It Got Real

Daily Writing Prompt: How does death change your perspective?

For me the real question is how has my perspective on death changed? As a child, I realized that living things died but I felt inoculated from my own death since I still had many decades in front of me.

As a young teen I experienced grief after the death of my cat. It took about three days for the pain to begin to subside. The death of no person in my life so far has inspired such grief.

The fear of nuclear war loomed large when I was young but it also remained abstract. In fact quite a few doomsday scenarios have passed by me. The Doomsday Clock has become just a soft, background tick. My guess is that the End is Near warning has been sounding for as long as humans existed.

About three years ago, I started to become hyper-aware of my own death. Literally my life flashes before my eyes as my mind rewinds images from my past. On an off chance, I may have a couple of decades in front of me. Now it’s less abstract.

I remain cheerful when I confront each new day. The same old daily routine of living is fine with me and I don’t desire much adventure. I’m happy to quietly contemplate life and in turn contemplate death.

Where the Toys Are

In my day we had only a stick and a few stones to play with. Not quite but somewhat true.

My toy collection was sparse to begin with. But as soon as I laid down a toy and ignored it for a while, my mother gave it away to the farm. On this farm some distant relatives lived with seven children. I asked my mother where a certain plaything was and she said, “Gone to the farm up north.” I never cried or questioned this since she was a dead end. Not one single toy survived my childhood.

I remember playing with small, colorful plastic beads that might have come off a Christmas decoration. With these beads, I made up stories and played with them as if they were toy people. I remember some sadness when one of the beads got lost in the innards of a living room recliner. With only a one hour a day allotment of TV given to me, entertainment had to come from somewhere. Not counting the Etch A Sketch, the television was my only screen since computers did not exist for everyday people.

Another favorite toy, but not a toy, was my colored pencil collection. I didn’t use them for drawing much but I played with the pencils in a manner similar to the beads. I was a poor artist, but imagining each individual pencil as a character in a make-believe story amused me for hours. My favorite pencil was seafoam green, still my favorite color.

My Favorite Pencil

My Future Rereads

Things Fall Apart, China Achebe

Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Emily Dickinson’s Poems

Star Maker, Olaf Stapledon

Busman’s Honeymoon, Dorothy Sayers

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Jane Austen, all