Friday, April 08, 2005

"Live fast, [love hard], and leave a beautiful corpse."

I substitute [love hard] for "die young" since the latter never seemed all that appealing to me.

First, the genesis of this post. As may happen, I was searching for a post topic. (You think these things just write themselves?!?!?) Be that as it may, I returned a phone call to The Girl. See last night, while I was otherwise indisposed *cough*playingmygame*cough* The Girl called and left me a voicemail, inquiring about a movie-theater-watching tonight. When I spoke with her today, she told me her grandfather had died last night. T'was a very brief coversation but the short and dirty version is she's now busy so (obviously) no movie & maybe I'll hear from her in a week or so. Sounds about right. Hence, my thoughts turn to more morbid musings.

As I posted here long ago, my personal experience on this front is with my dad, who died a little over 4 years ago. I remember all of that time very well, as I expect I shall for the rest of my life. Being Jewish, the funeral was 2 days after he died, friends & family etc. No wake. Sitting shiva for the following week.

Two things 'bothered' me about the whole thing. First, one week is a long time to publicly grieve and be grieving. At some point you just want that part to end and things to go on as normal as they can. Second, I highly disliked the phrases and words people offered. I know it was all meant to be supportive and as 'helpful' as possible but I found them to be more disconcerting than anything else. Lots of apologies, since there's really not much you can say. "I'm sorry..." But the words don't really mesh with the sentiment. You're sorry he's dead, ok fine, but don't 'faux-apologize' to me. For my part, I refused to 'thank' anyone for their words. When they offered them, I nodded or said something noncommittal. Never "thank you" because I didn't want to thank them for my dad's death. I know it's very odd logic (or perhaps an odd lack thereof) but that was my view and I stick to it.

In response to my latter view, the words I offer are rather limited. "I'm sorry to hear that" or the like. "My deepest condolences." also works. And I don't poke or prod too much about it. And I myself feel a bit disconcerted in having to deal with other people's grief. I never quite know how they feel or what sort of reaction is their preferred one so I play it neutral and calm, somewhat dispassionate but hopefully not cold or insensitive. I don't think I'm all that squemish about death but it's just I don't know how much "coddling" others want (or don't want) and what exactly my role in that should be. ::shrug::

My last thought for this post -- If you were to die now, would you have any regrets and would you care if you did? Me, I don't think I'd have any. I'm pretty satisfied, thus far, with what I've done and where I've been. I haven't done anything truly amazing though I've had a great number of memorable and interesting experiences. Where I am is fine and I haven't done anything I'm truly ashamed of (I think..). Personally, I think it's important to live life as you wish to, within the confines and limits you accept, so that you are content and have no serious regrets. Sure there are things I would like to do and experience but I learned long ago that you don't always get what you'd like. It's a bit fatalistic but you get what you get or you get what you've earned for yourself. Varying definitions in here but the sentiment is the same. And I don't have any qualms as far as I can delineate.

So please pardon the morbidness of this post. For my part, I don't feel particular morbid at the moment and I honestly don't consider this post to be all that morbid. (How many times can I use the base "morbid" in one paragraph?)

I can remember one particular night as a kid, somewhere between ages 7 and 12, where I "realized" we all die and I ran downstairs to my parents. I cried for a bit before going back up to bed. Sometime after that, I think I got used to the idea. I don't think Death frightens me per se or that I truly fear it. That's not to say that I don't want to live if at all possible and will try to continue living. No, rather just that the concept doesn't do all that much for me.

It's there, somewhere in the future, for all of us, but if that's all we know then why let it bother us at all? Hey, at least it'll have been a good run. What more can you ask for?