Memento Mori

My uncle on my Dad’s side of the family was diagnosed with lung cancer and informed of a brain tumor a few days ago. My life has been relatively untouched by death and its terminal harbingers. There’ve been deaths, of course, people I loved and was close to, and many others I knew but wasn’t close to… comparitively speaking though, there are many others who have seen it claim more than I have. This one bothers me… a lot.

I, of course, have no intentions to stop smoking or anything. But thoughts come out of nowhere… is this going to kill me? What if I end up with lung cancer a year from now? What if I have it but don’t yet know. Odd thoughts, paranoid worries, but not quite as unhealthy as they sound. The superficial level of it is shown in some of the questions I’ve shared that just seem to pop up unbidden. But it relates things I’ve infered or taken from Nietzsche and Carlos Castenada.

Friedrich Nietzsche was in pretty piss poor health for a lot of his life, but I think the astounding amount of work, and the quality of it, was completed (partly) because of ill health, the use of suicidal thoughts for comfort and/or endurance… because of a closeness to decline, decadence, and the propsect of death. Not in spite of it. Or such is my opinion on his overall attitude to life, the creation of his various works, and the manner in which he completed them.

I mention Castenada because of the books he wrote, and while all of the first four center around his apprenticeship to Don Juan, the fourth book (Journey to Ixtlan) is the one I have in mind. In it, death is talked about quite a lot in their conversations. It’s talked about in a way that encourages an almost physical awareness of it, and active, daily use of it as an adviser.

(Above Written August 7th, 2012 | Below Written September 9th, 2012)

I wonder sometimes… how long until I get that diagnosis? How long until someone gives me an expiration date and the name of some cancer to scapegoat for my death, topped off with some treatment I can’t afford? lol I smoke so much I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a question of “when” instead of “if”. And what’s to say I don’t piss off the wrong person (or get pissed at the wrong person) and get shot today, or that I won’t be killed in a completely accidental car wreck on my way to the store?

These questions don’t come up as worries though. They move me to action, to exercising my power, to creation, destruction, and preservation… within and without. Remembering my mortality isn’t an inhibitor or impediment to me, it’s an inspiration.

(Fun Facts: Original Working Title: Pondering Fear (In The Present) |and/or| Harbingers Of Death. While it was written a while ago, I don’t think I’d regard any of this as “outdated”, the removal of dates and minor changes (a word or two, here and there) are all that would need to be addressed to make seem more ‘current’ or ‘fresh’.)

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One comment

  1. My grandmother has smoked cigs all her life, since she was like 16 and she is now 82 I believe? I just know she is older than 80, the thing is she certainly does not inhale but she has 99% oxygen. It would be worse off for her to stop her smoking than to continue now. Some people are incredibly lucky, some live, some die, some go out instantaneously and not so lucky like my grandmother, suffer from a slow death. Some people die young, are they blessed because they don’t have to suffer as we do?

    Though I choose to believe in the afterlife because I just cannot accept there is nothing after this, though I wonder what, if it all is the next journey. Near-death experiences can be an awakening sometimes, though mostly it is awakening that you have not been living to your potential or some sort, which has been my case. Yet how often do we have stories of people who nearly die and it becomes a life-changing experience? I for one am grateful for every breath I take, every moment that I am alive, because I should not be alive enjoying decent-health (slightly piss poor due to poor genetics). Death is finicky, doesn’t want you half the time and wants you when you aren’t ready. But another incredible story arises to, those who are near Death’s gate and hold on so tightly to see over one thing, like a daughter’s marriage or something, or to try and fulfill a promise.

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