Joe's mother died Thursday. This weekend, he and his wife Pat, who live across the street from me, will go down to New Jersey for the funeral. Joe's mom was 83, died of bladder cancer, and was pleased as punch to have picked out her own coffin -- a pink one, with pink interior and the words "mother" and "grandmother" embroidered together with some flowers in the headboard. "What I will miss is talking to her," Joe said. I passed along some blue orchids to Joe for his mom.
I suppose, like others, I am afraid of death, but it is harder and harder to find that fear. Gautama was quoted as saying, "All fear dying. All fear death" and I suppose he was right. But where I can get a handle on the "dying" part (the dribbling away of energies, the rising number of aches and pains), it is harder to muster the catcalls and trembling for "death." Fearing death is just another version of fearing life and it takes energy to be afraid; it takes energy to make up fairy tales (if you don't know, you don't know ... why bother pretending you do know what you simply don't?) about this supposedly-spooky divide. Who started this rumor about a "divide" anyway? Believing is a pastime for the young and energetic. OK, knock yourself out.
But wasting energy -- if such a thing exists -- seems unfortunate. Wouldn't it be preferable to use energy on something constructive ... like maybe building a pink casket?