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Rantings, thoughts, diatribe. Anything that captures my interest and hangs around long enough to capture on a keyboard.

Friday, 15 January 2010

'Till Death Do Us Part

I think about death regularly. I think about my death and how I would like it to be. I think about my husband's death, my family members, my friends. I think about what it might be like to die and how it might feel. If I am thinking about the death of someone close to me, I wonder how I will feel once they have shifted off this mortal coil and I am left without their presence in my life.

My husband thinks I am obsessed. Whenever I bring up the topic he rolls his eyes and groans. Our death talks have become a comedy double act.

I don't know what his problem is. Life and death are a complete package. In one hand you hold life, and in the other - death. I might not even know you but there is one incontrovertible fact I do know about you. That you will die. It strikes me as strange that our society gives so much airtime to life and brushes death under the carpet.

Mind you I wasn't always of this opinion. I blame it on a Danish beatnik hippy called Ingvar who suggested that I read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

It'll change your life, he said.

I was nineteen, still young and green. He was thirty two, had a cool leather jacket and had travelled the world so I presumed he knew what he was talking about. It turned out that he was right. Prior to that I hadn't given much thought to death. Afterwards I thought about it a hell of a lot more, meaning that I actually thought about it rather than ignoring it or holding it as apart from me. I realised that the great thing about acknowledging death is that it means you are also acknowledging life.

Lately death has been in my thoughts even more than usual. One of the closest people to me on this Earth has recently diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis is good and I am not expecting him to cark it any time soon. What he has to endure though is six months of chemotherapy and some major life shifts. Having to reflect on his mortality has made me examine what I would sacrifice in order to assist him in the road back to health. What is the fight I am prepared to put up on his behalf?

The answer has surprised me. But what a lovely surprise for both of us. It turns out that our friendship is as strong as I always suspected.

Nothing like a bit of death on the horizon to find out what's important to you in life.
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