I’ve written a handful of blog posts that touched on the subject of Death:
In March 2017, the post, Eulogy, spoke about the impact you make on people while you live and subsequently any potential impact you may have “beyond the grave”, so to speak.
In April 2017, the post, Ingredients of Transformation, the subject of our limited time on earth and remembering that Death was certain was one of the “ingredients” I felt necessary to transforming one’s life.
In August 2017, the post, Remember that you are but a man, I springboarded off the ideas from the prior two posts that year about Death (I spoke alot about death that year…) and it was my most existential post to date. I dove into Memento Mori as well as wrote about the questions and thoughts I’ve mulled over about Death, what is on the “other side” of our mortality and taking action.
I didn’t touch on the subject of Death again until June 2018, with the post, In Light of Death, I looked back briefly on prior posts and quoted a friend of mine who shares an interest in Death and I believe is the one who introduced me to the topic of Death Positivity which is really a newer way to grasp Memento Mori.
I think on Death often and I’m truly surprised I didn’t write about it more in 2018, or 2019 for that matter. The only time I did was on Dia de los Muertos where I wrote about the first time I had a friend die.
So, here we are again.
The neurosis is strong with this one…
About 10 years ago, I thought I was fully a peace with mortality. But, in the last few years and especially nowadays, I’m not so sure. I still meditate and touch on thoughts and questions that I had in earlier posts (see – Remember you are but a man & In Light of Death). Despite knowing that I will die one day, perhaps even before I finish this post, the issue isn’t quite ironed out, it isn’t quite settled. Maybe it never will be. I still get this visceral, adrenal-like rush, at least weekly, knowing that I have an appointment with Death. That, no matter what I do, it’s coming. It may not be today, or it may be, but either way, I will see my final sights, smell my final scents, feel those final touches and emotions. If I am lucky, they will be pleasant.
Maybe that final breath we take is the final act and step of faith that we get to take as we move through that curtain, releasing our mortality and seeing what is on the other side for us.
Or not know or see anything at all.
Ugh… that nothing part just gets me.
Complete finality seems so… unjust, doesn’t it?
That is the part of the problem that drives me mad most of all. That blackness of finality, that thought of my consciousness just completely disappearing, forever, is what hits the hardest and punches that adrenaline-like rush up to its peak. It has an intertia-like quality that I haven’t fully understood, as if I am temporarily able to feel the actual movement towards the end. Like I am in a long, narrow room, my back against a wall that is slowly, surely and relentlessly pushing me forward towards some spot down the way where I will fall into a unfathomably deep chasm. I can’t stop it. It’s coming. It’s coming.
So much of our world is dictated by things we cannot see and cannot control. We cannot, at the command of our mind for example, stop our heart from beating, nor command it to start again. Forces beyond our control created the life that we now possess and through those prenatal trials, our time came and we were unrelentlessly pushed out into this new realm. And what’s more, forces beyond our sight and control seek to both continue life as long as possible and seek to bring us towards death.
How mind boggling is this?
Our lives seem to drag on “forever”, yet a decade goes by like the blink of an eye. Compared to the long line of people that produced our particular DNA, our own lifespan will be but a vapor, the only lasting imprint it seems is what unique DNA we leave in our children. I’ve a legion of pieces of DNA give me by my ancestors, long dead, living inside me, contributing to the whole of “me”.
In a way, this is some sort of unconscious immortality, yes?
Oh, but, I love a parade!
How’s that for an abupt left turn? Did you get whiplash?
Coming back from lunch, I parked my car in my “normal” spot, which affords me a view down a back alley. About a block down the way, there is a funeral home. A nice hearse was parked perpendicular to the alley, so it faced broadside to my view, and this thought occured to me:
Regardless of the size, be it grand or humble, large or small, each of us will have some sort of parade at the end of our lives.
Our body – emptied of that essence, consciousness and spirit that gave it life beyond a beating heart – entombed in a casket, will be transported from the funeral home, along streets and avenues to a cemetery where it will be buried in the cold earth. From the beginning of the procession to the end, that hearse will lead a parade of people. It may be one or two cars, it may be twenty.
But your parade is coming.
And so is mine…
Hopefully, not for awhile.