Some thoughts on death



Sister and I went through a bereavement recently. Some one we loved lost his battle with cancer. It’s not the first time we’ve had this experience: our mum died from cancer more than ten years ago now.

But this time, it was different. The person who died was our age, and he went from fit and healthy to dead in less than 20 months. Watching someone from your own generation die really brings home one’s mortality. I’ve been thinking of the lines from John Donne (though not in the sense he meant them): ‘never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee…’ And more prosaically, the National Lottery motto: it could be you!

More random thoughts, just based on my own experience…

– I’ve seen quick deaths and slow ones. Quick is better. That doctor who said cancer was not a bad way to die is an idiot.

-The time in between the death and the funeral is kind of like the time in between Christmas and New Year (but with less tinsel and turkey): it has the same feeling of being slightly dislocated from the real passage of hours and minutes.

– Sitting in a hospital room is not conducive to creativity. I couldn’t even manage a blog post, let alone a bit of a novel.

– This may be just because I’m a nerdy introvert, but I found in the last few months that I’ve been even more introverted. I got fed up with replying to the question ‘how are things’ with ‘oh, everything is fine’. Because it wasn’t fine. It was easier just to stop interacting with people.

– Good things can come out of terrible things. Sometimes you don’t know how wonderful your friends and family are until you have to face a tragedy, and find that they are right there in the trenches with you.

That’s about it, really. The sun is shining, and on this particular day I’m alive and healthy, so I’m going to get out there and enjoy it. Hope you can do the same.


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