anyone to die in pain.  Be assertive.
6.  You ain't dead until you're dead.  So don't ignore the dying out of fear or embarrassment, nor live like you're already gone.
7.  If a belief of some type gives comfort, use it.  
8.  Celebrate the life.  Death means the last page is written and the book finished.  But you can always go back and read it again and again.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.

- Mahatma Ghandi

2 comments:

  1. Don't "live like you're already gone...". That's so salutary. Many kids I teach seem to lack a zest for life - curiosity - passion... For me that is what it is all about and as a committed 100% atheist, I know that this life we have - this precious gift from the darkness - is all that we will ever have - there's nothing ele - no second helping so we must live it with all of our selves.

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  2. I've had that experience too YP. I teach youngsters, of a certain type of parent, a fairly rarified bunch. However a few years ago, I decided to go back to school as a student. I ended up in the seventh form, and I was sad to see what a dull, uninquisitive and apathetic crowd was in my classes. I was initially determined not to stand out, but I couldn't bear to sit there day after day without contributing nor asking questions and clarification. I like to think a little might have rubbed off. But maybe they just thought I was weird. Or, you know, like, OLD. Sigh

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