Sunday, August 18, 2013
The bearable lightness of dying
The last blog presented a sliver of the existence I knew as Sister Daphne. I have always – well, since a teenager – been preoccupied by the fundamental question of what is this thing called life? And as a corollary, what is this other thing called death? In fact, going back to the college days represented in a blog a week or two ago, I remember I was writing nihilistic poetry for it seemed as if I was teetering on the edge of the abyss. Fortunately my character never embraced any notion of suicide no matter how bleak the answers to these questions might turn out. Rather, I realized that there was time ahead of me. And with time might come an answer to what constituted my mortal coil. It was this train of thinking that still finds itself shaping what I write. Azimuth is a trilogy about the search for meaning. www.azimuthtrilogy.com The four novellas (three free downloading) I completed earlier this year all dance around a totem pole with a death’s mask at the top. www.chronometerpublications.me And Twitter is especially good for fashioning aphorisms and the like which prove to be arrows pointing at my perennial affliction. For example at @Profjacksanger you have the following:
It is curious is it not that people want to die in their sleep after a lifetime of waiting for that moment?
A peer of Sister Daphne was Sister Katherine. I liked her very much. She was translucent. Unlike Sister Daphne she was pure convent nun. There were no doubts in her and yet there was no attempt to proselytize either. She emanated goodness. I used to enjoy conversations about life and death with her, sitting under an oak tree.
I hadn’t seen her for some time and asked after her health. “She’s a bit weak,” came the answer, “but she’s sitting in the garden at this moment”. I went to find her. Not the usual place. A glade, more secluded.
“How are you?”
“Couldn’t be better.”
‘The Sisters said you were a little weak.”
“Oh that. Yes.” She paused and then said, “I am going to die next week on (I’m sure she said) Wednesday.
“Of course you’re not!” I huffed, no doubt feeling she needed some uplifting jollity.
“I am. It is my favourite Saint’s day. We often die on our favourite Saint’s day. I don’t think there’s anything else I want to do and so another year is too much.” She smiled her wonderful, engaging smile.
Sister Katherine died the following Wednesday. Having not seen a physician for a long time, there was a post mortem. Her body was riddled with cancers and had been, the doctor judged, for years. He wondered how she had kept going for so long.