Monday, November 14, 2005

The Experience of Life: Death

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream --
Lingering in the golden dream --
Life, what is it but a dream?
--Lewis Carroll, "A Boat beneath a Sunny Sky"
I remember, as a kid, my first nightmare about being dead. I was laying in a casket, under the earth, and I couldn't get out. I knew I was still alive, that I shouldn't have been in that casket, and there was no way out.

I woke up screaming, in my bed, alive.

Now, I'm not sure why I had this dream. I may have read one too many Edgar Allan Poe stories by that time, and I do remember watching a very terrifying movie, the name of which escapes me right now. It was about a person who was kidnapped, and then buried alive with a water tube, light, and no means of communication with the outside, above-ground world. The air supply was limited, and tied into the time that the ransom had to be paid. I'm sure someone remembers the name of this movie!

A friend of mine's dad died recently, and I went to the funeral. It was a beautiful goodbye. I haven't had anyone really close to me pass away yet. Now that I face the impending passing of my cat (she's still strong, but the heart disease is irreversible and I have a feeling that it's going to be within the next six months), as well as the aging of my parents, and hell, even myself, the life experience of death is inevitable.

Kitties and people don't live forever. But life is so damned short that I don't understand why people are continually at each other's throats with war, hatred, and a myriad of other social ills and complaints that put us on a blood rage against each other.

Life. Is. Too. Damned. Short.

When I was growing up, my mother found Pentacostal religion and took me to church every Sunday for five-hour services for about 12 years. Most of what I got out of the sessions was that I was bad, gospel music was good, and everyone thought way too much about the afterlife and not this life. It was all about the future, what happens when you die, if you're not right by God. There's so much focus on death that it's hard to actually live life.

Life. Is. Too. Damned. Short.

As I approach a close experience of death (the first of what will be many) I'm going to try my best to remember that life, though not good, is here and should be lived to the fullest. I hope that somehow, we all learn one lesson: life is too damn short to kill each other.

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