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Tony Grist

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Timor Mortis Conturbat Me [Oct. 28th, 2005|11:22 am]
Tony Grist
I spent longer than was healthy on Deathclock yesterday. I return with a message for you all- we're doomed, I tell you, doomed.

William Holden slipped on his bedside rug, hit his head on the bedside table, tried to phone for help then passed out. Because of his reclusive habits he wasn't found until four days later, by which time he was maggoty.

Chris Farley, that funny fat man, spent his last hours in the company of a hooker taking lots and lots of drugs. When he collapsed on the floor she thought, "about time too", took some pictures to show her grandchildren and left. Trouble is, he never got up again.

Benny Hill, that other funny fat man, fell asleep in his chair in front of the TV. Like Holden he was a recluse.....

But after a while these stories lose their impact. Yes, he died and the worms ate him- tell me something I don't know.

I think about death quite a lot these days- I guess I always did- but then it was all gothicky shrouds and scythes and happening to somebody else; now it's personal.

I'm not afraid. Not really. A little nervous perhaps, like in the dentist's waiting-room. Pass me that magazine...

Because I'm really, really curious about what happens next...

So life is short and death undignified but the question you have to ask yourself is, "have I found this excursion to the earth plane interesting?" Because if you can answer "yes" to that- as Holden, Farley and Hill all could- then I reckon you've cracked it.

[User Picture]From: sorenr
2005-10-28 04:06 am (UTC)
I'm not all that curious about what comes next, but nor am I affraid of it. I don't mind Death, and I have been known to wish people dead without any malignancy but merely because they'd be better off that way.

I was happy when my great-grandmother died. She was 104, half-blind, half-deaf and 100% tired of life. Good on her when she finally went.

I'd be happy for my grandmother to die. She was recently committed to a care-home against her own (somewhat erratic) will due to severe dementia, and then had to be moved to a closed psychiatric ward a few days ago. She doesn't recognise her family, yet spend all her time crying about how her boys never come to visit her, even when they're sitting right in front of her. She's not happy, and probably never will be again. Nobody here can do anything for her, and even if i never liked the bigotted old hag, I still don't wish this sort of life on her.

If there is an after-life, I'm sure it's no worse than this one, anyway. I'm not saying we'll be dancing in meadows for eternity (God, how boring!), but I'm sure it'll be perfectly all right.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 06:37 am (UTC)
There was an item on the news yesterday about how our society is guilty, guilty, guilty of letting old people die in winter.

But, I shouted at the screen, that's what old people do- they die.

And there's no way of avoiding it. You can postpone it- maybe- but there comes a point beyond which postponing it is crueler than letting it happen.

My dad, the last time I saw him, talked about being ready to "take a walk in the woods".

As Shakespeare says,

"Men must endure their going hence, even as their coming hither.
Ripeness is all."

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From: bodhibird
2005-10-28 06:41 am (UTC)
Stephen King's Pet Sematary is depressing enough to make you shoot yourself, but it's a great book about the denial of death in our culture. There's a scene where the protagonist, a doctor, is arguing with his wife about the safety of their cat--they live next to a highway with heavy traffic--and he points out that whether or not the cat ever gets hit by a truck, he will eventually die, and they'll have to explain mortality to their little girl, to whom the cat belongs. His wife promptly freaks out in such a way that you understand she can't face the fact that the cat--and she herself, her husband, even their kids eventually--will die. No matter what.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 07:14 am (UTC)
I'm reminded of the story about the clergyman who was asked, "Well, father, what do you think happens after death?"

And he replied, "I suppose we shall inherit eternal life- but lets not talk about about such unpleasant things.
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[User Picture]From: dadi
2005-10-28 04:16 am (UTC)
I've never ever been afraid of death, since from my earliest childhood days the deep conviction of life after life has been rooted inside myself. My only fear, as I get older, is that due to my reticence to learn certain lessons, I'll have to confront them all over next time. THAT does cause me sleepless nights, oh yes.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 06:50 am (UTC)
I've no idea whether I've learned the lessons I was meant to learn, but on the whole I'm happy with the way this excursion has gone- thus far.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-10-28 05:36 am (UTC)
Most of the time I don't think anything happens next. I don't believe there is a hell (what could be worse than some of what happens to us here?) and the idea of dancing in meadows for eternity (thank you sorenr seems rather silly. Religion is something that was created by humans....

I'm in a bad mood this morning, I'll just fade into the woodwork.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 06:52 am (UTC)
I don't believe in Heaven or hell- not as permanent states, anyway- but I'm inclined to believe that life goes on....
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2005-10-28 06:30 am (UTC)

Me too...

"Because I'm really, really curious about what happens next..."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 06:53 am (UTC)

Re: Me too...

I'm just terribly inquisitive. I hate not knowing.....
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-10-28 07:52 am (UTC)
I've found my excursion fraught with anxiety.

I'm also anxious about the process of dying, because I can't think of anything more lonely.

When I was in labor with my children, I felt connected to women everywhere, surely, but still alone. Because who but me could feel my pain? I fell asleep and dreamed that my contractions were glowing hoops of blue fire. But no one in the room could be with me and do anything for me but stand beside me.

My mother talks about dying all the time--every time I see her. She says, I want it to be quick.

But what if it's not quick? What if you're apparently asleep, lying there in a coma, apparently peaceful or unconscious, but in reality the real you is leaving your physical body and taking off for parts Unknown?

I would plan on enjoying the trip if I were the sort of person who enjoys bungee jumping or whitewater rafting. But being who I am, I plan on one long horrible panic attack, possibly for all eternity!

Or maybe we don't have nerve endings Out in the Beyond! One hopes...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 09:00 am (UTC)
I suspect we only have nerve endings if we want to....

The thing that frightens me isn't the business of dying but the possibility of a long drawn out senility. I've seen too many people who have lived on and on and on, long after any real quality of life has been taken away- people bed-ridden or chair-ridden, unable to make real conversation, mentally stuck in the good old days or- worst of all- trapped by Altzheimers into running through the same little twenty second bout of anxiety over and over again.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-10-28 09:06 am (UTC)
My worst fear in life is to have a stroke that leaves me trapped inside but unmoving so that no one even knows I'm still in there.

Altzheimers is a close second.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 12:26 pm (UTC)
I guess the thing about Altzheimers is that sufferers don't "know" the state they're in- at least we suppose they don't. To be mentally alert, but trapped inside a frozen body- yes, you're right- that would be worse.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2005-10-28 08:29 am (UTC)
That's a very interesting thought. I am not so enthusiastic about death myself, but, I think, the more I "take advantage of my excursion," the less worrisome death seems.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-28 09:19 am (UTC)
Zoe's right.

So go out and take lots of photographs :)
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