Deb: Do you ever sit and think about your death? I don’t mean how or when, but the fact of it––the fact that you and I are going to die. And we don’t know when.
Woody Allan certainly does. It is his lifelong obsession and I am quite sure he sees the irony in that. It is what makes him all at once a brilliant comedian and a full-time psychiatrist patient.
One of my dearest friends has fought this concept in her mind all her life. If she even thinks of it for a second, she is gripped with fear and pain and disbelief. My mother, who is one of the most insecure people I know, said to me one day, “I just can’t imagine the world without me”. It was said in a most honest way, not with ego or self-importance. She just could not imagine it. I loved her for this statement. I guess we all feel this way deep down. We just cannot imagine the world turning without us.
But do you think about it? Really think about it?
The other night during that glorious and cozy full moon, I sat in our window seat marveling. I am a moon-gazer and have been known to sit for hours at a time enthralled. And because the moon was so close to earth, it felt like Moon had just dropped in for tea.
As I was keeping company with Moon, I started to think about the friends we have lost in the last few months and how much I was missing them here with us on the planet.
Then I started to ponder the idea of my own death. Not my death exactly, not the hows and whys and wheres and whens of it. But the fact of it.
I stared at that moon and thought, “There will come a time when I cannot stare at the moon, because I won’t be here. I won’t be on this earth. I might be in some other place or I might be nowhere, but I certainly won’t be here, as me, as Deb. I didn’t feel gripped with fear or with pain. But I felt ripped off. And a little jealous of the moon, I don’t mind telling you. Even if it was just for this single moment, I could use infinity lifetimes.
And I know people say that is why we have to live each moment to the fullest. But what if we do try to live each moment to the fullest? What if we do adore and appreciate and revel in each and every second? Shouldn’t there be a points card system? Fill your card with joy and get another life? And I know, I know. If we did, we would not appreciate the life we have. But still. What a rip.
So I said “Goodnight Moon” and went to bed deciding that from now on, I would make every single solitary minute second count. And the next day, before I knew it, I was watching “Cake Boss”. Life.
Everybody has got to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case. ~ William Saroyan
Barbara: Oh, Deb, such beautiful agony! I actually haven’t thought about my own death much. Weird, huh? I mean, I really really avoid any and all thoughts in that direction. But if I must ponder it, then yeah, I guess I get your mom’s innocent wonder at the incomprehensible possibility of a world without me. One where stuff keeps happening and it no longer affects me (or me it). Just mind-boggling. But I guess if I go down that slippery slope then it’s equally disconcerting that a whole bunch of stuff happened before I made my illustrious debut.
It’s true, there is nothing quite so magical as those rare moments (like pondering a perigee moon) where you feel just transcendently, spectacularly alive. And yet, if only I knew how to convince whoever’s in charge that I’m sure I could summon that appreciation if allowed to live for all eternity.