Saturday, February 12, 2011

There will be a Moment

There will be a moment when you close your eyes and it will be the last thing you remember, never to be alive anymore and never to have another moment. The reality of our own existence. It happens thousands of times every day in the world, from the most peaceful to the most violent moment, when each of us aren't anymore. Aren't here. Aren't aware. Simply gone.

I was listening to an interview of someone who watched their loved one die from a terminal illness. He said, "I watched her breath. One breath after another. One breath and then no more." While we can be there when someone dies, we can and will never know what it is like being the one dying, and being the one who takes the last breath.

A recent issue of Scientific American has an interesting article on death, and why we don't know what it is or even have or ever will have, the slightest clue what it is. All because we're always alive until death and then we aren't. Anymore. Death, as they say, is just a heartbeat away. Meaning one beat after another until the last beat, of our heart.

We take our heart for granted. I don't anymore, not because of my heart, it's fine along with the arteries of the heart, but because of my pulmonary artery which has a 20% blockage, not enough for serious intervention, although I've been on a drug I stopped due to the severity of the side effects, but enough to realize it when I exert myself and run out of breath.

This, as it turned out, has been a nearly 20 year old problem, first noticed when in my early 40's when I had problems breathing while running or hiking. I put it off to the Rheumatic Fever I had as a child and the lasting effect on my heart. That wasn't and isn't true. I have a very slight heart murmur but nothing distinguishable anymore from the normal wear of time.

But either way, we notice life by our heart and our breathing. But we can't experience it by our death. We won't know beyond our last memory and then nothing. We can only experience it when we die and maybe see or know there people around us watching us die.

That's the best we can hope full, to die quietly and peacefully, and hopefully in a place we love. The last is all too often does not happen as we die in hospitals or hospices, die in accidents or from violence, die of our own hand doing what we love or just something, or die out of nowhere.

I think about this every time I lie down to take a nap. And during the nap I don't remember anything except that I wake up some time later. But I think what happens if I don't wake up. After some naps I have to take a few minutes to collect my thoughts and find myself. It's a little quiz I take, like what's today, what time did I lie down, and so on until I'm fully awake and conscious to the world.

But I know I too, like everyone before me, will have my moment and I won't exist anymore. It's the reality of each of our being and our living, to die. Simple as that. Breathing and then not. A moment here and a moment gone.

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