Thinking About Dying

I think about a lot of things when I run. Today, I thought about the ring and necklace found sealed in a mug in the Auschwitz Museum that I mentioned yesterday.

I’m a list junkie. I make lists just for the fun of crossing things off my lists. A few days ago, I was looking through some paperwork and found an old list of Things to Think About. Right in the middle, between ‘vitamin D metabolism’ and ‘who/whom?’ is ‘Think about dying.’

Beware the Blink of an Eye

Hang on to that and move to television. I watch The Americans. It’s the best show on TV, but I am a lousy judge – it’s the only show I watch. This week, after retiring and working at a life that he felt was important, John Boy from The Waltons, here an FBI station chief, is approached by the bad guys. He attempts to flee through a closed glass door, and a shard of glass pierces his stomach. He lays there, and in a matter of mere minutes his life and hopes and dreams and loves leak out in a mess on the floor around him. I turn to my wife: this can happen to any of us at any time. One blink, and it’s gone.

“The blink of an eye” happened to me on a bicycle training ride when I was hit by a car. I spent three months in the hospital with other folks whose life had changed in the blink of an eye. I’ve come to respect that life can change in a single heartbeat. In one moment, you think you’re in charge, and you know everything. In the next, you’re hurt and wondering who you are and what went wrong. I have a new view of what a one in a million chance means.  I’ve lived it and spent months at a hospital for people who failed the once in a million chances test.

Then there was my Father, dying of cancer and well aware of the fact… I’m just too tired to even think about it. So what did I do when he died? I went out and bought a Porsche. I sold it later, but it was great. Good gawd, it was glorious.

Now, when my kids need me for the fourteenth time, or when my wife wants to watch The Americans, or when the dog stares at me with such a pure love for the alpha male that it’s comical, I try to enjoy the moment knowing that at any minute the bad guys can break in and my world will change.

Cheers! (It’s meant to be a happy thought!)

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