Wendell Berry writes:
Any definition of health that is not silly must include death.
Wonder if all our obsessions – tech, selfies, achievement – are just us distracting ourselves from what’s sure to come?
Invariably when I bring this idea up, people react against it. Understandably so. It dismisses everything that we concern ourselves with from sun up to sun down.
“It can’t be that bleak, can it?”
All I can say is you and I are trying to get to the same place. We’re just coming from different directions. You’re driving through the desert. The air conditioner and open windows are your salvation. I’m driving through the arctic tundra. These two things are damnation for me. Shall we argue over which is the true path?
How do we make death an integral part of our health, which we refer to daily, without becoming morbid? It is first important to understand our personal relationship to death. Do not fear stating your relationship plainly. It will change and the more plainly you state it now, the easier it will be to observe the changes ahead.
Now that I have attended the funeral of a part of myself, this is easy for me to see. I am not being dramatic or poetic here. My mother was a living, breathing part of me. She was my compassion and my concern, my guide and my insecurity. She was a gift giver and a taker. She loved me even when she took advantage of me. She was a woman that struggled with control of her life – her finances, her love life and her addictions – after the divorce. She struggled with these for many years, until her death at age 60 from cancer and emphysema. Unfortunately sometimes the last 7-8 years of her life overshadow the other 50+. I saw how she had money, love and control of her life for so many years, and I still wonder how it all fell apart.