I am already somewhat preoccupied with thoughts of death -- not necessarily my own death, but that too. To quote Anne Sexton, who was also consumed with thoughts of death (and, unlike me, suicidal thoughts), "Death's been here for a long time."
In recent days death has been at the forefront of the news with the passing of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcet, and Michael Jackson (the latter of which has already been venerated beyond that of kings and prophets...he may be buried in a pyramid). And now pitchman Billy Mays to boot!
All are sad losses, as is any death really, all those countless deaths that happen every day to people we don't know. A friend's dad died recently to boot, and his death is as important to me (and of course, my friend and her mother) as the death of any celebrity. Of course he was not an international superstar so an obituary in the Charlotte Observer was all that was warranted alongside some private grief...a luxury that the families of Ed, Farrah, and most notably Michael don't get a whole lot of.
For Ed McMahon, I felt a sense of sadness of course, but also a sense of calm at the normality of his deaath. He wasn't drug addled, or tortured by his fame and fortune, or even surprising. I don't mean to diminish what his friends and family must be feeling at all, but he was old -- and that is the way we're all "supposed" to go -- death by old age.
Farrah and Michael on the other hand, were somewhat surprising and shocking. Farrah, a victim of cancer, and Michael a victim of, for lack of a better word, "lifestyle". (I detest the word "lifestyle" as mentioned in my Adam Lambert post, but work with me here.) Then Billy Mays apparantly fell victim to a freak accident at a young age -- the same age as Michael.
I think this particular series of deaths has made me think even more about mortality and what lies beneath the thin veil of human survival is that I have a little in common with the last three. Similar to Farrah (but luckily not actual cancer), I have had "precancerous conditions" that will require monitoringg for the rest of my life (and it's just obscure enough that I will have trouble finding anyone here in Charlotte who knows what I'm talking about, which was a major consideration before I moved but I moved anyway). Like Michael, I certainly do not have the best mental, sexual or physical health. And like Billy, I'm prone to freak accidents.
This all comes up at a time, too, when I'm facing a major lifestyle change. The thought of having no income -- which will happen in the next sex or seven months -- scares me, and while I will be full-time job hunting (and trying to exploit some ideas I have for business and income generation), I will be thinking about the death of that period of my life, and how somewhere up ahead in the timeline death waits inevitably for me, and for us all.
It's freaky to be alive knowing that one day you won't be.