So. Life. It's a thing. And it is always fatal. Life is the leading cause of death. In fact, if you have life, you will die. It is 100% guaranteed.
Growing up, I thought a great deal about death and dying. Perhaps that is not normal, and I was an overly morbid child (no, I did not dress entirely in black and wear copious amounts of eye-liner), but all that mulling over the other side of life has left me with something that a surprisingly few people have: comfort with the impermanence of existence.
I know that one day, I will lose people I love. I know I it will hurt and I will grieve. I know I will have to be strong for others who are also grieving. And I know that one day, I too will one day cease to exist. Not for a while yet, I hope. There's a lot I want to get done between then and now.
All the time I have spent thinking about death and dying (gods, that really does sound morbid), I have come to the conclusion that death is by far harder for those left behind than it is for the dead. Because of this, I do not fear death the way some people seem to. I'm alright with my dying. In fact, the only thing that upsets me about it is the thought that people I love will be hurting because of it.
I assume. I mean, for all I know, they'll be throwing one hell of a 'finally!' party.
I also fear that I might die slowly and in agony. That's no way to live, and that's no way do die.
It should surprise no one that I whole-heartedly support dignified death.
In fact, I don't really understand the fear of death. It is life that breaks the spirit and shatters the heart. It is life that delivers the hardest blows.
Yet it is death that is always depicted as a frightening monster. I don't buy it. I just don't.
I don't think so. Life has been pretty rough on me so far - though it is leaps and bounds better now than it was and I would be sad to leave it at this juncture.
This comfort with death and dying is something that infuses my writing. It's inescapable. And I have this crazy idea that death, like life, is not permanent. Its permanence can be circumvented, if the living are diligent. A person may die, but they continue to live as long as those left behind remember them; as long as they continue to tell stories about them. That is an idea that also permeates my writing. Nowhere is it more obvious in my short story The Dying God, but it exists in all my stories, now that I think back on this.
This idea is probably also what lies behind my love for Samhain (Hallowe'en, for the non-pagan folk), and for the deep peace I feel every Remembrance and ANZAC Day. Those days are special to me. They are reserved for remembering and honouring the dead, and for offering them thanks and, in the case of Samhain, a feast and an evening with their living kin. Those days are wonderfully honorific, a testament to the impermanence of death. And for some reason, probably because I'm so comfortable with the topic, these days fill me with the kind of peace you would think would only be possible after meditating in a forest for a week.
If hunger didn't distract you.
'Cause it would totally distract me. A lot. I'm hungry. Is it morning tea time?
The point is, I'm really weird, I guess. Death is not frightening to me, and this bizarre outlook on life and death permeates everything in my writing. I don't know that I'd be able to write a story without this outlook being infused in the tale. What about you? Is there something that you believe that infuses your work. What is it and how? Enquiring minds want to know.
Right, I'm off to start my next Welsh lesson now that I've brought everyone down. Here's a classic song which fits today's post rather snugly: