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January 27, 2011

Today’s prompt is, “Do you want to live forever?”

If you could, would you?

I’ve been thinking about the idea of what comes next a lot lately.  I wasn’t raised with a particular religion, and so I don’t have any notions of heaven or hell.  I am more attached to the notion that there has to be something else…maybe not a fluffy cloud, or a field of daisies; but, maybe there’s something, somewhere.

My mother regrets not taking us to church when I was growing up…she feels that she failed my brothers and I.  She has turned to church as a place of solace in times of grief.  She is comforted by the notion that there are people who gather together, to take care of each other.  I think that she believes that once we die, we join those that have gone before.

I don’t know that I necessarily agree.  I don’t think that we just stop…there has to be something that animates this flesh and differentiates us from trees or birds.

There are lots of reasons that I do want to live a nice, long, robust life.  I hate to think that I would miss out on what comes next.  I want to watch my kids grow, to see them have kids, and so on.  I want to hear new music, explore new places, keep going. 

At the same time, I don’t want to live forever.  If there’s something after this, sign me up.  I hope that there’s a whole, wide universe out there that we get to explore, once we’re no longer fettered to this plane.  I don’t like the idea of getting old and feeble.  I don’t want to be a burden on my kids.  Watching my grandmother decline over the past ten years, I have a new appreciation for the idea of going quickly.  My grandmother was relatively healthy, physically.  Unfortunately, she suffered from vascular dementia.  She lost a little bit of herself each time she would have a small stroke.  At times, you could absolutely tell that she was in there.  Then, there were days when it seemed that she had been replaced by a vague, child-like, stranger.  The biggest problem for her was that she spent most of the last ten years supremely pissed off that my grandfather had up and died, leaving her here alone.  She was just positive that he was off somewhere, flirting with Italian mistresses, completely misbehaving.

I lost a parent very early in life.  I was not quite twelve when my father committed suicide.  My brothers were seven and four.  While I eventually grew to see my stepfather as a dad, I think that it very definitely changed the type of people that my brothers grew up to be.  So, where is our dad?  He didn’t want to live forever.  He didn’t want to live to see us grow up.  He made the decision not to live here.  Does that mean that he’s just in a hole in the ground somewhere?   

I refuse to believe that.  I choose to believe that he’s moved on…not up or down, just on.

Now, back to me…what do I want?  I want what most people want, I guess…to live a fruitful, useful life, surrounded by family and friends; to die quietly in my sleep, at the same time that my husband dies.  From there, I want to soar on to the next great adventure…whatever that is.