I am going to write about death. Why? At 80, I think about it. Not a lot, Not as much as you might expect at this age because I am too busy doing what I enjoy. It is, however, an inevitable reality. No escape. I might hope to live another 10, 15, even 20 years in good health, but most would agree that might be unreasonable. And if truth be told, while I used to have goals with 5 and ten year horizons, I take each day as it comes now. I do have goals, but they do not take away from ongoing pleasure, nor are they set in stone. What I get done, or do, I am glad about. If I were to die tomorrow, I would do so without regrets. I have had a good life. I guess I would regret that I would not be here to see my young grandchildren grow up and that they would not have the fun of my presence. Yes, I regret that when I think about it. But the antidote is to love them and see them as much as is possible now when none of them live in the same city.
This interest in death was spurred on of late after reading the review of a book by Irving D. Yalom entitled "Staring At The Sun; Overcoming The Terror Of Death." I wanted to read it because while I don't feel terror at the thought of death, the thought of dying does plague me at times. The thought of being in pain, of losing my independence, etc., does frighten me because it is a great unknown, but the thought of simply not existing any more does not. I suppose it did when I was young enough to know I would regret some things. But since I have lived my life in such a way as to fulfill my dreams, to have satisfying relationships with my family, to have good friends, to be physically active, I don't know what more I could wish for. I have three lovely grandchildren (ages 5 months to 19),I travel a bit, have books published and another about to come out. All in all, I consider myself amazingly fortunate.
What is death? Some have the belief that there is life everlasting. Others in reincarnation. Others in total nothingness. I am not sure what it means to die. I will die. I will be gone. But I have made some kind of small impact on the people closest to me. I won't be forgotten easily for a long time. That feels like enough. Perhaps people will go on reading my books. Who knows! But I have written them and they have been published and as recently as today in a yoga class a woman came over to me to tell me she had read my novel, Ile d'Or during the summer. She gave positive feedback. A satisfied reader.
So, I do not feel that I have to overcome the fear of my own death! I do feel that I will be devastated by losses along the way, another kind of terror of death, I suppose.. But I go on living my life, trying to be a gentle and kind person, loving family and friends, and continuing with my writing. At the moment, that writing constitutes this blog post. Will I write more about death? I don't know. I am a lot closer to the end than I have ever been. When will that happen? How? I hope the people I love know that I don't have regrets and that I love them. I do tell them, but I hope it carries them through in some way to know this. Through my death. And through their own lives as they live them. With the knowledge that while everyone may need to look at the terror of death, it is possible to live without that fear being ever present. Especially if they are living examined lives and have a sense of meaning and purpose.
These are my words about death today. Maybe there will be more!