(a piece I wrote with Wild Write Wednesdays; a writers group on Facebook)
There is a certain gift, that a real sense of fear of one’s own mortality, brings.
Now bear in mind I have no fear of death itself; I know where I’m going, what I’m doing, and I’m fully aware that it’s simply another kind of transition. I’ll continue my work, only in a different form.
Yet I do have a fear of running out of time to suck the very marrow from the bone of life in this form. I have so much life left to live, so much drinking in of it’s gifts and blessings, so many dreams and experiences yet to fulfil. I feel so keenly the desire, the need, to complete my work in this life before I move onto the next! Yet can we ever really complete all that we wish or desire?
I think we mostly move through this life unaware, so intent and focused on what’s next, to do, to achieve, to get to… that we forget to stop, to look around, to literally smell the roses. Mindfulness has been a great medicine for all humans to defeat that, but that’s another story for another time.
Sometimes in life we are reminded that it’s a finite period of time, from birth, to death, and the clock is ticking. Someone beloved or unexpected, dies. Our thoughts turn to the ‘end’ for them, what they missed, who they left behind, what will be forgotten and how quickly. A ceasing to exist, creates in us a moment frozen in time to really sit back, reflect, reassess our own lives.
Sometimes it’s not someone else, sometimes it’s us. A sickness, a disease, an accident survived. The current global pandemic, for example.
Whatever it is, it causes us to stop and think, and to look around.
What is my life, what does it mean, what is it for?
Who is in my life, who matters most to me, who is affecting me negatively, and what do I still need to do about that, or them?
What have I done, what have I not yet done that I still want to, what dreams do I have left unfulfilled and how can I achieve them?
What harm have I done in this life, and how can redress that?
What do I know, what have I learned, what do I still wish to learn and how can I address that?
How is my health and what can I do to balance that better? To eke out the number of years I have left in this particular life?
Are my affairs in order? If I died right now, what would be left to deal with, to tidy up, finish off, or wrestle with… and who would have to do that?
I’d like to leave some letters I think, for all those I love and care about, to let them know the effect they have had upon me and my life. To let them know, for always, beyond the grave, how much I loved them and valued them in my life.
I’d like to leave some money behind as inheritances for my children. Money may not buy happiness, but the millennials will mostly not even be able to get onto the property ladder without this kind of a leg-up. Do they even still want to? At least it’s something that might help them achieve some of what they’d like to in their own lives whether that be a home of their own, travel, experiences etc.
I’d like to leave a record of my work behind. A book, online courses, perhaps an apprentice or so, so that my work can continue beyond my death.
I think I’d better get cracking. That’s a lot of work still left to do, and truly do any of us know how long we have?
My health has deteriorated, I’m painfully aware of it. My lungs are degrading from the COPD that they were, to post Covid19 stickiness, less air, the liquor of life itself. The fatigue means that slowly my body is deteriorating in all ways, muscles, strength, stamina… and goodness knows what else is going on inside. Nobody knows, as yet, really. I hope I heal well, and can live and thrive anew.
So yes, these are my thoughts of my own mortality at the moment. Held in liminal space, for myself, here and now.