You are all going to die
I write a lot about death. I’m not an ageing goth or anything. I liked the Mission’s cover version of the Kinks’ Mr Pleasant, otherwise I’ve never been into the whole emo scene. I’m an optimist. I believe it’s all going to be ok.
But you just can’t ignore death.
I don’t care what happens after death. Imagine nothing. That sounds alright. Bit dull, but you won’t be aware of it. Alternatively, imagine sitting on a cloud playing a harp, or talking to your late grandfather, or meeting Jim Morrison and Elvis. Could get a little tiresome. I suppose the concept of burning in hell for eternity might be worth worrying about, if there was even the most remote possibility of truth in it.
What interests me about death is how it influences us while we are alive. We know we have limited time and yet we fill that time with such utter nonsense. We behave badly for much of the time; we hurt those we love far too often.
Yet, death is coming.
And it is always getting closer.
Ok, so chanting carpe diem as you leave your front door each day may be a little much. But there is a simple truth in it. This is what you have. All that you have. Make some use of it.
Me? I prefer Mark Vonnegut’s statement about the meaning of life: ‘We’re here to get each other through this thing, whatever it is’
And that leads me on to why I’ve been thinking about death recently. Last Thursday, my father’s wife died. She was just sixty four years old. He has been in hospital recovering from an illness. I had to break the news to him.
It wasn’t hard. It was just a son, telling his dad some very bad news. The words were easy.
My father and I have talked a lot since then, about her, about the good times, about what sort of person she was. ‘She said I was such a clever man’, he said. He has a degree in metallurgy from Leeds University. I think that’s the kind of thing she meant. ‘She wasn’t clever’, he said, ‘But she was kind’.
But she was clever, the right sort of clever. She knew the importance of being kind. Kindness is the cleverest thing of all. And my Dad knows that. He knows she was the most clever, for she was kind.
I could tell you about the things she did and said and what she liked and the places she had been. But everyone has those stories. Kindness is enough. She wasn’t perfect. Neither am I. Neither are you. Life would be very dull if any one of us achieved perfection. She helped others to get through this thing, whatever it is.
I write about death to understand life. We are dragged towards believing the next job, the new car, the other woman will bring happiness. It won’t.
Just four letters: K.I.N.D. If they print that on your gravestone then bloody well done you.
Death is coming people. Be good to each other.