Saturday, September 12, 2009

Finality and Death and Dying

Journal entry: Weight = 173.3; Coinage = $.71, 36 pennies, 1 dime, 1 quarter; Glass bottles retrieved = 2; Ground scores = 2; Best coinage find = a 2 coin curb scatter consisting of a quarter and a penny.

Feature entry: Some believe that “all philosophy springs from the phenomenon of death.” On my morning walk, I came upon an automobile wreck. It was raining and had been all night. A light weight SUV coming off the interstate onto one of my walking streets had flipped onto its top. It was surreal--no police, no on-lookers, or no ambulance was present. I feared the worse—I feared finality!

Elisabeth Kȕbler-Ross’s “On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy, and Their Own Families” opines that all of us should make it a habit to think occasionally about death and dying before we encounter it in our own life. Indeed, the foundation of most faiths is that the finality of death is a myth, that we either live on spiritual in an another state (in heaven), or that we are resurrected for this world to live in another time and place.

Still, we humans are hard-wired to seek mortality, or at least to live as long and as well as we can. That is one of the primary motivating factors driving the MoneyWalker’s continuing habit of a constitutional walk. Death comes in many forms, sometimes expectedly during a terminal illness or sometimes unexpectedly from an accident.

The three leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Other leading causes include chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, and suicide. Research is clear, an active exercise program coupled with a balanced low-fat low caloric diet can forestall death and extend the quality of life.

As for the accident, it remains a mystery. Upon arrival to the scene, there were no passengers or driver in the car or in the nearby asphalt and green spaces. Soon a nurse stopped, then another samaritan, and finally we heard a firetruck coming. Assuming the authorities were in control and not seeing anyone injured or worse, there was nothing to do but to walk away and deal with my reflections of …finality.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, scary.

    Last night a jogger was hit by a car on the street where I ralk. Luckily, minor injuries only. He was wearing a headset and running against the traffic. Driver was blinded by a setting sun. Jogger will probably be issued a citation. Just another reminder of mortality.