Have a quiet, contemplative Christmas, everyone.
I know I will.
U2 once again nominated for 5 Grammy awards. Not bad for a group their own lead singer once described as "four jerks and a police escort".
I celebrated an anniversary Mass at the parish near my Mom's house today at noon. We then gathered for sandwiches, eggplant parmesian and champagne. We sat around and shot the breeze for a few hours.
All in honor of the Big Guy.
The Big Guy
(February 17, 1936 - August 16, 2002)
"Dying at home is not easy. (Although) 70% of Americans say they want to die at home, few realize how grueling the work of dying can be."
"Death often comes as something of a surprise - which is odd, when you think about it, because people who die tend to be old and sick already."
"...why do we often feel blindsided by death, even the death of an elderly person suffering from a long-term condition?"
"What we're addicted to, it seems, is the belief that we can micromanage death. We tend to think of a 'good death' as one we can control... But often our best laid plans can go awry. Dying is awfully hard to choreograph."
"Studying death is somewhat like studying a black hole... there's something intrinsic to the very process that defies our ability to analyze it."
"The scariest part about dying... is how it ends: with the immutable fact of no longer existing."
In the last columns of her article, the author reflects on the unwillingness of health care professionals and their terminal patients to use words like death, dying, end of life, preferring in their place all manner of euphemisms.
But the words the author herself avoids using reveal an even greater ambiguity. How can you write about death without using words like mystery, completion, definitive act of free will...
The truth about death is not to be found in medicine or statistics or legislation. Death is a mystery because life is a mystery. We have exiled all concept of mystery from our bland, banal lives. That is why death frustrates and terrifies us.
Dying is the last and greatest opportunity to embrace the mystery, the radical truth that makes all our schemes and ambitions evaporate like drops on hot pavement.
Death cannot be understood in scientific or sociological terms. It would be like applying all the practical and theoretical knowledge of auto-mechanics to interpreting a work of Matisse. By missing the point you would, in fact, be making the point.
Get the point?
Oh yeah, and that line about "making her father's death meaningful"? Well, it was the first 76 years of the mystery that determined the meaning of its last instant. The cause and the place of his death may or may not highlight that meaning, but they do not constitute it.
Your death will mean whatever your life did. Nothing more. Nothing less. 'Nuff sed.