Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shuffling off this mortal coil

Ok, ok, I know that talking about death can be depressing. But really, does it have to be? Can we not contemplate our own mortality without being morose? Really it is just as plausible to have a conversation about dying as chatting about living in the here and now. Like virtually everyone else I ponder death and it's inevitability from time to time. To think of the fact that each day we are slowly shuffling towards our own last breath can be frightening but perhaps as I get older I will not fear it as much. Who knows? 

I mention death because this week I heard of a former colleague of mine suddenly passing away. Eyebrows seem to furrow or arch when someone rather young passes never seems right when that happens. They were taken too soon, didn't get to see their children grow up let alone have children. I have pondered my deceased colleague this week and feel for the family left behind. I try to embrace each moment of my day with a little more conviction and enthusiasm. I squeeze friends and family a little harder and relish the time spent with them.

Death finds us wherever we go. Though we may wend our way to the farthest corners of the earth to experience all that life has to offer, no cave is safe, no house immune from our own quietus. It's hands reach into the furthest nooks and crannies of our lives and homes to find even the most defiant of us. No matter how many stand around the ailing, it is a rubicon that we all cross and do not return from. However, the things loved ones left behind, what they did, who they were, how they impacted those around them, their influence continues to resonate with us all....urging us on to greater heights and opening our eyes to the beauty of life even more. 

               On Hearing Of A Death 
                by Rainer Maria Rilke

"We lack all knowledge of this parting. Death
does not deal with us. We have no reason
to show death admiration, love or hate;
his mask of feigned tragic lament gives us

a false impression. The world's stage is still
filled with roles which we play. While we worry
that our performances may not please,
death also performs, although to no applause.

But as you left us, there broke upon the stage
a glimpse of reality, shown through the slight
opening through which you disappeared: green,
evergreen, bathed in sunlight, actual woods.

We keep on playing, still anxious, our difficult roles
declaiming, accompanied by matching gestures
as required. But your presence so suddenly 
removed from our midst and from our play, at times

overcomes us like a sense of that other
reality: yours, that we are so overwhelmed 
and play our actual lives instead of the performance,
forgetting altogether the applause."

No comments: