Saturday, August 26, 2006

"In the midst of life we are in death." *

Some weeks seem closer to Death than others and by that I don't mean my own inevitable death but Death in general ... Death as a whole ... Death as something that we can never escape.

I started out the week watching Death taking a holiday on Meet Joe Black. I spent Tuesday evening walking amongst the dead at the Yantic Cemetery. On Wednesday there was a funeral service for my 53-year old cousin who died unexpectedly in his sleep. On Thursday I took Amanda and went back over to the Yantic Cemetery for a little more walking around and reading of gravestones. And today when I came into work I found out that one of my very young, very energetic, very nice co-workers had met Death sometime during the early hours of the morning.

Like I said, some weeks feel closer to Death than others. This one feels like I'm sitting on a park bench right next to the Grim Reaper while we share a bag of peanuts and sections of the newspaper. I'm pretty sure He's reading the obituaries while I'm trying to find some humor in what passes for the comic section these days.

It's a fact of life that eventually we all die - no one gets out of this alive as far as I'm aware - for as Geoffrey Chaucer once said, "In the stars is written the death of every man." And as John Maynard Keynes so profoundly put it, "In the long run, we are all dead."

I doubt that most of the time few of us give Death much of a passing thought. We're too busy living life to worry about the end of it. Since starting work at an ambulance service, I see a lot more of Death than I ever did before and I feel I have a better understanding of it but there are weeks like this when I truly believe that Death wants us to give more than a cursory glance His way. We need to remember that He's there and He's waiting and eventually Charon, the boatman, is going to be waiting to take us across the river Styx.

Everything happens for a reason and we know not when our turn will come. "Live as you will have wished to have lived when you are dying." **

Rest in peace, Ralph. Rest in peace, Mike.

*
- - - - Book of Common Prayer "The Burial of the Dead" (1662)
**----- Christian Furchtegott Gellert

4 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, you picked the WRONG job to avoid Death. Yep...he be yo bestest buddy now! The good news is two-fold: 1.) You know it ain't the absolute end if you have any faith in the afterlife at all; and 2.) Chances are, you're gonna go right back to living again, but hopefully with a lesson or two learned from this life to apply to your next one. You read it right - your NEXT life. I truely believe in reincarnation. Even from a scientific point of view, how can you argue against the proven fact that energy in motion remains in motion.?? It's certainly something to think about, and it makes the ending seem so much less final than a "costume change in a telephone booth" between real-life "acts". Do you believe in reincarnation? If so, can you remember or have an inkling of your past life? Share this!

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  2. All too true.

    I wonder why, when it really is the one certain thing in life, that people just don't seem to mention it, ever. You get accused of being maudlin, but it's all just a part of life.

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  3. Shakespeare called Death "the Undiscovered Country" -- but sometimes we can see the borders from where we're standing.

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  4. Your time last year when you first wrote that sounds very much like how things had been running here the past 4-6 weeks. A suicide, two deaths from cancer, a young boy hit by a car and killed and an elderly neighbor at the upper end of our street. Enough, already!

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