Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't You Know That You Are A Shooting Star

(Bad Company)
Last week my thoughts were saturated by the concept of death as sick friends flourished in my mind. Really I haven’t had much of a brush with death and to think about it almost feels like I am flirting with the wrong type of guy, the one who will hurt me, abuse me, leave me crippled with regret.

Our society makes little to no room for death outside of how it is used as an industry to make money. Otherwise, it is largely a part of life that we ignore until “suddenly” it arrives and we feel as if life has been unfair. Sometimes, if the person was sick or old enough, it becomes a welcome alternative. But what happens when death shows up uninvited to the party? It slyly walks in the door and has a beer and pees on the tv!?! Everyone is horrified: death is in the room and has just made a big mess. I say, spray some resolve and continue on with the celebration. Death comes to all of us in some way and well, it's ironic, but that's just life.

The younger you are the more likely death sits far off in the distance as if it’s not even on the map or the highway signs. It’s in no particular place but it’s everywhere. I can’t help feeling it "should" come after you are old, wrinkly and sitting in a rocker with memories playing in your mind like some great movie watched over and over again; never when you are a child and haven’t experienced the sheer joy of being completely filthy and unabashedly present or when you are a teenager accidentally poking through boundaries and stretching the fabric. There seems to be some unconfounded feeling of security once established in adulthood or after you start a family, although at that point you've created some semblance of immortality through your blood line. True immortality is what you leave behind in the memories other people carry in their existence: it's about what you project in to this world; what you contribute to the ones you love, have loved and will love; what you teach others or how you treat them. Death can seem like an insensitive bastard when you're left feeling as if there wasn’t enough time, there were things left unsaid. Candid conversation is a dessert that some simply don’t indulge in enough - I certainly have a hard time with it.

Everyone deals with death differently. I'd be a fool to not acknowledge my parents getting older though I do believe their days are still not numbered. My dad guarantees his health in light of physical challenges and age while my mom tends to bring up her inevitable death every time I see her. A friend was in the hospital last week. His doctor told him to put his life in order and get his Will together; not that he would die from the surgery, just that the possibility was there. But we all should have our shit together; we should all say the things we haven’t said. We should not feel robbed if death comes sooner than we think. One gal I admire takes it as it comes rather than focusing on what will not be experienced when her love passes on. They choose to welcome death to their home and not feel bullied by it’s presence. In the face of all the possibilities that have disappeared, they see that they are given the indulgence of saying goodbye - of not leaving things left unsaid, of holding, feeling and cherishing. They choose strength and integrity but really they choose love.

We can never truly see how we affect those we come in contact with everyday. It is both profound as well as subtle; but we never know just what we do. It’s a gift to be able to tell someone how much they mean in our world; sometimes the opportunity doesn't come along and sometimes we just never say the things that would break the empty silence or deep gaze. Life comes in so many forms as is true with death. They stand together holding hands and yet are enemies in existence. Neither would be without the opposite yet their soul experience demands the submission of the other. In facing death we are inspired to live life and in life, there is death.

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