Death And The Narratives We Tell, Part II


It’s funny how you can write something with one intent and it can be interpreted different ways, depending on the viewer’s filter.  My last post was not meant to be depressing or dark.  Despite how it may have appeared, I don’t actually spend too much time reliving sad memories–but reflecting on my past does shape how I carry myself in the present.

And the thing is, I do still think a lot about death, but in a totally different way.  I think about it as the end bracket to my story, and what to I want to put in there before it shows up?  Because the tomorrows do run out, and that’s not a bad thing or a good thing–it just is.  That’s what I think about.

When my grandmother died, it was a really good death.  A good death, because there was nothing left unsaid, nothing I regret about our relationship.  I got the memories of her house and sitting out on the back porch as the sun was setting, watching the bats fly around the giant tree in her backyard to the barn next door.  Memories so ingrained that they still show up in my dreams.  My ten-year-old self talking to her grandma-self, and it didn’t matter that there were 70 years between us.  The wheel of time shifts, and it is hard to say goodbye.  It’s hard accepting that nothing ever stays the same.  But here is my now, where I’m watching Shark Tank with Rowan on Friday nights, my 40-year self talking to her 10-year-old self, joking and discussing the businesses we would invest in.  This connection is just as wonderful, the love just as deep, even if the circumstances and characters change.

Our whole existence is tenuous.  Not just even that there are accidents and cancer and you know, always the minute chance that a giant asteroid will crash into earth.  It’s that the only thing that makes you you is the continuity of your perceived experiences, and even memories are less like a video recording and more like a play.  When you’re five, there aren’t many memories to even fall back upon, but as you acquire more data points of your life, you can’t possibly keep all of the relevant ones in your head at any one time.  I wonder if that’s why time seems to go faster the older you get, because you have to sift through more information and can only pay attention to so much.  And then add on that memories, like a play, change a bit in every reactment, so choosing which ones to even revisit changes you.  Then add on how each one supports your story – because it is not your brain or your body or even your atoms that make you the human you are, it is the wandering thread in the unknown tapestry that ties those experiences into you, into me.

And that’s why I am conscious of death, and it doesn’t fill me with fear or avoidance or make me unhappy.  I figure that when the time comes, it will be an experience you simply surrender to, like birth, because you have no control.  In the meantime, I have some big goals and small goals.  Really living each day like there’s no tomorrow, living only on whims is not sustainable–but big future plans have to be in balance with the here and now.

So for my thread, I want more of this.  More of having people over for dinner, talking late into the night.  More of enjoying early mornings, making tea, reading with a purring cat.  More of wrestling with my kids and doing food experiments.  More of lovemaking.  😉 More of keeping connections to old friends and always being open to the new.  More of new places, new friends, new tastes. More of enjoying lazy weekends with friends I’ve had for years.  More of making small steps to big dreams.  More of love and light, wherever I am.

Author: ~R

I write about life, people, and the things that interest in me. Which often includes death, sex, friendship, and the future of humanity. I hope for the best in people and I prepare for the worst. But no matter what happens, change is constant and everything will be ok.

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