Whilst on the train to work I found myself pondering my own mortality, wondering whether I would live to be an old lady kicking up a fuss in the post office, or whether some freak accident would take my body from this earth before I get to forty five. A strange thing to think perhaps whilst watching the scaffold clad soon to be luxury apartments go by, but with so much featuring in the news and life experiences with your own family and that of your friends it’s a wonder I never thought about it much at all before. I have always been the queen of not thinking about things that I don’t like, which some may consider is a good strategy for a happy-ish life. Now, however, when my thoughts are occupied by a fundamental shift into a whole new highway in life, I’m struck by the what if’s, wherefore’s and a whole bundle of WTF?’s I never knew existed.
Mortality affects us all, and for some more so in the year that was 2016. A new beginning for some signals the end for others. We know not why, but a myriad of different faiths will give reasoning for what happens before, during and after.
In any case, us mere mortals sometimes have a few words to say to sum things up when dealing with the topic of death.
“The good die young”
The old adage that gives a humane blessing of condolence to try and comfort those who have lost their loved ones so tragically early. A woman goes full term and gives birth to the baby of her dreams, only to lose it 12 days later due to an unforeseen health defect; a teenager hangs himself because he’s worrying what his parents will think if he fails his exams, a young man gets shot fighting for his country, a twenty something woman careers off the dual carriageway and dies in hospital from internal injuries 2 days later, a thirty something sportsman has a heart attack on a cricket pitch, a woman in her early forties dies from Leukemia.
It’s hard to even begin to work out how these things happen, but inevitably and more often than not, the rest of us learn from it and try to ensure things like that never happen again or at least the odds are reduced. Medical research into cures for diseases, reducing speed on motorways, working on the peace process, life evolves because of death.
“Who wants to live forever?”
The Queen song poignantly illustrates one man’s thoughts on the matter. An interesting outlook on life which is something I never paid much attention to until recently. Sadly with care home standards and cost of living into your very senior years, the idea is quite off putting to say the least. I found myself having this conversation with quite a few people recently, saying we’re not bothered about experiencing the part where we watch bits fall off, and wondering how it’s possible to ache in parts you never knew existed. That sounds all too painful.
“Should I stay or can I go?”
Euthanasia is a debate which many people find difficulty with and quite understandably so. I personally believe that if I was in a vegetative state with no quality of life I’d not want to stay. I believe that living wills should be upheld for those wishing to write them. Just like carrying a donor card. I’d be surprised if anything of mine would still be functioning, but if it’s not past its sell by date, then dig in! Take the lot! I’ll have no use for it.
“The after life”
There are variations of what this might mean to different people. I’ve always felt there is something else but not known what ‘it’ might be or consist of. I believe there are spirits which carry on in some capacity after death, whether it’s creating all the obstacles we have to climb up and over in life just to piss us off, or putting signs in our way to make sure we trundle down a different path to something good. The idea of there being nothing doesn’t ring true but there are many who disagree and so finally I shall share a saying from a very dear friend of mine, who only believes in science and none of that mamby pamby, fluffy stuff:
“ We live, we die, we feed flies”
We are constantly learning throughout life, and sadly it’s largely because of death. For some it’s a wake up call that life is too short to waste, you never know when it’ll happen to you, so you best make the most of it whilst you can.
Love like your heart was the size of the galaxy, laugh louder than Concorde and longer than a trip to the moon, live like it’s your last minute on earth.