Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sorting out a "Last Will & Testament".

I climbed off my bike to have a drink on the Roseneath Hill on my way home (into a nasty head wind) on my bike ride.   I appreciated the plants opposite. They are the result of a lot of work "Beautifying Highway 88". 
I recall when one of our sons was quite a young boy we got talking about some stuff that happened before his birth. He asked "Where was I?" We replied with something like "It was before you were born. You were not around. You were not here." He became very upset, "Yes I was! I must have been! How can I not be here?" He was quite stressed about the whole concept that there was a time in our family life when he was not around. It was impossible for him to conceive of him "not being". When you think of it, it is the same at the other end of life. We have spent some time updating our wills and sorting out enduring power of attorney etc.  Our last will was done in 1987. We sign our update tomorrow. It was quite a funny feeling discussing with the lawyer what we should include, what we want to happen when we are no longer around.  We talked of things like "cremation" and "What do you want to happen with your valuables?" (what valuables?) I thought of my shed full of tools. They will outlast me? My books? My kids will dump most of them. But most of all I began to realise that at 63 it is a relatively short time at best before there will be no "David Brown" around. The world will go on without me! I hope it is a while yet, but it has been an interesting thought process.

It is a good exercise to remember your mortality. It makes you value your life and the moments of it. I have often thought that Churches with grave yards around them are a good reminder. As you walk the path to church you are reminded of your mortality and how precious life is.

I love two pictures in a Michael King book.
- One is of a coral reef. The beautiful coral reef is made up of thousands and thousands of dead bodies of little sea creatures. They have lived their life and their bodies contribute to the beauty of the whole reef. So each of us lives our life and contributes to the beauty of the society/community/family we leave behind. In that sense we are never gone, but are artists and co-creators of life.
- Second one is that history is like an ongoing conversation in a bar. At a certain point in time we enter the room and join the conversation. We listen to what has gone before. We join in the to and fro of the conversation and learn. We make our contributions, speak our mind and tell our stories. At a certain point though each one of us has to excuse ourselves from the conversation and leave the room. But the conversation goes on and people will build on our contribution. We are gone, but we have been a part of the flow and in a sense we still are.

Tonight I went for a bike ride. I do this to keep my body as healthy and as fit as I can while I am living. I do not intend to die yet... but it has been instructive having to think of the prospect. Maybe too, we take ourselves too seriously and we should just lighten up and learn to "be"? Perhaps "we" are not that important?

1 comment:

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