Saturday, September 4, 1982

Memento mori

Robert has just now gone to bed leaving me in a strange melancholy frame of mind. He and Carol drove across this morning and we had a dull evening before the box before everyone went upstairs, leaving just the two of us alone in the heavy midnight silences of the front room.

I can’t say all that was said for he said too much: I wish I could write poetry and sum up my emotions more effectively than through this rambling prose. Suffice to say the subjects were unhappy ones, Robert's voice monotonous, with none of the hopeful enthusiasm inspired by Buddhism, merely instead a sad recognition of hard facts, an almost nihilistic and totally spirit-crushing view of Death triumphant over all. . . .

“It’s not the thought of dying that scares me, just the living after others around me have gone. I don’t know how I would cope” . . . so much impermanence he's frightened by it . . . “and there’ll be a time when Mum and Dad will be dead; Nanna has perhaps ten years left (here I thought of her upstairs secure and unknowing in sleep – she would cry if she heard this). . . . “I know you’re 18 and just going to university; you’re optimistic, looking forward to life, but really all we’ve got to look forward to is dying.”

Blackness beyond the windows. And our feeble attempt to claw some tiny place for posterity, a name written on the flyleaf of a book, all of it come to naught before the passage of time. I've said this before and do so again; all our possessions are borrowed and in an eye-blink instant of Universe-time—a mere 70 years—we're gone, but our keepsakes remain to go through the same cycle with someone else.

“I see no future, no future at all . . . ”

Unlike other creatures, thought and imagination let us escape our mortal bodies and glimpse a greater reality, yet we remain trapped but fully aware at all times of the awful truth of growing old, decay, and death. Is it any wonder that people end their lives prematurely? That Helen Vaughan finally yearned for death as the only way to achieve that freedom she experienced oh so infrequently, and eventually not at all?

No comments:

Google Analytics Alternative