Hard Math

funny old lady smoking a cigar - on death and dying

What I realized, sadly, is that you will keep coming to my blog whether or not I update it.

What is even sadder is that you are still just coming to look at my hot cheerleader pictures and goggle over my ranch dressing photos.  The internet is a strange bedfellow, let me tell you.

In my younger, more dramatic days (yes, it is possible, please stop laughing), I did this thing where I walked through graveyards.  I could tell you I did something cool, like historical grave rubbings or demon conjuring, but I didn’t even do that.  I just loved the idea that someone would see a young, beautiful girl walking slowly through an empty graveyard and singing.

Very Anne of Green Gables-y.  Anyways.

When you spend a bunch of time in graveyards, it’s hard to miss the headstones.   There were always beautiful stone sculptures, some intact, some not so much.  Angels with missing wings, masonic symbols, hematite, marble, granite.  A visual garden of the beauty and solemnity of death.

My fascination has always been with the dates.  It was so arresting to find a beautiful pillar or sculpture dedicated to a child of 4.  Even more fascinating were the young mothers, dead at 19 or 20, laid to rest with their children.  Soldiers died young, too.  I was always captivated to find a gravestone with those few numbers.  Such easy math.

Today, I had a dream.  Just now.  I realize that it is 6pm, but the time change has been a bugger for Abigail and I.  She asked if I would sing her a lullaby in my bed, which I agreed to.  Twenty minutes later we are both dead to the world.

joke funny picture of sleeping with child perception

Funny thing, that death.

In my dream, it was the future.  I don’t know exactly how far in the future it was, but it was there.  What is interesting is that, while I was dreaming, I tried to figure out the date.  It wasn’t 2080, because that would mean I was 100 years old.  Maybe more like 2060.  I was pretty old, but not REALLY old.

The idea that really arrested me was that I was still alive.

“I’m going to see 2025,” I said to my dreaming self.  I was surprised.  I wasn’t scared or shocked.  I was just pleased.  “I’m going to get old.  Then, one night, I will have trouble breathing.  My last breath will be difficult, but peaceful.”

Then I woke up.

This is probably a little bit morbid.  It’s not really a happy dream, but it wasn’t sad either.  It made me feel introspective.  I have never really considered the end of my life.  I mean, I have been afraid of death for a long, long time, but I have never really thought that I might become an old woman and die peacefully.  I don’t think my husband has either:  He has seen how I drive.

In my own mind, my life will end every day.  I will get into a car accident.  I will get cancer.  I will step out in front of traffic while chasing a huge rubber hand-ball (This has almost happened, and I was much older that you would think).  Every day is a day that I wake up and face the reality that I might die today.

It makes for very interesting decisions.

death by cheese dress - dress made of cheese
"Why yes! My dress IS made of cheese. You only get to live once, right?"

It was a really hot day, and it was muggy.  We did some hiking and found that there was one waterfall that had a secret trail behind it.  I, being pretty sure that death is always following me pretty closely, thought we should go down the trail.  Kyle, having a notion that he would like to be an old man some day, was put off by the huge yellow warning sign that said, “Please, for the love of God, DON’T JUMP OFF THIS CLIFF.”  It was complete with a cartoon image of a man diving to his death among the rocks, arms and head ripping off in a grisly 2-D horror show.Kyle and I went to Hawaii right after Abigail was born.  On the Road to Hana, there are a series of waterfalls that tourists flock to.  Since we were feeling pretty touristy, we decided to go.

If there is a cliff to dive off of, even if it says its dangerous, the person who lives for today jumps.

Even though it was dangerous, and even though Kyle threw a piss-fit about how I would probably die, I still jumped.  I jumped hard, too.  When there are sharp rocks, the only this more dangerous than jumping into unknown waters is not jumping far enough.  I smashed down into the cool green water and bobbed right back up.  I smiled at Kyle and laughed.  He just shook his head and said some choice words about my mental health.

The thing is, when I jumped? I was fully aware that I could die.  That’s why I did it.  Not out of some death wish, but because I might never have had that kind of chance again.  If I’m going to die anyway, might as well be at the bottom of some Hawaiian grotto, right?

Cliff jumping on death and dying
What your outsides are doing…
sad baby crying on death and dying
What your insides are doing.

Now, I am not saying I believe that my dream is foretelling the future, or that I now know the time and manner of my death.  I’m not being that crazy today.  On the other hand, it makes me wonder how my life would change if I did know those things.I may have gotten a small amount of perspective today.

To be able to know your place in time is a fantastic gift.  What a blessing to realize that you just might be able to make it to old age.

If I knew when I was going to die, would I think my time today more precious?

If I knew how I was going to die, would I take more risks?

If I knew where I was going to die, would I travel more?

If I knew who would be there, would I spend more time with those who weren’t, or would I write them off altogether?

If I knew what the cause of my death would be, would I try to fix it or just live more fully the way I wanted to?

See?  I don’t know the answer to these questions any more now than when I laid down to sleep this afternoon.  But, it makes me wonder them.  And even more, it gives me a strange hope.  Perhaps I will see 2025.  Perhaps I will die gently in my bed, sleeping next to my wonderful, old-man husband.  These are futures that I have never explored, but now seem like possibilities.

When people pass my gravestone, it is always possible the dates might make people do some hard math.

Creepy gravestone on death and dying


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One response to “Hard Math”

  1. If I knew how I was going to die, like really specifically how I was going to die, then I think I would take more risks. But, if I only had a vague idea of how I was going to die, like “you will die upside down”, then I would still be more careful. Because, you never know if somehow when you're doing that crazy parkour jump off of a skyscraper whether you're going to hit a seagull and go head over heals.

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