In which I think about deathPosted: October 15, 2010
It’s day 23 and I’ve got death on my mind. That’s not surprising, given the time of year. It’s also not surprising after the anniversary of Mom’s death and the life celebration. Add to that the death of a cousin several weeks ago. He was 44 years old. I didn’t know him. I know him from my childhood, of course, but haven’t known him as an adult since I married and moved away from family. I have a lot of cousins I don’t really know.
This week a colleague/friend of M’s died. He was 48 years old. The visitation (viewing/wake) is tonight. The funeral is tomorrow.
So it’s no surprise, all this thinking about death. Rumor has it I should get used to it. Death (of friends, family, and eventually oneself), I am told, comes with age.
What might come as a surprise is that my thoughts were not sad, depressing kind of thoughts. As I thought about death, I was also reminded of renewal. The leaves on the trees are falling off and dying now, but the trees are not dead and new leaves will come back in the spring. The flowers have dried up, but they are spreading their seeds so that new flowers will spring up when it’s warm enough.
Walking outside today between clouds and sun, rain and wind, I got to thinking about what I am doing with my life. And what I would like to do. I used to joke that I didn’t finish college because I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grow up. I still feel that way. They say (“they” being the so-called experts in life and career coaching) that you might want to look back at your childhood. What did your child-self want to be when she grew up?
I don’t have a great memory. I figure I’m one of those people who need to move things out of storage to make room for recent stuff. It’s not an age thing. Ironically, one of my childhood memories involves not remembering. I was about 10 years old and out shopping with Mom. A girl came up calling my name. I had no idea who she was. Still don’t, to be honest, except that she told me we were in the same second grade class together.
I always marvel at people who can remember. That’s not to say I forget everything. There are always bits and pieces, and some memories (big and small) that stand out. Important events stick, of course. But some things just disappear and no amount of prodding brings them back.
(Rain drop, leaf, and clouds on the pond.)
When we were back east, visiting gravesites and churches, and Dad was telling stories about my younger self, I remembered that there was a time when I wanted to be an archeologist. Since this was before the Indiana Jones movies, I have no idea why I would be interested in archeology. I took an archeology class in college. The teacher managed to make it so dull that I didn’t want to bother with it. But I didn’t remember at the time I was taking the class that this was a subject that once interested me when I was a young girl.
So maybe things don’t disappear after all. Maybe it’s just so crowded after accumulating so many memories that recalling them is a slow process. It might even take years for an old memory to surface.
None of my musings led to any answers. If anything, they brought up more questions. I don’t mind. Sometimes I like questions better than answers because answers often mean being stuck in The Answer or A Truth whereas questions just keep leading me onwards.