This is a post for my friend, G, who wrote me yesterday, after I said I'm running out of time.
In her note, G described the death of her father and mother, and comforted me with her thoughts about connecting with them, referring to her belief in life after death.
I need to tell her:
"Dear G, I am not afraid of death, or dying. I've been there. I died on the operating once. And another time, en-route to surgery, I was sure from how the doctors and nurses behaved, that it was the end of my life and welcomed it -- I was in great pain.
"I don't believe in life after death. I don't have that background, or a religion, or a belief that gives me that comforting thought. I deal with facts about me, my body. I turn off the "running out of time" thoughts, because the thoughts serve no purpose.
Everyone, with just the tick of a clock or a peek at the calendar, feels time passing. I turn off "fear" about specifics ("this valve is wearing out, it can't be repaired"). And I watch what I eat, and note if something reverberates (gives me pain, or discomfort). in any way.
"The message to me, from me, about running out of time is -- "Hey, you're running out of time no matter what you think or do. Em, you don't stop driving the car when the tank is down to the last quarter. You drive more carefully, in a way that will use the remaining gas economically. You use the right gas, keep the tank clean, don't overfill."
Stuff like that gives me something to do (like standing straight, like exercising, keeping fit), like keeping pressure in the tires equalized, checking the oil, water, and transmission fluid, keeping the engine clean. I know I'll stall on the highway when I run out of gas. I figure I can walk to a nearby gas station.
Maybe I can, and maybe I can't.
Once, on a deserted country road at 1;30 a.m. we were stuck at "Stuckey's" in Georgia. (What an adventure -- I'll write a blog about it, one of these days!)
Anyhow, thinking about life after death -- well, it doesn't help me, G. You're my best friend but different strokes for different folks.
I guess I'm a car person, like a traveling salesman -- my thousand one-night stands taught me life lessons that keep me on the highway -- keep me zooming along.