Thursday, February 07, 2008

Death comes to all...

...but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I've been thinking about death repeatedly over the past 10 days, so much so that I'm now freaking myself out at the amount of time someone in their mid 20s can dedicate to debating in their mind their own mortality.

The primary reason is that an old man I know is currently lying in a hospital bed fighting the ultimate fight. His immediate family surround him while others wait by the phone for the call to say that he's moved on to what everyone hopes is a better place. When that call comes I’m going to have to be strong to help someone close to me through the second bereavement they’ve suffered in quick succession. What amazes me is that while this man’s family are struggling through each day, he’s completely ready for what’s just hours away and is more concerned with the upset his illness is causing.

I’ve also been reading a book for work about the Munich Air Disaster. The story is presented through the recollections of those who survived the crash. Aside from taking away how great the team that were killed were it’s impossible to read a couple of pages without getting an understanding of how those on the flight were ready for their death and content with what they had done during their short lives. Time and time again one of the surviving players relates a quote of serenity and acceptance from one of their former colleagues. The most famous comes from Dubliner Liam Whelan who proclaimed “If the worst happens I am ready for death......I hope we all are”.

It amazes me that people who know the end is imminent can have the presence of mind to reflect on what they’ve achieved and be calm with what beckons. The United players in particular talked about what they had done on the playing field and the joy they brought others and how this helped them accept the end. I don’t think I’d be able to put myself in that position if something was to happen me. The more I write the more I think I’m actually thinking of my lack of a legacy and not really death and how little I’ve done to impact on other's lives in a positive way. It’s frightening.


  1. I feel the same about that. Except, never mind death, it freaks me out that I'm in my thirties and I've done so little.

    I spotted your title yesterday when I accidentlaly bounced into the dashboard, and I've been waiting eagerly for your post.

    I think this picture's more fitting, thought the other was powerful.

    It's certainly hard being the comforter. I feel for my husband having had to play that role for me, and I'm accutely awarethat I didn't do such a good job when his father died. I was in my early twenties, and he didn't want to grieve. I don't know what I should have done differently - made moretea, I suppose.

  2. The legacy we leave is the people we touch. And I know you for a long time, you have touched a lot of peoples lives.

    Bt please use your angst now, write that book ok?

  3. Tib, I believe that for those of us mere mortals who don't make great scientific discoveries or record great albums or run great countries, your legacy is how other people feel about you and if you've touched their lives in a positive way. Eventually it'll be your kids that will give you a sense of your legacy being carried on beyond your span.

    In the last few months you've been one of the very few who has kept an eye on me. Made sure I was ok. Asked me if I fancied going out for a pint.

    We'll never be able to say this face to face being Irish males but I love you buddy and you have a friend for life.

  4. There's things I've wanted to say all day about this post and I can't bring myself to verbalise them. So I thought I'd just comment on that.
    I'm glad you wrote this.

  5. Isn't it wonderful that something you've written Tib can touch so many people, like Ash? That's a legacy!

    Also you stole my picture..I used ot recently on my blog, will you be stealing post ideas next....? Talking about your bunny suit and sex toys!

  6. You should post your first choice of picture Tib - intense!

  7. Tib - I'm mad scared of death & worry about my place in the universe. In essence, I find humanity sacred & whenever logic points to reasons why we're no more significant that a piece of muck, I work hard to justify it not being the case. This is why I love the philosophy of fate, cause I like being a small but set part of a big whole.

  8. Well I dont want seem like I dont care, problem is I do like Ash I really dont know what to say, death really spooked me out for many years as a teenager and I have only really started to not worry about it as much, and enjoy the days I have left, you will be amazed just how much every little thing you can do can have such an effect on some people, thats the legacy we all leave behind.