on death


Lately I have found myself reflecting on death, mine especially though sometimes that of those dearest and closest to me do come up and I find I am not ready to die yet and I don’t want these people to die, at least not in the near future.

In the play Mahabhrata, Vyassa in response to the question which is the greatest folly responds “each day a person dies and we continue to live as if we are immortal” and maybe we couldn’t live otherwise. We would be held back by fear and would not do much, so what is a man to do.

Death does visit us all the time. We are distraught when a parent buries a child, more distraught especially when the child had potentially many years ahead of them to be whatever they could be. No one wants to bury their parents before they are really old.

Death, what are you and how do we appease you!

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

77 thoughts on “on death

  1. john zande says:

    Many of our animals are getting old now, and I know we’re about to enter a period of multiple deaths. It’s not going to be easy. We lost Brother unexpectedly last year, and I was numb for months after it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We’re wired to resist death as long as possible. But I find it helps to remember that, for ourselves, death is non-consciousness, which we are born out of and visit every night. But for those we love, it’s their permanent absence, and that’s never easy.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. renudepride says:

    There is no alternative to dying and death. A “plan B” simply does not exist. Somehow, we continue. Naked hugs!

    Like

  4. judyt54 says:

    I feel a lot easier about death than I do the myriad possiblities there are with dying itself. Knowing that what happens to me (and my husband) after death is the part that makes it easier: neither of us want that dreadful embalming process, and we both opt for cremation

    Back to the earth, how biblical is that not just stuffed with formaldehyde (to preserve the body? oh please) or buried in a cement vault. No. No.

    I have it set up, that they can take whatever organs are useful, and there is a vast comfort in that for me, since I am the recycle queen of all times anyway.

    Im not a fatalist, but I am a realist, and yeah, its hard to think of giving in, at last. All that dark. Makes me long for a belief in ghosts, at the very least, or a heaven, but they just arent options now.

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    • Arkenaten says:

      Read Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett. It is a wonderful story and
      will answer all your questions – with a smile!
      🙂

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      Last time when I told my father that if I were unfortunately to precede him, I should be cremated he told me that will be their problem since I will be dead.
      The prospect of death would have me make allowance for coming back as a tortoise just so I can live long with almost no movement at all or as a mosquito

      Liked by 1 person

  5. maryplumbago says:

    For me I dislike death for two reasons.
    The first is a dread of ever ever going into a nursing home. I will find a way out of that.

    Second is just the not knowing what goes on in the future, as I’ve always been so curious and speculative…
    I can imagine what Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson would have given to see the future inventions and technology we have now and how people have changed…all mostly for the better, but some for the worst.

    What would they think of trump!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. One of my close neighbors died early this morning. He was a good man. I feel for his wife and daughter.

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  7. Barry says:

    I don’t know, perhaps it’s the autistic in me, but death has never affected me emotionally. No loss, no sadness. I feel just as connected to those who have died as I did before, be they parents, close family or friends. And as I age the rate at which which loved ones die seems to be increasing.

    On the other hand, the process of dying I find to be emotional, and the more drawn out it is, the more it affects me. This was especially so with my father who at 90 was far from ready to go. In fact when I recall how he was “allowed” to die I get very angry. How does withdrawing the necessities of life – food and water – against the wishes of the patient differ from involuntary euthanasia? I have an incomplete blog post that’s been waiting to be completed for several years regarding this. I will publish it some day, but I’m still not ready for that.

    As for my own death. A counselor once told me she’d kill herself if she faced the same health problems I do, but I have no intention of going any time soon. I have every intention of reaching 100. There’s too much still to learn and discover. Of that I will never tire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      I have come to that point where I think going at 90 is going too soon. I want to be here for a little while longer.
      No other death had affected me so much as my mother’s a few years ago. I still miss her.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nan says:

        Living to 90 may sound good at your age now when your body and mind are still functioning comparatively well. But trust me, things are going to drastically change as the years go by. I predict that by age 90 you may not be so anxious to go “for a little while longer.” Mentally perhaps, but physically? Probably not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Barry says:

          My father was far from ready to go at 90, even though he had spent most of his adult life in extreme pain due to a spinal injury in the 1940s. Although he was prescribed morphine to reduce the pain he refused to take it because he hated the “high” it gave him.

          My mother died at 94 and although she needed a walking frame to get around and suffered terribly from restless leg syndrome, she was still very adventurous. In fact the stroke that eventually killed her occurred while undertaking her first ocean cruise,

          Even though I suffer from chronic migraines (about 20 days per month) and have a few other health issues, I really can’t understand why ten years ago, a counselor told me that she would kill herself if she faced the same health issues I do. In this regard I think much like my parents. Both my parents frequently made the comment that coping with aging is simply a case of mind over matter – If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!

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          • Nan says:

            We’re all different. Your parents were fortunate to have had such a positive outlook on aging. Nevertheless I stand by my claim that a desire for extended life may very well change as the body (and sometimes mind) reaches the later boundaries of life.

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            • Barry says:

              Life (and death) is what you make of it. I’m well aware what chronic pain and physical disability can do to one’s outlook on life. I just need to look at what has happened on my wife’s side of the family, and to some extent her own attitudes, and to some of our friends. I see it in stark contrast to how I and the families of both my parents view life and death, even in extreme adversity.

              As you say, we’re all different, but I cannot imagine any circumstance where I might wish my life was over.

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          • makagutu says:

            If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter sounds like a good way to live. It can cover a multitude of problems

            Liked by 1 person

            • Barry says:

              If applied inappropriately, it could be an excuse to ignore all kinds of things that shouldn’t be ignored. I only ever heard my parents using the phrase when referring to their own situation and only where there really are no alternatives, such as aging, or where it really didn’t matter such as when others might take offence at someone’s words or actions, my parents would use the phrase to explain why didn’t react the way others expected.

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        • makagutu says:

          You are right I guess. I have seen some 90 year Olds around here and I don’t think I would want to be like that

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  8. jilldennison says:

    There are days that I think I’m ready … just tired and done with it all. But then, I remember something I’ve left undone, a book I have yet to finish, and I’m ready to stay a bit longer.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hariod Brawn says:

    I disagree with the quote, Mak. Who lives as if they were immortal? Any person who believed that would likely lack all motivation, all sense of purpose, and be effectively dead; for why do anything with any urgency, where lies the peril in doing nothing, or finding a nice spot and doing only a very few things — having sex, eating, drinking, and doing drugs all day? You know, like Pink.

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    • makagutu says:

      Well, maybe not immortal but not exactly like we expect to die anytime anywhere.

      Like

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Hmm. We all expect to die, surely, we just don’t know where or when it’ll happen. Unless we have a known life-threatneing condition (or are in a dangerous environment) there’s no rational reason to think we’re about to die, even though we might. It sounds like a neurosis, to me, constantly thinking one is about to die. Sorry Mak, I just don’t think the quote stacks up.

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    • Barry says:

      I take the quote to mean that we undertake life without the thought of death intervening. That’s how I live. Statistically, I’m likely to be dead before many of my planned projects reach fruition, but it’s not something I take into consideration when I start. To do so, would severely restrict my options. I prefer to live as if I was immortal, but perhaps my perception of immortality is different from yours. Perhaps spending 2 out of 3 days of my life coping with the symptoms of migraine gives urgency to my motivation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Hi Barry. It’s quite possible the English quote is subtly misdleading, as are many translations from ancient Sanskrit or Pali canons (and from which this play perhaps draws?). Nevertheless, I imagine it’s a take on Indian philosophical themes of impermanence, transience, conditionality, religious cosmology, and so forth. But do you really live life as if you were immortal, as if you alone in the world were beyond the grip of death? I’m not sure how many interpretations of immortality there are if we include religious cosmologies (in which we can permit a certain kind of ongoing existence), although I think we’ll agree that it means each individual mind/body dies, yes?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Barry says:

          A person once remarked to my mother “My goodness, you live as if there’s no tomorrow!”, meaning that she observed how active my mother was and how much enthusiasm and energy she put into everything she did, as if this was her last day. My mother replied along the lines that she was confident that there would be a tomorrow, but there’s scarcely enough time today to prepare for it. She then commented that she lives as if she’d be around to witness how the great grandchildren of her great grandchildren perceive her generation’s stewardship of this world.

          i’m puzzled by “as if you alone in the world were beyond the grip of death?” Why me alone? Knowing death is inevitable is one thing. Living as if it could happen any rime soon is another. This seems to be the motto of a great may of our whānāu (wider family).

          To me, planning my life around the possibility of death is a bit like planning my life around the possibility of a migraine attack occurring, but on a somewhat different time frame. I plan my activities as if if I don’t get migraines, whether it’s an appointment with the bank or the barber, or meeting up with friends and family. I know that I will have to cancel or postpone around 60 – 70% of what I plan, but that will happen regardless of whether I plan a single activity over the next month or multiple activities every day of the month. I live assuming migraines will not interfere with my life, know full well that it’s unlikely that a week will pass without a multi-day migraine striking which will disable me physically and/or cognitively. I don’t have any choice in the matter.

          The same with death. Knowing that it’s inevitable doesn’t mean you need to live as if its going to happen, especially not that it’s going to happen in the foreseeable future. Isn’t that what living as if you’re immortal means?

          Although I consider myself religious, I’m of the opinion that all that remains of us after death is what we leave behind. There is no heaven/hell/afterlife/nirvana/deity, nor is there a soul/spirit/energy/awareness that might be capable of existing there, although I’m comfortable using such terms in a metaphorical or allegorical sense.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hariod Brawn says:

            Thank you, Barry, for your considered reply; I appreciate it.

            You asked a question regarding this sentence (which you quote only partially): But do you really live life as if you were immortal, as if you alone in the world were beyond the grip of death?

            This wasn’t to suggest that you alone may live as if you were immortal, but that in your knowing the fact of everyone being bound for death, then why would you (or anyone living by such a stance) choose to ignore the evidence?

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            • Barry says:

              I think you’re taking a somewhat different perspective, or our understanding of the words I’ve used are different. Perhaps too it might be partially a cultural difference? I’m not ignoring the evidence. I choose not to be perturbed by it.

              The person’s comment to my mother was supposed to illustrate what I meant, but it seems it fell short. I’ll have another shot.

              I frequently hear the expression “live like there’s no tomorrow”, which apparently is supposed to encourage you to make as much as possible out of today, and to appreciate it as much as possible. It doesn’t mean that you have to literally believe there’s no need to consider the future. You still need to plan for tomorrow, next week, next year and the next decade or two. In that expression the use of the word “live” has a particular meaning. It’s referring, for want of a better term, a mode of living. just as “live” in “live as if you’re immortal” refers to a mode of living. I think they’re two different modes – one being very short term, the other a very long term, but they both can be valid perspectives.

              One other point, is that within Aotearoa New Zealand, aspects of Māori culture are slowly rubbing off onto the general population. and one of these is how we perceive the world. Although I myself have a finite life span, I am part of something that has an indefinite, perhaps immortal life span provided it is taken care of.

              You only need to read discussions regarding our legislation declaring a river and its entire watershed a living entity with all the rights of a human being to see there’s a huge gulf between our world view and that of most Americans. Similar legislation has be passed affecting other areas as well, and no doubt more areas of the country will be legally protected by this method.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Nan says:

    I don’t want to belabor the subject, but here are a few excerpts from a Quora participant in response to the question: “What are the first signs of old age?” Individual who answered stated he was 76.

    — I am significantly less good at hearing, especially high notes/pitches
    — I am less capable of long running physical exertion
    — Less intellectual stamina (not absolute deterioration, but shorter spells before I get tired). Coupled to this, a loss of patience.
    — I sleep less soundly and need to pee more often
    — strong exertion leaves me stiffer the following morning than would have been the case ten years ago.

    There are “signs” at age 76. They get more pronounced as time goes by, along with a few others that make their presence known.

    So while we may mentally want to live into our 90’s and even longer, the body may have other ideas.

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    • Barry says:

      I’m in my seventies and I have had the same experiences, apart of a loss of patience – mine has increased over the years. Life is tough – especially when you’re autistic, but didn’t discover the fact until you were sixty.

      I think it’s all a matter of perspective. Apparently my experience of life is considered so terrible by some, they would want to end it if they were in my position, yet I find that completely unfathomable.

      The aging process you’ve described, can be described in terms of the spoon theory. I never had many spoons to start with, and no doubt my allocation will continue to decrease. For myself, even if I get even an occasional spoon, I’ll consider life worth living. However, perhaps for others, life becomes intolerable after losing just a few spoons?

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  11. farmgirl says:

    I have a great website that explains death and a hope for the future. I hope you’ll find it informative.

    https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/about-life-and-death/

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  12. farmgirl says:

    Sounds like it won’t be good enough for you. But here’s one. Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:22:23.

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    • makagutu says:

      I told you earlier that you are funny. Isaiah’s promise to Ahaz was not about Jesus.

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      • farmgirl says:

        Please explain.

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        • makagutu says:

          Do you know how to read? Read the whole chapter of Isaiah & tell me if that promise to Ahaz wasn’t fulfilled immediately.

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          • farmgirl says:

            Isaiah has 66 books. Not a chapter. So which chapter?

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            • makagutu says:

              This is the problem with those who can’t read. You referred me to a specific verse in Isaiah as proof of your claims. I ask you to read the whole chapter from where you extracted the verse then you ask me which chapter you should read!

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          • farmgirl says:

            Take a look at Isaiah 9:6. Does that speak about Ahaz ’ son?

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            • makagutu says:

              You mean this

              For to us a child is born,
                  to us a son is given,
                  and the government will be on his shoulders.
              And he will be called
                  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
                  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

              At what point does it meet the 3 criteria.
              I have come not to bring peace but a sword are words supposedly spoken by Jesus.
              In more than one instance, he says he ain’t god.
              All through he is referred to as son, never father.
              Give it another try, will you

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  13. farmgirl says:

    Yea not sure where you’re going lol Jesus is not God. Already got that. You might want to read chapter 7 again.

    Like

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