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Monday, June 23, 2008

Against the odds

The old man's still fighting.

I got back today after 36 hours of Qantas-sponsored travelling hell to hear that the oul lad's had another heart attack. It's not his first or near it. It's not even his first this month.

But he's always been a hard man to put down, and he's still in the game.

He might just beat this one. Again.

But now I'm getting worried about how long until the next? And how many more can he beat? The heart's not like the face. When it bruises it stays bruised, and when it's damaged it stays damaged, and that goes for both physically and metaphorically.

I'll know more when I see him, and that'll be later today.

I don't know who's most fearful of the insecurity to come. It's probably him. But it could also be a few other candidates too. Including me.

I'd feel a little more able if I'd managed to sleep anytime in the past 36 hours, but it doesn't feel appropriate to whinge about jetlag and insomnia and Aussie airlines right now.

Perspective is a pisser, sometimes.

Many belief systems consider death to be simply an extension of this existence in one form or another. Christianity and its sister monotheisms posit a hereafter which offers succour to many.

But I'm personally most persuaded by the Tibetan buddhist position that death, like this existence is simply one of a series of states of existence we cycle through on our way to something greater than we could comprehend.

The Tibetan bardos closely map what little science has uncovered about the phenomenon of near-death experiences, wherein people considered clinically dead manage to recover and subsequently can recall their moment of death.

It's easy I think to take succour from such a concept, which like the monotheist heavens, provides a sense of direction, continuation and enlightenment beyond the moment of death itself.

But perhaps it's easy to take that comfort on behalf of someone else. It's got to be something entirely different if it's your turn to face that reality, the one fate we all as living creatures share.

I don't know how the old man is thinking about this. I know one thing though. Like never before, he's thinking of it now.

But he's still fighting. You have to admire that.


Twenty Major said...

Best to your old man.

Missing Neighbour said...

Sorry the hear about your da Jim. Call in when you are up.
He is a tough old sod so hopefully he can pull through this one.

mellobiafra said...

Dude, he is tough, my thoughts too. Say hi to him and your ma from me. My mum'll be concerned too, she met them through their walking group thing! I'll hopefully see you when you're up as well!

Informer said...

When me da was dying of COPD he would try and get me talking about death and beyond. It is pretty difficult to chat to ur da about these types of things as he is no doubt wiser in many ways and longer on this turfen sod than u. The best thing you could do for him is reassure him that the rest of the family will be looked after by u and any black sheep of the family will be towed into line or else. when faced with death at ur door, best deal with him in black and white as it is more comforting than pussy footing about him!

But truely each man is different in their darkest hour?