I have a number of friends who are battling cancer with the near certainty that death is coming to them. It's at times like this I realise how little teaching there is on death and how we should face it. It's understandable in a world that doesn't want to talk about death and prefers to hope that there might be an opt-out clause.
As a society we are clear that suicide is not something to be encouraged or assisted. Legalising assisted suicide flies in the face of that. It sends the message that, if you are terminally ill, ending your life is something that society endorses and that you might want to consider. Is that really the kind of society we want?
If we eat locally produced healthy food, we reduce carbon emissions and protect ourselves from the risks of various chronic diseases. So each one of us has a challenge - for the sake of the planet and for future generations - to claim the the co-benefits of reducing carbon emissions and improving our health.
ife and death are the great pretenders, the illusionists who compel us to make sense of the hand we have been dealt with and even that is the luck of the draw (or karma, for some). Every day we are challenged and struggle to make sense of our world but that doesn't mean we have to give in to fear, worse yet, to a fear of ourselves.
It's a bit of a problem though - how nice it all is. Adam Barnard's play Buckets, a series of scenes mediating on death, life, happiness, hopes and dreams, often feels like a chocolate selection box full of tweeness, and that's without even mentioning the set compromised of flowers, balloons, and a kid's slide.
Mum probably won't still be here when I graduate. She will probably die whilst I'm still at uni. I have to cram twenty or thirty years of visits into twenty or thirty days/weeks/months. I have to ask all my questions now; predict what I might want to know in years to come. Each birthday might be Mum's last, so rather than forget it I want to make it special.