Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.
- Mahatma Gandhi
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.
- William Shakespeare - Hamlet
For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.
- Kahlil Gibran
All our times have come...
Here but now they’re gone...
Seasons don’t fear the reaper...
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain..we can be like they are...
Come on baby...don’t fear the reaper
Blue Öyster Cult - The Reaper
So I've had a pretty hectic week. It began by climbing into my car Monday morning and discovering that it did not want to start. I had to take the day off work, which, hey, isn't so bad, and have the car towed somewhere would they would make it go again.
I could have had it the next day, but it needed other work to pass inspection so I had the mechanic do that as well so it was ready yesterday to be picked up. I've been having to pick up the baby because I had been borrowing my mother in law's car. My wife called me on the way home yesterday to remind me to pick the little tyke up and that her mother had picked up our car for us and paid for it and we'd just pay her back. That sure was nice. I said, sure, no problem.
Then no more than three or five minutes later I get another call from her work. I'm expecting it to be her since my phone tells me it's her (work number). It's not. It's her coworker, Kara. She asks me if I can come by the lab (where they work). I thought this was quite an odd request from her. I responded that I had already passed the lab (I'm traveling west on Interstate 70 from St. Louis to O'Fallon and I had already passed UMSL) and was approaching the airport. And in that area there is no good place to turn around for several miles. Kara, however, was insistent that I do. She informed me that I may need to drive my wife home, for she had just found out that her cousin Daniel had died and she was hysterical.
He was only 25 years old and one of her closest cousins. He was a member of the family she visited the most besides her own, out of all her hundreds of other aunts, uncles, and cousins. So how can this be, how can Daniel be dead?
Even in the midst of such tragedy despite myself I grumble inwardly. Sure, I'll turn around...just gotta find a good place to do it and I hang up. I get off on a road near the airport, the closest plausible exit (besides getting off actually at the airport). I end up passing by mistake an ideal place to hit 70 going back East and end up having to go through the airport anyway.
Oh and then the torrential rain starts.
Sure, we'd been needing rain badly. Grass around here was starting to turn brown. The van we bought on February 28 had barely made use of it's nice new front and rear windsheild wipers. I'm not kidding. So yeah, thanks for the rain, but was a monsoon necessary?
After going through an eternity of traffic lights passing terminal after terminal of the airport (and hitting every single one red, mind you), I made it back onto the highway.
I got completely soaked, through and through, as I jogged from the parking lot to the dry haven of the overhang before the doorway to the building. Then my phone rings and I reach into a sopped side pocket and answer it. I greet my wife as I spit acidic fresh rainwater from my mouth. She sounds fine, a very far cry from any degree of hysteria. Upon finding out I'm there she says she'll meet me at the door and hangs up.
To spare further boring you with any details, the rain lets up, we both go home in our seperate vehicles (I pick the baby up so I get home later than she does) and both her and her mother drive down to the sticks where her family lives to be with them. All I can find out about Daniel's death is that it was some sort of ladder mishap. I assume he fell off of one. Ouch.
I had thought for sure it was a car accident when I first heard he'd bought the farm. Many years ago Daniel broke his neck in one. He was a lot like one of my cousins in that he had a penchant for accidents and imprudent driving. He actually made a full recovery from that, amazingly. So how does one who makes a full recovery from a broken neck years before die by falling off a ladder? Doesn't seem worth it, does it? It's almost like the guy that walks away from a horrific car accident and then gets hit by another vehicle on the road. What's the point?
It got me thinking about death. Boy, when your number's up, it's up, boys and girls.. Be careful while on those ladders. It could happen to me tomorrow. You could go tits up tomorrow, or even right after reading this. You never know what kind of crazy shit life has in store for you. I hope there's an afterlife. I wonder if Athesists have any belief in any kind of afterlife, or if some do and some don't. Simply ceasing to exist is something I can't wrap my mind around. Such resounding nothingness...I can't bear to even try to imagine it. Whether an afterlife exists or doesn't, it's probably the reason most believe in one.
I figure an aferlifeless death is exactly like this: take every day back to the beginning of time before you were born (or conceived, or whatever) and that's pretty much what it's like. But that doesn't help.
I hope there's a Heaven or something to look forward to after your terminal breath. Anectdotes of near death experiences give me hope, even if they're just hallucinations. Also convincing stories and/or evidence of reincarnation, like past life regressions.
Even ghosts give me hope that there's something in the Great Beyond. At least let me come back as a spirit to haunt people.
That'd totally rule!
Actually, I'd like to live forever. How much does gettig frozen in cryonics cost, again?