In eighth grade I wrote my first will. It was a Word 2003 document in size 14 Comic Sans font. My Beatles CDs, yarn, and posters were carefully divided among those closest to me. I allotted half of my allowance savings to go to deactivating hidden land mines in the Middle East and the other half to my best friends. I updated it every year religiously until senior year of high school (not realizing that it was in no way a valid legal document)..... [more]Read More
So, who am I to write a blog post about death? There doesn’t seem to be a connection to being cheerful and dying. The bigger challenge for me is that I’ve never experienced a “big” loss in my lifetime as of yet. And I’m 37 years old. Sure, I know people who have passed on, such as my grandparents, and family members of people who I love, but I’ve never personally been emotionally devastated by death the way I’ve seen or felt other people experience it. And I feel absolutely inadequate and disconnected because I haven’t had that experience. Then again, who wants that experience? ..... [more]Read More
"Credit or debit?" asked the Hannaford's cashier as I tried to swipe my credit card for my neighbor's grocery list. The neighbor would later repay me with a check when I returned with the groceries that she had sent me out to get. I did many things for her family as she had arthritis in both her knees and her husband was still recovering from his trip to the hospital after being on 100% oxygen, something that doctors told his wife he could not come back from. You could say he temporarily cheated death..... [more]Read More
As I enter a new phase in my life, middle-age, I have been thinking about what makes a life a good one. When I was a new college graduate, I thought I could end childhood hunger (or some other huge goal) and now I see that it still exists. One of the transformations I underwent is to go from 'I can do it' to 'I need to be a part of a community that can do it'; or, as Chuck Palahniuk says in his novel, Diary: “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” ..... [more]Read More
Mortality isn't something I think about too often. Well not anymore.
You see I was faced with my own demons at a very young age when I first discovered people actually die. Sure, my Granddad had died but he was old and old people die right?
But my Mum was about the age I am now, and I wasn't expecting her to die even though she had suffered through several long years of Multiple Sclerosis. But one day I was dragged from school and sure enough, I discovered younger people die too..... [more]Read More
This is a story that happened when I was in grade 5. For some reason unlike the typical fifth grader who thinks about boys and cartoons, I laid in bed one night 15 years ago, wide awake with this fear that has suddenly overcome me.
One day my parents are going to die, my grandparents are going to die. And I am going to die.
In 2000 I had some terrible anxiety about the prospect of dying. I did a lot of thinking, talking with people, and reading, and I came up with some ideas that I found helpful and soothing and consoling – so much so that I haven’t had a recurrence of those sleepless nights since.
I put those thoughts in the form of little essays on a website. More recently I put those essays in the form of a comic...Read More
“What’s heaven like?” asked the inquiring young mind. He knew that nobody could really know the answer to that question, but wanted to hear what his elder thought might be on the other side. Not just any elder, mind you, but a man who had spent many of his 94 years on the planet serving as a minister in the Christian church. Surely his parishioners had asked this many times before, so the youngster expected a well-rehearsed answer. The elder leaned back in his rocker, smiled a contented smile, and simply replied..... [more]Read More
So, when it eventually catches up with you it’s baffling, you know? Almost always confirmation of something that has been inside for a while, maybe for always, but is at this particular moment in time worldview-shatteringly new. It’s a strange instance, when knowledge first takes hold. And it’s a big deal when it happens, such a big deal, it’s ridiculous.
So, when it eventually catches up with him it’s confusing..... [more]Read More
There was one person I ran to see when the sun came up. He was the same person I wanted to see when the sun went down. From the moment Yiayiá brought me home from school, I’d burst into the family room—running straight to Papou.
“Hold on tight,” he’d say, lifting me onto his lap..... [more]Read More
I think about advertisements a lot. My superpower and my curse as a marketer is that I analyse every product and ad I see. Before I learned to control it supermarket shopping could be overwhelming at times. I have one memory walking down the aisle not just surrounded by a dazzling array of products in packaging, but also floor advertisements. The very ground I walked on was exploited and vying for attention..... [more]Read More
I am afraid of dying. Even more so I’m afraid of those that I care about dying. I fear dying with regrets and my loved ones passing on before they are old, accomplished, and ready. This may not sound like a profound statement, but for me to honestly acknowledge and come to peace with this fear has perhaps been the most cathartic and helpful thing that has ever happened to me.
Death is on my mind all the time..... [more]Read More
In the early 1920s a former private detective turned to writing after growing weary of his duties as a detective. His name was Dashiell Hammett. He became a prodigious writer, creating over a hundred short stories and five novels. However, despite this large output and the high regard many of his books are held in, the primary reason he is remembered today is because he introduced a new type of character to the world of fiction: the hardboiled private eye..... [more]Read More
Growing up we never celebrated Halloween. As an Australian family in the 1970s, this was not all that unusual. Halloween was then still a distant American tradition. Later, though, I would learn that the 31st of October was a day that held great significance for my mother: the day she went into hospital for cancer-related surgery. I was two at the time, my mother, thirty-three..... [more]Read More
Four years ago, I was sitting in a small café on a small street in a small town in Bulgaria when a thought popped into my head. I was nearing the end stretch of a two-month holiday, which I’d taken in the middle of a year-long University exchange to Germany. It had been filled with experiences that had taught me a reasonable amount about myself, other countries, my friends, and when not to trust a Hungarian bartender who reckons that “the vodka isn’t THAT strong”. As I sat, overlooking the River Yantra, I had this odd thought..... [more]Read More
I felt a hand pull me out of the cold water. I gasped for air. The salt water burned my throat as it fought with the encroaching air for space. I collapsed on the beach. Tiny hot granules of sand burned my face. I liked it. I loved it. To me it was a welcome reminder that I was still living..... [more]Read More