Birthdays and death


Today was my daughter’s 7th birthday party. We had it here at the house. She wanted a spa party, so we broke out the polish and the cucumbers; had pedicures and lip gloss and all that jazz. It was delightful.

About three hours before the shindig kicked off, I took a nap. Midway through, while half-asleep, I had very disturbing thoughts about death; the kind that used to keep me up at nights, pacing. I’m under the sheet, the lights are turned off, and it hits me—like a fender to the skull—that one day I will be dead. There is no escaping this reality. None. Zero. Zip. Whether I live until 100 or whether I pass tomorrow, I will be dead for the rest of eternity. No thought. No reactions. No breathing. No tasting. Pure, deceased nothingness.

I think this entered my brain today because, as most parents will agree to, kids make the time soar. They really do, because their lives serve as neon markers. First grade starts. First grade ends. Summer birthday party. Second grade starts. Second grade ends. Summer birthday party. So on and so on.

I try grasping on with as much ferocity as I can; until my fingers bleed. I’m around all the time, and I attempt to convince myself that my presence in the daily lives of my kids (not merely good morning and good night) causes the years to pass with less velocity. But I don’t think it does.

Truth is, time is fast. It doesn’t seem fast—it is fast. And, at the end, we’re all dead. It scares me, but it doesn’t really seem to scare others.

Which makes me jealous. Not of religion. Just of peace of mind.

Which I lack.

8 thoughts on “Birthdays and death”

  1. I can surely attest while it may not slow down the descent, it surely matters that your able to be there for your kids.

    I had a trans-formative moment with my father when I was 18, the man wept, sadness pouring out of him that he had missed my childhood for a job that had just thrown him away.

    People who have the luck or the will to be around there kids throughout their childhood are blessed.

    As for not being afraid of death. Even if you have faith you don’t have certainty, and in that even as a person of faith I have immense fear with regard to death.

  2. Interesting post…you too, Jason T. I have these thoughts occasionally, but I don’t find them disturbing – I’m not a person of any faith, nor do I believe in life after death.

    My Dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. My wife asked me how I felt after getting the phone call and I said, “That’s life.”

    You can’t beat death and I certainly don’t think I’m special enough to be the only one who will – and the same goes for all the ones I love.

    Nonetheless, these thoughts, like the ones you shared, are always in flux, which is probably why I go back to them from time to time.

    Be well, Jeff.

  3. I have these same fears, but then I try to tell myself — if there really is “nothing” after death, what is there to be afraid of?

    Was that time before you were born scary? Like, in 1794, were you scared? How about during the Civil War? Was it particularly terrifying for you in the year 1326? No, because you didn’t exist at any of those times. It might be the same after you die. If so, there’s absolutely nothing to fear. Just enjoy today.

  4. Hang in there, Jeff. Having kids truly does make the passage of time much more “in your face.” I didn’t realize it, but Parker was also born on July 24, seven years before your daughter. At 14, he still loves that overgrown stuffed dog (Hank) that you gave me for my firstborn… As I hugged him yesterday and he looked DOWN on me as he thanked me for his “beyond cool” Weezer T-shirt and concert poster, I realized that as much as I wanted to keep him under my wing, protected and sheltered, my baby is moving on…. Ah, so bittersweet. Your time with your children is the best gift ever. What a treasure for all of you. On top of all that, thinking of you with glitter polish on your toe nails just makes me grin….

  5. Some famous quotes that might help, or not.

    JFK said ” there is nothing to fear but fear itself. ”

    Einstein said ” Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. ”

    And to tie the above together, Buddha said ” When a raindrop rejoins the river, it does not weep over it’s loss of identity. ”

    So, worst case scenario, you die and your dead and that’s it, over and done. Which is why you treasure your children and family and friends, and don’t chase after money and material wealth and fame. But you my friend already figured that out!

    Best cas, we are all tiny bits and pieces of some gorgeus, grand energy, and when we pass on we loose our individuality, and flow back into the beauty of the one.

    Who knows??????

    Like the Who said in the song The Seeker, ” I won’t get way I’m after til the day I die. ”

    Shalom Jeff

  6. On a side note, if you love pop music like Jeff and I , check out Ava Leigh singing ” mad about the boy. “. Fresh song. Also check out Teresa Andersson singing ” birds fly away “. Sick

  7. Even a sworn atheist can we agree we live on genetically, through offspring, or on a biological level, as mulch. That’s got to count for something, right?

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