Tag Archives: mortality

Life, death and lies

28 May

Big Milk “Are you sad because you didn’t get to see grandma when she died?”

Me “No, I was with her when she died darling, and it was very peaceful”. 

Big Milk  “What happens when someone gets died?”

Me “They get very sleepy and quiet and eventually they take their last breath and  fall asleep and don’t wake up. ”

Big Milk ” And then their body disappears and they go to heaven?”

Me. “Umm, no their body doesn’t disappear exactly.”

Big Milk “Well where does it go then? Does your body fall through the bed and then melt into the carpet?”

Me “No, umm, well yes it does kind of disappear, like eventually.  (not even a lie my friends- bodies decompose and that’s kinda like disappearing right?)

Big Milk  “So you waited for a bit and then Grandma slowly disappeared and then the bed was empty. Was there any smoke?”

Me  “Well, hmmm, not really like that darling,  I left before anything happened to her body. Her spirit had gone to heaven  and she wasn’t really there anymore, plus I’d already said goodbye”.

Big Milk  “What’s a spirit mummy?  Did grandma turn all white like a Scooby ghost?”

Me  “Ok, ahem, lights off baby. We’ll talk about this more tomorrow”

This explaining death thing isn’t easy for an agnostic.  You swear you’re not going to lie, gloss over things with euphemisms or “easy lies” because they’re handy and comforting. You’re supposed to “tell them how it is”, not hide the true nature of nature. I had my own smug, self-assured commentary down –  “Some people believe X, others Y, this is what I believe, you must decide for yourself”.   But the truth is, it’s never that easy.  The heaven lie came out early.  I was tired and it’s just such a nice idea, isn’t it?  Fluffy clouds, everyone decked out in persil whites, angels with 24 carat halos and harps that play themselves   You can’t quite bring yourself to tell them the truth – it’s a bit too, well, real.  In any case, you’re still struggling with it all yourself, and you don’t want to land the burden of accepting mortality on them just yet.

So it seems I’ll be trotting out some fanciful niceties for some time to come; in any case, my hole is already half way dug. But i reckon, his grandma’s just died, if he needs a bit of heaven in his life than let him have it.  I could do with a few candy floss clouds myself.

Don’t they look old?

5 May

How did everyone suddenly become so old?

I went through my 20s bumping into old friends and thinking “Gosh, they don’t look any different”. And they’d say the same abut me. I felt pretty smug about it actually. 10 years had gone past and i hadn’t aged a bit. hurrah!

Now we’re well into our 30s and suddenly everyone does look different. Definitely older. A few wrinkles around the eyes. A few skin tags here and there, and definitely some grey hair. Just a bit more worn.

And the men all have beards. Sometimes i catch some of my bearded friends (male only, for now anyway) out of the corner of my eye, and i think to myself “This is what my maths/physics teacher looked like when i was at school”. And now these are my friends.

I always rate myself by age compared with people i meet. “Oh, she’s definitely at least 5 years older, look at the crows feet.” or “Ah yes, she’s been around a few more blocks then me”. You get the idea.

Problem is my self concept hasn’t changed for 10 years. So i’ll often look at people and just assume they’re older than me, when in reality they’re the same age, or worse, younger. And i know people do this about me too.

And what about celebrities? Suddenly all the faces i’ve grown up with are looking old. Christ, have you seen Ant and Dec recently? They’re looking positively middle aged.

And that’s not to mention all the ones that are currently dying. Patrick Swayze. Oh The Swayze. And I don’t even want to think abut Dennis Hopper. Only yesterday he was sat in that motorhome all brave and smouldering, stoical and proud in the face of the Walken. He was the cool guy. The sexy mature guy. Now he’s the old, dying guy.

Even Marti Mcflippin Fly is 50 this year…..

And it’s all happened so fast.

No gentle weathering.

Savaged, seemingly overnight. BAM! Just like that.

It’s no wonder i’ve been grieving time now is it? I keep losing it. Can anyone tell me where the bloody hell it’s gone?


28 Apr

When i became a mother i also became aware of time. How quickly it passes. How once it’s gone you can never get it back. That you don’t know how much of it you’ve got.

You look at your baby and they are a constant reminder. Forever changing. Growing bigger every day. Learning new things. Walking. Talking. Thinking. So clever. So quickly.

I suppose it’s about understanding your own mortality for the very first time.

I remember when i was a teenager existential thoughts were easily dismissed “Well i can’t do anything about that, so i might as well live for the moment”. It just felt so far away. So intangible.

I threw myself out of aeroplanes with abandon. Experimented. Invincible.

Then a baby comes along, and time doesn’t seem to pass so slowly anymore. The end isn’t quite as far away as you thought. You become more nervous. More vunerable. You have so much more to protect.

Memory is fragile. You only really remember your children as they are now. You struggle to picture them as a baby. Remember them toddling. Recollect their first word.

You never take enough photographs. Never capture the moments you really wish you had.

I grieve for time like a lost friend.

And where once you were at the centre of things. You’re now on the outskirts looking in. At your children. The New Generation.

And time keeps passing. Ever more quickly.

(Thank you to the ever wonderful Deerbaby and her gorgeous post Kind of Blue for the inspiration.)