Thursday, January 25, 2007

Good grief.

Don Crowdis, a 93-year-old blogger from Canada wrote a poignant entry the other day titled, It Bothers Me That I Have To Go.

Yeah, me too.

I'm barely into my thirties and I am already sensing that there are things I want to do that I won't get around to doing, places I long to see that I will probably never see, and this saddens me. I suspect that this is one of the reasons why people have children - so that a part of them may someday do and see the things that they never got to do or see. If I carry the memory of my grandmother with me when I do something that she never got an opportunity to do, then, in a sense, she can have the experience too, through my experience. i don't know... I'm kind of rambling. How can I eventually come to terms with death if a 93-year-old man is having trouble?

There is this idea that those of us with feeble loved ones like to perpetuate - that after you have lived a long while, you are eventually somehow "ready" for death. That you just get "tired" of living and are ready to go to sleep and not wake up anymore. When my grandma was in the hospital, dying from complications from a stroke, she told us, through wheezes and bouts of consciousness, that she was "so tired." Her body had failed her, her mind was like a foggy window through which she got occasional clarity, but mostly just hazy memories... that she was "tired" of all that she was going through comforted all of us and allowed us to accept her fate.

But this idea I think works only if the loved one in question is unhealthy. It falls totally flat if they are, like Don, still able to enjoy all that life swirls in their direction. If my grandma had not had the stroke, she would not have been "tired" of living. There were still things she wanted to do, needed to do. It was the failure of her body that forced her to concede her mind.

Maybe it is through exercises like Don's, by admitting that you are bothered by the notion that life ends and this is all there is, that we gain a sort of acceptance of our fate. "Yes," you say, "I am bothered by my own eventual demise, because there is so much that I will miss." Maybe this admittance is the first step in a grieving process for ourselves.

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