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"Life is fragile, use it roughly." (slSlate)
February 28, 2013 8:52 AM   Subscribe


 
Oof. That's pretty tough. Thanks for posting.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:28 AM on February 28, 2013


When our travel-loving mother died one year ago, two days after learning she was ill, my sister and I had a potter make us beautiful matching covered jars into which we divided her ashes. Since that time, we have been able to take her to many of the places she loved most, as well as on new adventures, and slowly the jars are emptying of ash but filling up with ticket stubs and small souvenirs.

Beholding death gives us the urgency we need to savor life, if we're lucky.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:34 AM on February 28, 2013 [25 favorites]


God damn, kinnakeet, that's a wonderful idea. I'm stealing that.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:49 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do not know why but it is bothering the hell out of me not to know what he died from. What is there that can take down someone who's entirely fit and healthy in 18 hours?
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:08 AM on February 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


Mmm. Seeing this a few posts above the Nintendo store binders one made me realize that my father died before the advent of something my entire generation is full of nostalgia for. It's not a thing I'm nostalgic for but still. That's a weird thought to wrap my head around.

He was perfectly fine the day before my twelfth birthday; a cerebral aneurysm took him down in the middle of the night. In about two weeks, I'll have lived longer than he did.
posted by egypturnash at 10:56 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


This particular passage struck me especially:

"Somehow I hope the smiles of this unlikely pair are so wide that they touch each other."

That said, I hope for my sake, I go as this author's father did. But for my family's sake, I hope I don't.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:59 AM on February 28, 2013


And this is why I drink, smoke cigars, and don't worry too much about what I eat. Guy at work just keeled over with a heart attack at the age of 42. Not obese, not much of a drinker or smoker; to look at him you'd think he was the picture of health. The attack was so bad the doctors said it would have killed him had he not had the good fortune to be getting a lift home and passing St. Thomas's hospital at the time it happened.

I have known so many such incidents in my life. My best friend died in Thailand at the age of 29. A lovely lad, full of life and energy and fitness. Some lousy driver piled head on into his car. Gone. I could keep listing such things out for a very long time. Sure, you can play the odds, be veggie, work out, go running and cycling (mind that car!), abstain from life's darker and more carcinogenic pleasures. Go you. Have fun with that. Maybe it'll even work. Me, I'm going to enjoy myself like hell, until my turn comes. Whenever it comes. Tomorrow or in forty years. When you step back and look at it dispassionately, it really doesn't matter.
posted by Decani at 11:06 AM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sure, you can play the odds, be veggie, work out, go running and cycling (mind that car!), abstain from life's darker and more carcinogenic pleasures. Go you. Have fun with that.

I dunno why people talk about eating healthy and exercising and not smoking like it is the huge sacrifice. When I'm lifting regularly and eating my veggies all aspects of my life improve immeasurably and my body feels as if it is humming in tune with the world around me. It's great. Now, if smoking and whatnot is what you dig then go for it. But don't presume those of us who aren't on a pack-a-day habit are somehow self-flagellating nuns.
posted by schroedinger at 12:14 PM on February 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


I do not know why but it is bothering the hell out of me not to know what he died from. What is there that can take down someone who's entirely fit and healthy in 18 hours?

Streptococcus pyogenes would be my best guess.
posted by Talez at 12:42 PM on February 28, 2013


People that base all their major life decisions on the expectation that they'll get hit by a train when they're still in peak condition kind of weird me out.
posted by Shepherd at 1:00 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno why people talk about eating healthy and exercising and not smoking like it is the huge sacrifice.

If someone told me that I could only eat healthy food and do rigorous exercising for the rest of my life, with no hope of ever eating a hamburger and fries or taking a few weeks off from exercise again, I'd probably kill myself.
posted by Melismata at 2:26 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


But the thing is no one ever said that in this thread, yet it's implied that people do opt to not indulge in a hedonistic lifestyle, they must hate themselves. And anyway, you can do both.
posted by Kitteh at 2:43 PM on February 28, 2013


This reminds me a little of a passage from one of Natalie Goldberg's books. She's writing about a time on a Zen retreat when people heard that a beloved young man had died suddenly. Her teacher said something like, "People have an idea that we live, we grow old, and then we die. But that is just an idea."

I think what I liked most about this essay was the way the writer described her father's relationship to her daughter. How beautiful and loving it was, and how it wasn't what she expected. Thanks for posting, Kitteh.
posted by tuesdayschild at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2013


It's a lovely remembrance, and terribly tragic. But I would also like to know what took him. Is that wrong? Some doctor made a seemingly flip and wrong diagnosis. If we knew the cause, maybe we could tell the doctors to look for that if faced with a similar situation.
posted by Glinn at 3:25 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm also wondering what he died from, even though I know I'll add it to my list of (possibly) irrational worries.
posted by sarcasticah at 3:45 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's hilarious, and perhaps quite typical of the human psyche, that in a post describing how we do not, in fact, have any control over our lives and have to surrender that in order to attain true serenity... the strongest reaction is people want to know what they can do to avoid that particular scenario.

But by all means if it makes you feel better, devote a year to studying bacterial infections and the evolution of antibiotic resistance. For all we know we shall be struck down by a subtle, rare and novel genetic mutation that resulted in a sudden and complete kidney failure while climbing Mt. Rainier.

If you actually wanted to know all signs and symptoms of all diseases and the appropriate treatments as well as their contraindications and complications, feel free to join in. It's a hell of a lot harder than it looks on TV, and perhaps mistakes occur more often than they should due to the inherent limitations of our utterly and profoundly broken Amurikan sick-care system.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 7:17 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's so easy to talk about living life and not worrying about when/how it will end. Except when you're madly in love with a partner with whom you've lived over 15 years, and who is only now reaching the age you were when you met him. Then it's entirely different. Even worse if you happen to have lost a partner yourself.

It's so easy to trivialize death, when you've hardly had any acquaintance. I could condemn myself as selfish for daring to live to love again, and now here is this wonderful person at risk of suffering the loss I suffered, and I am the cause of that risk.

It's all a futile mess, and the only thing you really can do is love. Love long, love hard. Love so much that when you're gone, where you were, the love still remains, strong as ever.
posted by Goofyy at 3:59 AM on March 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


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