Monday, April 14, 2008

Looking Death in the Face

My mother died 23 years ago today at age 53. Even though I'd experienced the deaths of assorted relatives and friends' siblings, this was the first time it meant something. Since being diagnosed with leukemia two years ago, I've thought about death a lot, not as some vague distant event, but a sooner-rather-than-later possibility. Contemplating your own end isn't all bleak, especially if you consider some of the grisly stuff you'll avoid: cleaning out the basement; losing your soul at Wal-mart; blaming illegal aliens for the nation's economic woes; fretting about your carbon footprint; whatever. One of the richest dividends death-thoughts pay is clarifying what matters most to you. That you will lose these dear things gives them the sweet prominence they deserve.

Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

--Andrew Marvel, To His Coy Mistress



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog/plog and cannot tell you how inspirational it is to me - I was diagnosed with AML in Nov 2007 and have just finished round 4 of chemo awaiting a donor for BMT.
Continued success! Stay strong and please continue plogging!

Kunal said...

I envy your erudition, pj, among many other attributes.

Carpe diem
Amen.