Thursday, February 28, 2002

Tales From The Far Side
I am on the far side of life from blogsisters like Kenoki. I'll be 62 in another week or so, but that's not the only fact that puts me closer to the endings of things. I live across the hall from my 86 year old mom in a building populated by people more her age than mine. How's that for staring death in the face! Every other week or so there's an EMS truck out in front taking someone out.....

So, how do I deal with it? First of all, I have to be honest and admit that I grew up living on the second floor of a funeral home; my dad was an undertaker. That, in itself, is an important factor in my attitude toward dying. And my experiences growing up as I did will make for unusual posts someday on my own blog.

What I want to tell you now is how I manage to keep on keeping on, even though, every day, I am reminded of the impermance of things. I am not religious. At all. I don't believe in heaven or hell or even that "I" as Elaine will continue somewhere after I'm gone. What I like to imagine is that, since energy supposedly can't be created or destroyed, when "I" die, the energy that animates me will return to the cosmos in millions of tiny particles, and those particles of energy will eventually be shared among all kinds of growing things that will have lives of their own. If that's true, pieces of me go on forever. (An maybe that's what reincarnation really is.)

Well, what about while I'm here -- because that's all I believe that I have. While I'm here, I try to be here, present, engaged, animated, in everything I do, adding to the energy that is me and that, I'd like to think, will go on without "me." One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time remembering to BE.

On my weblog I quoted from a poem by Theordore Roethke that I would like read at the party (including dancing) that I expect my kids to throw to celebrate my life when I have become those particles. It ends: I breathe what I am: the first and last of all things. That's my mantra.

Read lots of poetry. Dance. Take risks. Love with passion. Face your fears as you face the wind, and hold onto someone's hand if you think you're going to blow away.

Every once in a while outside my building, I see a bent woman with a walker, walking her old three-legged dog -- walking, together, into the wind.

You will get used to it Kenoki, if you can find a way to embrace that old three-legged dog.

Denise is absolutely right. Live Now. Die Later.