Friday, February 25, 2005

Death day

Just to say, 9 years ago today my Mum died, of Alzheimer's. Dad reminded me on the phone last night. We joked, as you do when subjects are a bit close to your heart, about the possibility of "celebrating" death days as we do birthdays. Of course there is no one there to receive a card (cheaper already). At least we can have them in our thoughts for a day so, for the next 24 hours, that's what I'm doing.

Speaking of attitudes to death, I'll quote a little extract from one of my favourite books, by Chuang Tzu, a fuller extract of which is here

Chuang Tzu's wife died. When Hui Tzu went to convey his condolences, he found Chuang Tzu sitting with his legs sprawled out, pounding on a tub and singing. "You lived with her, she brought up your children and grew old," said Hui Tzu. "It should be enough simply not to weep at her death. But pounding on a tub and singing - this is going too far, isn't it?"

Chuang Tzu said, "You're wrong. When she first died, do you think I didn't grieve like anyone else? But I looked back to her beginning and the time before she was born. Not only the time before she was born, but the time before she had a body. Not only the time before she had a body, but the time before she had a spirit. In the midst of the jumble of wonder and mystery a change took place and she had a spirit. Another change and she had a body. Another change and she was born. Now there's been another change and she's dead. It's just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter.

Now she's going to lie down peacefully in a vast room. If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don't understand anything about fate. So I stopped."
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