Death

Oct 7, 2012
1,916
383
NC
#1
the struggle with death

Self-awareness is a supreme gift, a treasure as precious as life. This is what makes us human. But it comes with a costly price: the wound of mortality. Our existence is forever shadowed by the knowledge that we will grow, blossom, and, inevitably, diminish and die. - Irvin Yalom
This weekend my son had an existential crisis. He started thinking about death and specifically my impending death bothered him. it went something like this:​
*​
G: How old are you ? 100?​
Me: No much younger than that.​
G: I hope you get to be 177.​
Me: oh yeah?​
G: Yeah I don't want you to ever die and leave me.​
(at this point he became kind of emotional. quivering lip and teary eyed.)​
I explained it from my framework and am satisfied, but its a curious thing when a child starts to ponder such. I remember being around 4 or 5 when I started thinking about it. I saw on the news that the real smokey the bear had died, and my mind took several jumps and realized, "Oh crap! were all going to die and worst of all...my parents are going to die!"​
*​
Anyways, just curious:​
when did you first discover death? How did you cope? (talk to parents, etc) Also how did you explain it to children?​
 
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Oct 7, 2012
1,916
383
NC
#2
I will not judge if your response is decidedly non-theist. Just curious about your personal awareness and struggle with death and how you handled your children when they approached this.
 
Oct 25, 2012
3,775
614
Louisville, Ky
#4
In my youth I did indeed wonder about and consider what death was. As I aged and seriously considered mortality as family and friends died I came to the conclusion that I will never escape or know what it entails. Once I did so I accepted it as a futile thing to waste my time on, let alone allow to worry me.
 
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Oct 25, 2012
3,775
614
Louisville, Ky
#6
Do you remember what that period was like though?
I think it began with the death of my Aunt Evelyn...I cried and grieved enormously. After a while I contemplated my Grandfather being next as he was recovering from a stroke. I came to understand how completely powerless I was to change the inevitable.
In time I came to accept this reality and simply go on being happy with life instead of wasting it thinking and worrying about it ending.
 
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Oct 7, 2012
1,916
383
NC
#7
I think most people go about their lives and don't think much about it.
In many people, death anxiety is overt and easily recognizable, however distressing. In others, it is subtle,covert, and hidden behind other symptoms, and it is identified only by exploration, even excavation. - Yalom
 
Nov 24, 2016
1,376
283
Victoria, BC
#8
The fact is, we are taught to fear death. In itself, it has no significance. Nor does life, for that matter, except to manifest the inexplicable wonder and power and intricacy of existence.

We do not fear what we were before birth; why should we fear what we will be after death? Leaving aside the fairy tales of religion, death is simply the end of our personal existence. No matter what experiences and objects we greedily cling to, when we have breathed our last, they are all as if they had never been.

Of course, our lives can affect the lives of those who come after us, but that obviously does not concern us much, considering how nonchalantly we are bequeathing a world of ecological catastrophe to our posterity.

Our deaths, and our lives, are of utter insignificance, here on a grain of dust amid the rapidly cooling embers of the Big Bang.

Some people say that they do not fear death, but the pain of dying.

Pain is indeed the normal concomitant of our dissolution, which we make more fearsome by denying it and refusing to look at it. No matter how horrid our pain, it will end, one way or another. Moreover, it rarely, if ever, equals the sum total of the pain we endure in life. A stoic acceptance of what life brings us is most appropriate to such transient creatures of air and dew as we are.

Is life worth living? As Samuel Butler wrote, that is a question for an embryo, not for a man (or a woman).

When I have been low, I have considered with what struggle and pain I have achieved the minimal level of awareness I now possess. My untimely disappearance would mean that some other poor creature would need to go through a similar struggle to reach an equivalent awareness. It is best to endure life and see if my awareness has any use, deficient and incomplete as that awareness is. As unlikely as it is that my life and awareness have any significance, there are those whose existences have some meaning, brief as that meaning may be. Moreover, only the long unrolling of the ages can determine the ultimate meaning of our lives. The lives of the dinosaurs are often judged to be without meaning, but their existence shaped the evolution of our distant ancestors, and their disappearance permitted us to exist.

For those who do not find contemplation of the long sweep of the ages to be congenial, I would say this:

Life is like a camping trip. If you want to be comfortable, you should have stayed home by the fire. Yet, people do go on camping trips. ;)
.
 
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Nov 24, 2016
1,376
283
Victoria, BC
#11
'
The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly....

Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.

___Shelley, Adonais
.
 
Nov 24, 2016
1,376
283
Victoria, BC
#12
Death is by far the most dramatic event in you entire life.
I don't wish to appear ghoulish, but provided there was not an unbearable amount of pain, and if I did not make too much trouble for other people, I would like my death to take some time -- enough time for me to study the process and make some comments on it.

After all, it's your last experience, it's a big one, and it is rather unique. Why not take the time to appreciate it? ---

.
 
Mar 5, 2011
746
159
Rhondda, Cymru
#13
Nox est perpetua, una, dormienda. What's to appreciate? A pain in the arse followed by being switched off! Off to hospital Wednesday, bugger it!
 
Oct 7, 2012
1,916
383
NC
#15
The Way of the Samurai is found in death.
Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.
Every day, when one’s body and mind are at peace,
one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows,
rifles, spears, and swords, being carried away by surging waves,
being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning,
being shaken to death by a great earthquake,
falling from thousand-foot cliffs,
dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master.
And every day, without fail, one should consider himself as dead.
This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai.

-from the book, Hagakure
.
 
Feb 8, 2013
1,172
173
just past the moons of Jupiter
#16
for me death was a far off concept for most of my youth. A great aunt or great grandparent I may have only ever met once would pass away my mom would cry and it wasn't sombody I knew or loved so... It remained sanitized. In 1997 i was 15 years old when my paternal grandmother died. Complications of Wagner's disease. That was the first time somebody i knew really well died. Then as an adult i worked with a youth group. One boy that had just turned 18 died in a car accident. He was younger than me.

But the full effect of death never struck me until my beloved brother passed away in April of 2016. It was a bizzare sudden illness that took him after only 8 days in the ICU. Just 8 days before his 37th birthday. It was then i realized, barring some accident I will see everyone I love pass before me.
 
Aug 2, 2017
431
148
Medway Towns, Kent
#17
It seems to me that the issue nowadys is not death but old age... we live beyond our ability to deal with death in a dignified manner so that in most cases we expire in a loney and abject state.
 
Jul 26, 2009
5,666
406
Opa Locka
#18
It seems to me that the issue nowadys is not death but old age... we live beyond our ability to deal with death in a dignified manner so that in most cases we expire in a loney and abject state.
There is no such thing as a dignified death. Just the process unseen or seen to varying degrees, we all shit ourselves and babble nonsense when the end comes. When we die 'dignified' we're either alone, drugged into calm silence or have a caretaker cleaning up after us. When we die 'undignified' nothing is actually different, death is simply shown in all it's glory.
 
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Oct 25, 2012
3,775
614
Louisville, Ky
#19
There is no such thing as a dignified death. Just the process unseen or seen to varying degrees, we all shit ourselves and babble nonsense when the end comes. When we die 'dignified' we're either alone, drugged into calm silence or have a caretaker cleaning up after us. When we die 'undignified' nothing is actually different, death is simply shown in all it's glory.
My death will be as "dignified" as possible, I have already planned it by Helium and have my Nurse. It is just a matter of time and disease progression.
 
Nov 1, 2017
31
27
Australia
#20
What is the helium method? It doesnt involve a plastic bag does it? I'm going the Nembutal route. It's quieter, I believe.
I worked as a nurse and those deaths were the first i saw close up. Those deaths educated me, obviously, about how death happens and how it comes to all of us.
 
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