Death

I’ve been surrounded somewhat by death these days. Well, there is also some beautiful new life in my world too, but this is on death so we’ll ignore them for the time being.

My grandmother says that as she gets older her friends just keep dying. It seems like for me, the older that I’ve been getting, my friends, or my friends friends, or my uncles, or my great uncles, or my… have started passing away.

I was talking last night with my father about this, and he said it’s disgusting. This death. Specifically with regards to cancer, but I think premature death is always sad, not necessarily disgusting, but just unfortunate and sad. I’m talking death from a disease or accident.

Sitting here, I’m thinking about books my grandmother has given me on yoga.

Let me step back a moment.

I am very interested in photographs, and I’ve taken most of my grandmothers photographs from her albums and scanned them and made them digital. For her own continuity and for mine. Who knows what will happen to those albums. As a result, I’ve gotten to know a lot more about my grandmother in her earlier years, in her young adult life especially, and I have seen how beautiful she was as a young woman.

This leads me to think about how graceful she may have been. How she would have practiced yoga? Did she use it for meditation, or did she use it for exercise? It’s funny, some of these books date back pretty far, long before Lululemon came around [isn’t that when/why most kids these days get into yoga? (kidding)].

Then, I phase back to reality and look at her now. I see her requiring 3 swings to get up from a chair. I see her hunched over with age. I hear her talk to me about how exhausting it is to even make breakfast in the morning. I am trying to convince her and everybody around her that she needs a maidservant to help her with daily tasks, just to make it easier on her.

My grandmother is 93 years old this year.

It kind of scares me how life has already just swept past me as if I’ve been sleeping. I know I’ve been awake, I know there have been many memories in there and many large events that have carried me along, but it still scares me how it goes so fast.

1793 - The Death of Marat - Jacques-Louis David - p817

Father keeps telling me how he hates getting old. Who can blame him? I hate getting old too.

I want to live forever. If I was given the chance to live forever, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Easy choice.

I talk to people about this sometimes, and they look at me saying things like: “Why would you want to live forever? You would get so bored of things, and it would be so sad when all of the people you would come into contact with, your lovers, would die and leave you to continue on.” I say that’s hogwash. Sure, that would hurt. It may hurt so much I’d want to take my own life after a while, but I’d still do it, I’d still live forever. So what if I had a year of depression. So what if I slept a whole day away. I’d live forever. This kind of stuff would soon pass, and I’d find other things to occupy my mind keeping me in the moment. I like to think I’d stay motivated. Perhaps there could be a clause that if I didn’t stay motivated, I would start to age. On second thought, that would make me pretty anxious I think, so perhaps no clause. I don’t need a clause.

In my life right now, I know 4 people being effected by Cancer. I have lost people in my life who have meant a great deal to me from other causes too. Heart attacks, strokes, accidents, sicknesses.

How do you deal with death?

I take subtle queues from Qi. It teaches that one should not get too excited, nor too depressed, and that one should strive to find the balance in the middle where all of life just is. Expect that everything happens as it should, whether it’s good or bad, it’s just the way of the world and we cannot control that.

I like this attitude for some aspects in my life, like death, but I also feel that as a human I can inflict change into my life, change that I want to see happen. So sometimes I just don’t take things as it happens, sometimes I push forward for more. I think this attitude, after all, is what it means to live.

What do you think?

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