The funny thing about Dying 0

 

No one likes talking about dying. Once you start talking about dying you think, shit

I’m going to die now. It’s not just superstition. You will die. Not because you

tempted fate by scandalously talking of death. Because everyone dies. It’s the

only guarantee we have in life. We delude ourselves that we are immortal. We try

to stay young. We inject botox and use words like longevity and age defying. We

use creams to ‘fight the affects of ageing’ but while you might fight superficial

affects such as wrinkling dimpling and saggy arse, you can’t apply creams that

stop you dying. No pharmaceutical company has yet mastered a topical cream that

can claim to be ‘death defying’. We get old and die. We stay young and die. I

could die right now. I could have a heart attack and never finish this article. I’m

having a panic attack just thinking about it. It’s terrifying. So I don’t think about it. I

don’t think about it so much I actually forget. So every time someone dies I get a

shock. But if I think about it rationally, someone dying is the most natural thing on

earth. It’s like being in a raffle where everyone’s number is eventually up. I

imagine the grim reaper less like a hooded guy with a sythe, but more a top hatted

bloke in candy stripe at a carnival on a loudspeaker sprucing ‘Everybody wins a

prize’. The prize is death. So why are we surprised ? Or traumatised? I guess

because its random. Unfair. Painful. But not entirely unexpected. In comparison

our life entry point ‘birth’ has mundane uniformity, death is like lucky dip. So how

will you die? Car accident? Cancer? Snake bite? Stroke? Choke on your tongue?

Will you fall off a mountain? Get lost on a bush walk and never return? Plane

crash? Shark attack? It’s so random that when you think about it too hard you

freak yourself out with the numerous options. My father died in a car accident

when I was 6. As a midget spectator on this drama of grief and loss I concluded

that only stupid people died. My father was drunk and drove into an oncoming car.

I figured that as long as I didn’t take risks I would live. It wasn’t until I was 8 that I

learnt everyone died. I call this period of my life, The Woody Allen years. I was the

only kid in year 2 who wrote an essay after Summer holiday called ‘Whats the

point?’ I became obsessed with death. Mainly because no one spoke to me about

it. In fact we weren’t allowed to speak of death. It made my grandmother nervous

(possibly because she felt the dark shadow of her own demise was nigh). I often

imagine how one would live one’s life if one knew one’s exact departure date and

method of departure. I think perhaps its our primitive fear of dying that has held us

back from properly living life. I wonder if one embraces death one also embraces

life? It would be a revolutionary mindset, because right now our approach is to

pretty well the opposite. I am thinking of creating a ‘death plan’. It will be in a

folder on my desk top and it will host the usual things like a will, when to turn off

the machines, but most importantly it will house the photos I want shown in my

powerpoint – the ones where I look good not you. I mean, don’t trust the living with

your powerpoint! And there will be a play list banning Hallelujah, all Jeff Buckley

songs and definitely no Eva Cassidy. I’m going for KHIA’s ‘All You Ladies Pop your

pussy like this’. It’s inappropriate and its shocking. That way I’ll still be there.

If you want to get engaged with talking about dying go to the Byron Hospice

Service (formerly Amitayus) for an evening of music, poetry and

story-telling. Death doesn’t have to be all dark and

gloomy. They are going to have cake. Drill Hall Mullum

on Wednesday 19 April at 7pm.

Please RSVP to info@byronhospice.org.au or (02)

6684 3808 for catering purposes. Thanks

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