Musings on death

It’s been a strange week. Of endings and beginnings. My father in law, Jack, died on Saturday. Eighty eight years old, he’d been bed-ridden for two and a half years, looked after my brother in law and sister in law who put their lives on hold, in effect, to care for him. So Jack’s death was a release all round. It certainly freed him from the suffering of Parkinsons. You wonder what is the point and why the life continues but I don’t believe it’s up to us to reason why. It will all become clear one day. When my Dad died I realised I’d become an orphan. Now with Jack’s death all our parents have gone. It’s a chilling thought. I don’t think Jack would have realised what was happening at the end; he was too far gone. Whilst in hospital towards the end my Dad asked me ‘Am I dying?’ How do you answer a question like that? ‘Yes’, I said, ‘but not yet’. He died the following day.

I watched the You Tube video of Philip Gould’s words about death just now. Former Labour Party peer and strategist he was one of the apologists for New Labour, a mate of Tony Blairs. Dont let that put you off. His thoughts about his impending death are not what you might imagine. For a start he uses words like ‘lovely’ and ‘bliss’. I suppose being given a death sentence makes life all the more poignant. It’s for this reason that I find funerals inspiring. A strange word to use perhaps. But they can remind us of what matters in the here and now. And I find myself mentally rehearsing my own. And assessing what I should be doing and not doing.

See the Observer article and You Tube link.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/22/rachel-cooke-philip-gould-dying-video

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