Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Shady Side

I am, as anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, in undeniably good health, so it should not be taken out of context that I feel that I am becoming acquainted with death. It may not be imminent, yet seems nearby; maybe around a corner or just out of sight. It also seems quite friendly, not a bit intimidating or frightening. A welcoming presence.

When I was a devout Catholic, I lived in fear of death and its fiery punishment. I knew I was a sinner and doubted I would receive the salvation of Extreme Unction at my last breath. As my faith dissipated, I feared death less for its promise of eternal punishment than for its depiction of perpetual boredom. An Eternity spent in quiet adoration of the the Holy Trinity was an even less inviting experience than the agony of monstrous torture and constant pain. fortunately, a previously repressed gene of reason took control and I came to realize that there is no aspect of religion to believe or death to dread.

Possessiveness is what makes us want to hang on to life as long as we can. It's what we know and we don't want to lose a bit of it. Understandable, of course. But there is something about the aging experience that makes me want to cut back, cut down, simplify. Not my material possessions. I keep acquiring gadgets and goods as fast as I can get online. But I've toted a lot of mental equipment and emotional baggage in my day that seems more superfluous as the days go on. And when I go, they go; purpose served.

My quiet new friend can take its time. There is no hurry. I fully enjoy my life and I wouldn't want my survivors to have to start grieving any sooner than necessary. That is the only sad part of dying, knowing that there are those who will have to grieve, as I have grieved for those loved ones who left before me. Nor do I pester myself with thought that I will miss them: anybody or anything. Some will miss me, but there will be nothing of me to miss them. I will be gone. Pffft! Kaput! And don't say good riddance or I will come back to haunt you.

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