After my mother died, I became the oldest living member of my family. It got me thinking of my own death. Death, before then, hadn’t been a preoccupation of mine. Unlike my mother, heaven isn’t a literal place for me, and I have a hard time visualizing a family reunion up there someday. (Note: I previously blogged about the concern a short story of mine caused my mother when she read it and thought it meant I wasn’t saved and wouldn’t see her in heaven.)
I’ve always respected, even after I rejected them for myself, my parents’ religious beliefs. But since my mother’s death…and with health problems that could potentially lead to my own demise…my rebellion has cooled. I value my parents now more than I did when they were living; value them for what they gave me, which saddens me to admit. Their faith has become enviable, as I search for peace, an example of dying, a knowledge of eternal life, a sense of joyful anticipation and special serenity (mother actually wanted to die to be with dad; that ‘s what she said.) I think of them now and how they died, though I may be a long way from my own death. Who knows? With heart problems, I live now with more uncertainty than before my diagnosis. My perspective has certainly changed: now I need to make peace with it.
But the peace I’m looking for I don’t think should include resignation: I still have a lot of writing to do. In this context, I feel resignation would only hasten my death. I’ve struggled to stay alive. But in my view dying doesn’t happen all at once. To stay alive all of our lives isn’t easy. As writers, it’s something at which we all have to work; it requires unusual dedication and an unusual process to keep the mind on a creative path. It’s still kind of scary, especially when the effort isn’t totally satisfactory: that comes when we look at our work in terms of what isn’t there and don’t simply appreciate the fact that we’re still writing.
A good example for us all is Cassius Sargent, who in his mid-nineties is still writing poems. See his book GROWNUP’S MOTHER GOOSE. “A chuckle factory AIMED AT WHERE YOU LIVE. Gifts for friends, enemies and kin. HELP NEEDED Several hundred unpublished poems on hand Constantly writing more Cassius Sargent Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ”
I look up to Cassius and his work. Randy Ford