Archive for the ‘death’ Category

Resolving my father issues

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

St.-George-and-the-Dragon-statue-etchingMy stepmother died last Friday. No condolences are needed; there was no love between us. I hadn’t spoken to her in years. I do feel for her family – she had children, grandchildren, even great-grandchildren, who all loved her very much – and of course for my father. They were everything to each other, and did everything together. He’s in his late seventies, and now he’s alone. I know this has hit him hard.

I flew to the Midwest last Sunday, not wanting to go but unable to get out of it, and as it turns out I’m glad I did. In grief, a person will say things they wouldn’t say at any other time. We don’t really talk about anything in my family – at least, we never have before. (more…)

The fear of death

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Niagara Falls is shunyata.We all fear death. Most people don’t even allow themselves to think about it, it’s so awful, even though it’s the one thing we are all guaranteed (even taxes are optional, after all). It’s this huge, dark, unknown thing, toward which we begin hurtling as soon as we’re born. Some people strongly believe that there’s an afterlife, heaven or another lifetime, or just floating around in cosmic bliss, but it seems to me that this is simply a way to stave off the great fear. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, not really. Not, anyway, to my satisfaction. It’s occurred to me that even science will probably never be able to tell us what lies on the other side of that wall.

Some people think we should be using science and medicine to prolong our lives for thousands of years, even make us immortal. That hunger for more experience, more books, more food, is what the mind does, and when you’ve been taught your whole life that that craving, a big part of the sensation of being alive, is your real self, of course you’re terrified of letting it go. Especially when no one can really promise you that anything better will happen at the end than that you will simply go out like a candle.

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