Considering mortality in 2012

I visited my grandpa today. That wouldn’t normally require a blog post, except that I haven’t seen him in about 18 months due to my living in Sydney. The other thing, is that he has Alzheimer’s disease. The long goodbye, as they call it.

It caused me to consider the current moment that we’re in. It’s very nearly 2012.Jan wrote a beautiful post about it today, discussing how it feel liberating for her consciousness not to need to post something every moment. She’ll go offline completely for a few days, and consider what the current moment means.

In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, there is a passage which I’m often reminded of that resonated with me again this morning after seeing Grandpa. It essentially says ‘consider the day of your death, because it’s the most important day of your life.’ Not being prepared for this, it posits, it one of the greatest crimes of modern man. And I wonder how that remains true in 2012.

Alzheimer’s is the long goodbye. But this morning I wanted it to be the long hello. Grandpa and I don’t really know each other. Not as equals, anyway. He grew up and rose through the ranks of the Victoria Police Force, raised my Dad and his three siblings and played golf. But he didn’t journal, that I know of. There are stories that remain, but not many artifacts of the man that once was. And so, it’s hard to tell if he is or will be ready for death. It was hard to tell if anyone in the hostel we visited this morning was ready. And it was another reminder that I continue to ignore that question, too.

Today, I couldn’t help but wonder what it will look like in the future as our digital selves continue to echo, healthily, through time.

6 thoughts on “Considering mortality in 2012”

  1. That tibetan quote is great. Dark but great.
    I think very few people are actually prepared.

    My girlfriend Caitlin is a nurse and worked with the olds for a years.¬†My favourite stories are about a sweet old man there. He was prepared. When he died, he was sitting with Caitlin and said “We’ll I think that’s about it for me… Where’s my wife?””she’s just gone down the shops.””Well she’ll be a bit annoyed” the man replied, giggled, and died. Such grace is rare.

  2. I agree with Alex, very few are prepared. 
    I wondered if Steve Jobs was prepared?  This post sent me back to the great Steve Jobs Commencement speech (
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA) This too is a bit dark, but thought provoking, he quotes, “if you live each day as if it were your last some day you most¬†definitely¬†will be right”! ¬†So that each day he would ask himself, if this were my last day of life would I want to do what I am about to do today? This way you focus on what is truly important. Maybe that’s the best preparation? Follow your heart, “stay hungry, stay foolish”.

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