|photo credit: Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery, Gainesville, FL|
(If you're new to this page because of challenge reading, please don't let this post scare you away. Here at the Cafe we talk about all kinds of things!)
Every so often I wake up in the middle of the night with strange thoughts. The middle of the night is our most vulnerable and/or creative time for that, wouldn't you say?
I don't mean to be morbid here, but sometimes in the middle of the night I think about death. Not in a scary way--maybe that will change when I'm older?--but with surprise, amazement, and a sense of unreality.
It surprises me to realize that there is an event in my life that is NOT optional. Whether I want it to or not, it will happen to me. Maybe when I'm not expecting it, or maybe when I have time to prepare and am actually ready--but I'll definitely have to do it, sooner or later. On my best day, on my worst day, every day: it's coming.
It seems that when we're young we take for granted that dying is a long way off, and our whole expected lifespan of 70- or 80-something years lies between us and that reality. These days there are only 20 or 30 years (if I stay healthy) and most of my lifespan years are already behind me. And 20 or 30 years doesn't seem like a whole lot of time!
It amazes me to think that the world will go on without me. I don't mean that I'm so important that I think the world will stop--far from it! Actually, the opposite amazes me: I'm completely sure it will keep zooming along in its usual mad and wonderful way. But how strange to think about that: the world will go on, and I won't be in it.
Then there's the whole question of what I'll be doing while the world gets back to normal, without me. Where will I be? Faith has answers, science has answers, and I'm just not sure. It's not even an easy thing to contemplate, this idea of still existing (if a soul goes on) without being anywhere physical.
I'm pretty confident that my person will rest in a lovely green cemetery a few hours from here. It's conservation land and the burial practices are traditional ones, without the fancy caskets, toxic chemicals, and hoopla associated with the modern funeral industry. Kayak Guy and I are happy to think we can be buried in a winding sheet, covered with flowers and mulch, marked with a native cypress tree snag, and left to feed the earth, while our spirits go . . . somewhere else.
Although I hope to be remembered, I doubt anyone will think of me on any kind of a regular basis, after a while. That's just part of the deal. People get busy with life again, the pain of loss is eased by time, and that's the way of things. We come and we go, and the world goes on.
And so these are the things I think about sometimes, in the middle of the night. But not in a bad way. Truth be told, I usually find it highly motivating, the next morning, to make the most of the time I have left.