When are we going to die?

It’s a question I’m sure you have thought about at one time or another. Today I was faced with that question head on.

I work in Oxford a few days a week and on my usual walking route from the train station to where I work today there were police cars and ambulances obscuring my path. I walked to the thin plastic tape used to hold back the masses and was hit by an image that will no doubt haunt me for many years to come. It was of a homeless man receiving CPR.

I had met that man a week or so ago when a colleague didn’t want her sandwich and I gave it to him. He received it with a smile and a nod and that was the length of my relationship with him and yet seeing strangers fighting to keep another stranger alive reminded me of this question.

I have of course faced dying and death before, violently in some cases too, but his death was being played out in front of uncaring commuters. His final moments canvased on a dirty Oxford pavement -his clothes ripped back and rips cracked- dignity lost in those darkening moments.

So the question lingers long after his body has been removed and the pavement returns to it’s mundane role from being a hospital bed. It is a question I don’t want answered or even hinted at, rather something answered in hindsight ’oh so that’s when’ and yet it haunts me.

There is no conclusion to this post because well how do you end something so macabre? But I’ll try though a quote from a book I’ve just finished called the Good Luck of Right Now that I think fits with anyone dealing with this question or with a loss of someone close to them and are struggling for reasons why; “The universe hiccups, and we poor fools try to figure out why”.

12 thoughts on “When are we going to die?

  1. Sallyann says:

    Oxford you say? Not too far from my stomping ground.
    It sort of brings all things into perspective doesn’t it… Life, death, the universe,… 42?
    Maybe we all live too much in the past, or for tomorrow. What about just for today. 🙂

  2. Angeline M says:

    This had to have been traumatic to see. It brings back a memory of my seeing this kind of situation while I was on vacation and the paramedics working on a man on the roadside doing cpr. All I could think of was dying there on that beautiful sunny day in such a beautiful place. It’s not easy to think about.

  3. Santi says:

    That’s life. Remembering us that the only thing that we have for sure when we are born is that we are going to die. When, where, how… Those are questions that we cannot answer (and maybe we shouldn’t try to answer). So, we cannot live as if we were going to live forever but neither as if we were going to die tomorrow. Just live a full life. Remember those that left us and care about the living.

  4. EllaDee says:

    Beautifully and succinctly written. There are times when we encounter death, usually remotely, when we barely register it’s impact, if not on us then on someone, and other times it hits us full tilt regardless of if we are connected physically to it in some way or emotionally. I guess this happens when death changes the status quo in some way for us.

  5. Liza Harrow says:

    I don’t want to feed your ego but I think you may well be the best blog writer I’ve found in years. You should have a column somewhere, this stuff needs to be read more!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s