27 Jan


The one area in which gods grab our attention and make us think more than twice concerns the question of death.

That’s one sure thing that’s going to happen sooner or later to each and every one of us. It’s an event that may come along slowly as some lurgy rots vital organs inside us until they no longer function and we keel over for a last time, or it might be that piece of mischief waiting round the corner and ready to trip us up without giving the least bit of notice. Whatever the case, it’s death. It’s final. Our last thought may well be “so here I go, and it wasn’t a rehearsal after all…”

I suppose it’s the simple matter that everything we find familiar, the way the sun rises and sets, the colour of a spring sky, the hint of green that slowly spreads across early summer woodland, the melody created by birds just out of sight, everything we like and love in our world will be worse than lost to us, because the “us” part of the equation won’t be there to see or hear them.

And more than that. If there’s one thing most of us like is being well thought of by others, and we’ve all worked out that the greatest truths of how others carry us in their minds get revealed in our absence. Walk out of room and the truth will often leak out, unheard by us but manifest anyway. I’ve no doubt about that.

But death is more than walking out of a room. It’s departing for good. It’s leaving a space where we used to be and never returning to fill it again.

We’re out of the room for ever and ever, amen.

And the one place we’d like to be more than any other is there, in the room with our own corpse, weighing up the whispered comments of those unfortunate enough to see us in that reduced state. That’s the bad thing about dying: we won’t be there to see the effect of our death on others. Our ears, once so sensitive, won’t hear a syllable of the praise or blame that gets muttered over our decomposing flesh.

And afterwards.

We all have our routines in life, the things we like to do, the little rituals we create that mark us as, in some small way, unique. I should imagine that each and every one of us can bring to mind something that is peculiar to us, if not in its entirety but in some aspect of it. It’s something we do, and even though half the rest of the human race might do something similar, there’s not one of the countless billions who do it exactly the same way as us.

And when we’re no longer in the land of the living we can’t do it. The world we once inhabited has become, in the tiniest possible way, a different place because of our absence from it.

Then there are the people we love and who love us. They’re going to possibly shed a few tears before moving on. That’s something we’ve all got to do: move on, keep precious memories like fading snapshots in our minds, but move on anyway. But we won’t be there to witness any of it.

These must be the reasons we hate the idea of dying quite as much as we do.

And because it all becomes such a big deal some of us can’t cope with it. And of those who can’t cope a tiny minority turn to a hope, a dream, they know just isn’t true but try to conjure, through fear of the impossibly unknown, into being. Which brings me back to the beginning of this little piece, and the fact that gods can grab our attention and make us think more than twice about the question of death.

© Peter Rogerson 27.01.15



  1. georgiakevin April 7, 2015 at 3:35 am #

    i think the older we get the more we focus on death. Yet again your post makes this reader think.

    • Peter Rogerson April 7, 2015 at 8:46 am #

      Not focus too hard, though, I hope! Goodness me, I’m having to re-read these posts in order to remember what they’re about!!!

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