(or, Getting Struck By the Perspective Stick)
kshandra and I recently had dinner together. It was right before the trip to Harbin.
When she climbed into Large Marge (my Saturn VUE... and hey, what can I say. She named herself, she did), she noted the crack curving on the windshield, formed shortly after the "near miss" last May.
I said something along the lines of "Well, that sort of thing might have made me crazy once upon. But I like to think it gives me some perspective."
While reading my friends list, I ran across this link.
It was the last thing posted before dying.
The post actually foreshadows his passing, if you know what to look for. Flu-like symptoms, "head feeling as if it was full of liquid"... it wasn't a cold, though. Brain aneurysm.
I think about the fear of the unknown, the greatest being the knowledge of the moment our life will end. Over the years we've removed so much of the fog surrounding so many ailments. Can you imagine the terror of dying of a disease you didn't know you had, or had no idea of the nature of? Just two hundred years ago cancer, heart disease, most illnesses as a matter of fact, were a complete mystery.
We've cracked so many mysteries -- perhaps only to uncover another onion layer, but at least we've learned enough to dodge some of the bullets we could once only stare at as a deer, as death's prey.
I remember reading about aneurysms as a young boy, horrified by their capriciousness. Even more frightening was the complete impotence that the medical dictionary professed when it came to dealing with the malady.
Someday, not very long from now, they'll learn how to detect aneurysms before the arterial weakness kills. The fear will fade, and a new physical limitation will be the boogieman of our souls. As usual, we'll be dodging the oncoming traffic, only to be struck from behind by the things we can't anticipate.
I remember when I read banesidhe's entry, shortly after 9/11, feeling almost as if I shouldn't be reading what turned out to be their last words. That feeling of an intimacy that I didn't deserve. The amazing thing is that the entry is still there... and I see the mood set to "happy". Now I feel that the final entry is the chance to write our own epitaph, to leave everyone with something to end the sentence that is our life. Would it be a question? An accusation! A simple period. Or will it just trail off, an unresolved minor of an existence....
Ever since then, sometimes consciously, sometimes not, I think about my posting. Would these be the last words anyone ever reads by yours truly?
When I kiss someone goodbye, I sometimes think "Is this the last time?"
When I look around and breath, "Is this my last breath?"
May the last thing you do is smile.
* iTunes has a sense of humor today.