Re: The Death

1

Have you tried sublimating your fear of death into a fear of accidentally mailing a link with porn to your students?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 12:24 PM
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I have much higher accomplishing-nothing anxiety than death anxiety. Until I had a kid, death seemed fair, like you gotta do it some time and at least I would know how the accomplishing-nothing turned out. Now I have a little death anxiety.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 12:36 PM
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Aghghghh DEATH ANXIETY. I've got it, oh yes. My best defense against it is basically repeating to myself "Time is a flat circle," which... may not be for everyone.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 12:38 PM
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I prefer to think about the little death.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 12:40 PM
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I have RUSSELL SIMMONS' DEF ANXIETY


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 12:44 PM
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Mine is really bad. I will spiral straight into a panic attack if I let myself think about it; if I get started I have to divert, divert, divert and do a version of redfoxtailshrub's mantra.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 12:49 PM
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I think I have the opposite of death anxiety, whatever that is. The thought of being dead seems just so indescribably peaceful and stress free. It's the dying process I worry about. That seems like it's got to suck balls big time unless you are really quite lucky. Hopefully I'll go nice and clean like my grandfathers (a stroke in both cases) and not like my grandmother (complications from Alzheimer's).


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 12:53 PM
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I think I have the opposite of death anxiety, whatever that is.

The word is "deathwish." You might want to examine that feeling more.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:06 PM
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Or check if some Bronson movies are on Netflix.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:08 PM
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I laugh at Death, but that's mostly because of the way he dresses. And accessorizes. A scythe? Come on, dude: you don't even live in Brooklyn.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:13 PM
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I would like to see research on the effectiveness of other arguments against death anxiety. The Epicureans point out that we were already non-existent for an infinite amount of time before we were born. Does that actually comfort anyone?

What about realism about the past and future, does that help? Does anyone say "All times are equally real. It will always be true that this moment exists and I am in it" and then feel comfort? David Velleman makes that argument in this lecture. (It may also be the thing that rfts is referring to when she describes time as a flat circile, I'm not sure.) But does it actually work for anyone?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:14 PM
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"All times are equally real. It will always be true that this moment exists and I am in it"

This is faintly comforting for me, as is the (Oprah-esque semi-obsessive semi-superstitious) determination of mine to appreciate what I've got while I've got it. "When the shit hits the fan, I won't be caught flat-footed on APPRECIATION OF WHAT WAS LOST" or something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:18 PM
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(It may also be the thing that rfts is referring to when she describes time as a flat circile, I'm not sure.)

I bet not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:18 PM
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I've been getting a hit of fear of death from dealing with my parents lately. They're both in their mid-seventies, and while quite healthy still, are kind of obviously not immortal at this point. And of course, if they're not immortal, I'm not either, just thirty years further from the end.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:20 PM
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Dumbledore said not to worry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:20 PM
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My whole personal blog is borne of that obsession. If I document everything and die abruptly or someone else does, at least it's documented thoroughly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:20 PM
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No, it is, basically, crossed with the myth of the eternal return. (Now with more True Detective flavor!)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:23 PM
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Well I'll be. First freezable anal beads, now this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:24 PM
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Does it make me an irrealist or antirealist about the past if I say that it isn't always true that "this moment exists", because in the future what will be true is that this moment existed? That, e.g., it isn't true that the moment at which the Unix epoch began exists, but rather, it existed? I hope not because I think you can say such a thing and still not be an antirealist about the past in more obvious ways (like denying that there's a fact of the matter regarding how many hairs were on Dennis Ritchie's head at the moment at which the Unix epoch began). To make such an assertion to me simply means acknowledging the pastness of the past.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:27 PM
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Isn't the idea of the eternal return/recurrence something else again, though?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:28 PM
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Not the Eliade kind with the return of mythic times, just the whole universe over and over/always already kind.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:29 PM
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it isn't true that the moment at which the Unix epoch began exists, but rather, it existed?

But this is only because we experience time as a linear, passing thing. The comforting part is supposed to be that if you zoom out and take the entire time axis, then it all always exists. (Everything I know about physics I learned from Kurt Vonnegut.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:29 PM
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I don't care for death anxiety, but I'm pretty good at not dwelling on it. The worst is seeing death anxiety in my kid, who occasionally freaks out at the realization that he's one day going to die, and hasn't yet perfected the art of just putting it the fuck out of your mind.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:29 PM
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Yeah, that seems different from just the reality of the past.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:29 PM
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14 is interesting. Having my mother die made me sad, but didn't in any way cause anxiety about my own mortality. But any time someone I know (or even remotely know) who is younger than me dies, it really freaks me out.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:29 PM
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24 to 21, and let me also amend 24 to include "however rob/Ve//eman is thinking of that".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:30 PM
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Yeah, that seems different from just the reality of the past.

I agree.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:31 PM
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I am actually terrified about the Unix epoch ending, because its set to turn over shortly before my scheduled retirement, and I'd rather not have my pension wiped out.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:31 PM
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11 The Epicureans point out that we were already non-existent for an infinite amount of time before we were born. Does that actually comfort anyone?

I'm pretty sure I was only non-existent for about 13.8 billion years before I was born.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:33 PM
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Cold comfort.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:34 PM
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I'm pretty sure I was only non-existent for about 13.8 billion years before I was born.

Prior to that you were existent?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:37 PM
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Prior to that there was no question of existence or nonexistence.

If Rob had just written "for all time", all this could have been avoided.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:39 PM
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The thought of being dead seems just so indescribably peaceful and stress free. It's the dying process I worry about.

I'll be curious if this thread breaks down along gender lines. I mostly* feel similar to the quoted sentiment -- that the idea of dying suddenly and being gone from the world isn't that scary, but the thought of aging and loss of capacities or disability are much scarier. I think of this as a stereotypically masculine position -- using the idea of death as a way to avoid thinking about the much more scary reality of disability, but I don't know that my stereotype is accurate.

* Occasionally I freak about the idea of death, of course.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:40 PM
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How do you know that there wasn't something prior to the Big Bang? It just got banged away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:41 PM
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I think death anxiety should be spread around a bit, rather than be allowed to pile up into this great terror. After all, there are lots of aspects of life that look like an ending: people you can't know, places you can't visit, things you can't do or can't become.


Posted by: Charlie W | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:41 PM
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28: From my former place in the Y2K trenches, don't worry. There are a gazillion other bugs in our systems besides the time-based ones, and we mostly muddle along.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:41 PM
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Everything i know about death i learned from Dark Side of the Moon.

And genealogy, which shows even the inconsequential leave footprints.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:41 PM
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(I'm a similar age, and it has occurred to me that I might end up working on both Y2K and 2k38 issues, which would probably be annoying, but a tiny bit amusing).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:42 PM
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My phone has forgotten me, and I'm not even close to dead.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:43 PM
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My whole personal blog is borne of that obsession. If I document everything and die abruptly or someone else does, at least it's documented thoroughly.

Write a 'bot to keep updating the blog after you're gone. That's almost like being immortal, at least until the server goes down.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:43 PM
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I don't think I have much death anxiety. I have a lot of aging anxiety, mostly about my parents. I get terribly sad when I think about them getting older and losing their mental acuity and physical vitality. It's maybe a kind of death anxiety, in that I'm sad about the constant death of younger selves. But it's not an anxiety about the end of life altogether, which seems to me like a relief from the terrible sadness of aging.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:43 PM
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just the whole universe over and over/always already kind.

But not just this one, also the one where you did something irreparably horrible as an adolescent and ruined your life as well as that of others, also the one where your judgement was a little better that one night in college and things went well instead. Those recur as well. I don't find this thought consoling at all myself.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:47 PM
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Does it make me an irrealist or antirealist about the past if I say that it isn't always true that "this moment exists", because in the future what will be true is that this moment existed? ... I hope not because I think you can say such a thing and still not be an antirealist about the past in more obvious ways (like denying that there's a fact of the matter regarding how many hairs were on Dennis Ritchie's head at the moment at which the Unix epoch began).

Yeah, my initial phrasing was inexact. The "always" in "It will always be true that this moment exists and I am in it" doesn't really make sense, but it helps make the sentiment more comforting.

Really what you have to say is "this moment exists, and the existence of other moments has no bearing on it," meaning that existence is ultimately defined timelessly. So on the (eternalist, B-series) view I am referring to, we don't first say "Moment T will exist", then "Moment T exists", then "Moment T existed". We can really say flatly that the moment simply exists.

One level of anti-realism about past and future denies the kind of separability of existence and time that I am talking about. Nosflow is right to say that there is a more hardcore anti-realism that simply denies there is a fact of the matter at all about past events. Someone probably has gone that far in their anti-realism about past and future, but I'm not really interested in that view.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:48 PM
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I have a lot of aging anxiety, mostly about my parents. I get terribly sad when I think about them getting older and losing their mental acuity and physical vitality.

Yes, this exactly.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:49 PM
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I'm sad about the constant death of younger selves.

Me too!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:51 PM
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Someone probably has gone that far in their anti-realism about past and future

Didn't Michael Dummett, at least at times?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:51 PM
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14 & 44 have probably already read Roz Chast on her aging parents, but it's recommended for reprobates everywhere.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:51 PM
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46: That sounds right. But maybe there is no longer a fact of the matter.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:52 PM
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47. I loved that book, but it literally made me physically ill with sadness.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 1:54 PM
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Maybe, instead of putting it out of your mind, you can talk about it at a Death Cafe.

I have started to wonder whether thinking about death for 5 minutes or so a day might make it less scary.

Seriously though, I think that thinking about death as a way of making the most of life is not a bad idea.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:20 PM
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I'm annoyed my life is coming up on its halfway point, if I'm lucky. I feel like I should have more to show for it besides having produced some modestly-used software and some publications that nobody read. I mean, shit, Marco Rubio only has a few years on me, and that goober is running for President.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:29 PM
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I still don't have strong death anxiety, but I'm only 42. I didn't have aging anxiety until my knees got achey a few months ago.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:31 PM
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53

You can always get a new knee.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:32 PM
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I think that to the extent that I have death anxiety it's mostly sublimated into anxiety about my work, which has a whole independent existence on several different levels. There's the question of whether anything I do will ever be remembered as a significant contribution to the collective knowledge of humanity--seems unlikely, but not so improbable as to make me give up--which is also all rolled up into the more near-term question of whether anything I do will seem noteworthy enough for my employer to keep me around in the long term.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:33 PM
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A year and a half ago, when a friend's husband died in a freak accident in the prime of his life, leaving behind 2 kids younger than mine, all of my anxiety was on the survivors' side - it was all about the idea of my partnership with AB being severed (on either side) rather than nothingness or whatever.

Not claiming higher enlightenment, I'm just pretty sure I don't identify with 3/6/etc.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:34 PM
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53: I've seriously thought about learning more about knee replacement. They're not agonizing or anything*, but if this is how they are at 42....

*I mean, not remotely, but the thing is that I'll go weeks at a time where I'm constantly aware of them; that's so completely novel and horrible


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:36 PM
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The problem is your standards are too high. Try something other than making a contribution to the collect knowledge of humanity. I'm sure you're very important in your own way, but just emailing all your students about anal beads would move you up the "noteworthy" ladder very quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:37 PM
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56: That meet the standard for symptomatic OA* (pain on most days of a month in the past 12 months).

* Assuming the pain is caused by OA.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:43 PM
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I don't really understand most of the posts after 11. What's the opposite of higher enlightenment?

41, 44: I'm not sure how much my anxiety about my dad's inevitable death is existential and how much is, "OMG dealing with that will suck." He's 71 and super-vital and in pretty good health, so actual death (let alone fragility) is nigh incomprehensible. So, so far at least, when I think about what's to come all that really feels salient is the 4 BR house in NJ full of stuff* and finances way more complicated than a checking account and and and. My sister's ex would have been a champ with that shit, but now she's an ex.

OTOH, some of my dad's very best role modeling has been around the deaths of his parents and the extended circumstance around my mom, so I suspect I'll be fine. Ugh.

To be clear, I have no illusions it won't be terribly sad - I'm tearing up a bit right now - but that's different from dread/anxiety.

*he's not a hoarder, but he has lived alone in a 4 BR house for over 20 years now. There's a LOT of stuff.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:45 PM
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60

I have no idea what OA is. Is it water on the knee, because I hear they can drain that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:46 PM
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61

-. +?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:46 PM
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Is it me or is using people who believe in reincarnation as the anthithesis of belief in an enduring self really, really odd?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:46 PM
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60: Osteoarthritis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:51 PM
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Anyway, my parents are as individuals and as a couple dancing on the edge of being able to live alone. That is, if either of them gets just a little bit worse, neither of them can stay alone.

It does worry me more than death, but then I got religion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 2:59 PM
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I am a youngish guy going through a soul-consuming divorce (no kids). An effect of this misery is that death anxiety is transmuted into death-reassurance - it's always there, if I want it. And this is a genuine comfort.

I'm not really suicidal, but the idea of death gives me space to breathe, lets "life-anxiety" out like a vent.


Posted by: Presdident Felipe Nyusi | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:02 PM
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(It always kills the thread when I talk about this stuff, but I know full well I am at Unfogged. I will not take poorly to jokes (provided they are also funny) or side conversations or no direct response. I am not currently fragile on the topic.)

I've had no fear of death since we lost the boys. I don't believe in an afterlife or a reunion, but death is where they are. Being with them, even in nothingness, cannot be a bad thing. My boyfriend reports the same reaction.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:06 PM
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This is not license for some OPINIONATED bullshit, Moby.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:08 PM
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I've had no fear of death since we lost the boys. I don't believe in an afterlife or a reunion, but death is where they are. Being with them, even in nothingness, cannot be a bad thing.

This is very interesting! I find this weirdly reassuring (what is it reassuring me of/about? I have no idea).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:13 PM
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It is just one step removed from 'we'll all be together in heaven', so it is probably the same solace religion provides.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:24 PM
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I have much higher accomplishing-nothing anxiety than death anxiety.

I'm with k-sky on this one. I was recently reminded of that bit from "Kicking and Screaming" where the eternal student says, "After my seventh or eighth year, I began to feel like I was using myself. Somehow I experienced my time as a postponement of my life... but eventually I just realized that this is my life." He's a comic character, so he's experiences this as a peaceful, affirming realization, but similar reflections on my part were always full of despair.

My situation's rather different now, but I'm still much more anxious about my life being wasted than I am about it being ended.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:24 PM
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71

You might like Leaving the Atocha Station, x.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:25 PM
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Hmmm, maybe. Looking at reviews & descriptions, though, I suspect I'd despise the protagonist for the extent to which I saw myself in him--and if I did enjoy it, I'd feel bad about that enjoyment.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:38 PM
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That's more or less what I meant.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:39 PM
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67: I do have my limits you know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:43 PM
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I went through a similar experience to President Nyusi (my sympathies) but had the opposite reaction, I found that along with the soul-crushing depression I was afflicted by paralyzing death anxiety. What finally broke me out of it was the shattering realization of the irony that there I was gripped by the most intense and all-consuming fear of death at a time when I had never been less alive. That combined with a further realization that may sound like an over-rationalization to some but really worked for me was that there really is nothing to be afraid of. You simply won't know. I think deeply studying Islamic mysticism helped here as well. If I have any anxiety remaining about death it's more due to having left unfinished business, that and all my crap all over the place but getting rid of it in preparation with my big move is helping matters there.

Early Sufis used to make a mantra of the word "death"


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 3:57 PM
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I didn't know they had mantras. So, Sufi is basically Islam and Buddhism combined?

"What is the sound of one hand clapping and what did the guy steal?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:03 PM
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76, well, they don't call it that* but I'm taking "mantra" as an English word here and it's effectively the same thing.

*(Dhikr which mean both mentioning and remembering. Usually it's one of the names of God.).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:06 PM
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when a friend's husband died in a freak accident in the prime of his life, leaving behind 2 kids younger than mine, all of my anxiety was on the survivors' side - it was all about the idea of my partnership with AB being severed (on either side) rather than nothingness or whatever.

Oh, I have quite a lot of anxiety about the survivor side, too. Abandoning the kids, not knowing how they turn out. Being abandoned by Jammies. We're not even going to entertain the sentence about something happening to the kids.

For my own death, it's not the abyss that I find terrifying, exactly, so much as the idea that my life would be over and I don't want to be over.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:06 PM
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The Day of the Dead parade is one of the highlights of our social season here at the 'zoo. Maybe some of you folks should come and dance the anxiety away. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSQvbNdIFfM

(I'm on the board of the outfit that is in charge of the thing, but you guys have several months before I start banging the drum for an Unfogged float in the parade.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:11 PM
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A great thing about getting old is that you really get over the accomplishing-nothing thing. Everything I know about accomplishment I learned from Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia:

When I was just a little young boy,
Papa said "Son, you'll never get far,
I'll tell you the reason if you want to know,
'cause child of mine, there isn't really very far to go"


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:14 PM
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and it's no wonder your reason goes bad - jelly roll will drive you stone mad


Posted by: There's This Too | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:17 PM
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80 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:23 PM
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Everything I know about accomplishment I learned from Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia:

I recently listened to Norman and Nancy Blake performing "Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel" which seems on-topic for the limits of ambition (and, heck, no excuse is needed to recommend it).

The public schools and the highways
are causing quite an alarm
Get a country boy educated just a little
and he won't work on the farm

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:29 PM
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I find the idea of death-nothingness peaceful - "From too much love of living" - but am afraid of the suffering, mine and my family's. The immutable past is some comfort, when I have a perspective other than everything I did wrong.

Really awful will be collisions between maximal-medicine parts of the family and (a) other parts (b) money (c) unfixable problems.

I was an aide in a nursing home in my teens.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:34 PM
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I'm with Togolosh in 7: Propofol on a few occasions has convinced me that being dead is not a problem. The dying part might be nasty tho'. so I'm prepared to shorten that part.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:36 PM
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I experienced a period of fairly intense death anxiety about 7-8 years ago, but it hasn't bothered me much since then (knocks on wood).

My grandparents all lived healthily into their 90s except for 1 grandfather who simply stopped eating and died more or less of starvation in what I think was his late 60s. So I guess I've got genetics going for me unless I succumb to the same "OK, I'm done now" instinct that got 1 out of 4.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 4:40 PM
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People on their deathbeds are always like, "I wish I hadn't worked so hard". This may be less useful than we make it out to be. People in Saskatoon are like "I wish I had a warmer coat" but that doesn't teach me anything about living in LA.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:20 PM
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I'm not afraid of death per se particularly. My fear is Alzheimer's because holy shit is that horrible. But if I could go out in a sweet way like gunned down in the snow or flaming viking ship it would be awesome and substantially make up for a mostly wasted life.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:26 PM
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Why not be gunned down on a flaming Viking ship. I don't see what the snow adds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:28 PM
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||
Not death anxiety but impostor syndrome... I just signed an offer letter. Pending completion of a background check, I'll be a productive member of society again as of May 4.
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:34 PM
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88.first and second are basically me, but actually, Alz is just fucking awful for everyone around you, mostly, so even that could be worse. It'll be terrible for my loved ones, but I won't know the difference. They can stick me in a home that feeds me sugary crap and drugs me to contentedness.

NickS in 33, I think that fear of infirmity/decline is probably not gendered. As I understand things, though, people who become disabled, even severely, return to their baseline level of contentedness/happiness whatever over time (assuming you don't get hit with a series of debilitating strokes or something). It seems a little thoughtless to suggest that many, many people whose lives are mostly fine are living the stuff of your nightmares.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:41 PM
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90: Congrats!!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:41 PM
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Again?

I mean, what ydnew said.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:43 PM
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Congrats, Dupree's father notwithstanding.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:48 PM
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90 Congratulations!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:49 PM
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|| Honestly, how much difference does a coach make in the NHL? |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:50 PM
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You know what makes you feel old? A blog you've been reading for >10 years references a story and it's by someone from your class in high school and he's blogging for WaPo. When the hell did we become real people?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:50 PM
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90: Woo, Josh, hook 'em.

On the OP question, I'm with togolosh and biohazard.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:51 PM
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THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, AND HIS NAME IS DEATH.

AND THERE IS ONLY ONE THING WE SAY TO DEATH:

"NOT TODAY."


Posted by: OPINIONATED SYRIO FOREL | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:57 PM
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I want to live long enough to feel like I've helped set the boys up in adulthood. It would be good for them to have someone who's been around a while and has some advice. So, their mid-twenties? Thirty? That would be nice. Not outside the realm of possibility, but I do worry quite a bit about dying before that and burdening them with grief and absence.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 5:58 PM
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90: congrats!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:07 PM
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It would be good for them to have someone who's been around a while and has some advice.

Don't worry; their mother likely has a longer life expectancy than you.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:08 PM
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Yay Josh!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:10 PM
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I don't think I'd previously seen the news in 66. Which appears to no longer be news. Still, I'm incredibly sorry to hear it.

(Next someone will link to a thread where it was previously discussed and in which I also said I was sorry to hear the news, and then I'll feel like a complete ass. Such is life.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:11 PM
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91: As my Dad gets sicker and sicker, younger than most of his friends, he is more and more bitter. This may be related to his being an alcoholic.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:14 PM
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their mother likely has a longer life expectancy than you

Much, much longer. But her recipe for success has been to be smart, unfailingly conscientious, and with an apparently infinite capacity for study and hard work. Put that all together, and you'll be fine! I might have advice that's more pertinent to my more fallible children.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:32 PM
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106: wait, have you talked about this before?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:37 PM
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About what? (and congrats)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:40 PM
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107: Hard work? No.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 6:59 PM
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You can always get a new knee

But there's only one Maltese Falcon.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:11 PM
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The Epicureans point out that we were already non-existent for an infinite amount of time before we were born. Does that actually comfort anyone?

I pretend that it does. Been there, done that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:15 PM
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I have some death anxiety, but it is mostly concerned with not wanting to die in a stupid preventable way (please, not splattered out on the shoulder of the beltway!). This is probably related to my more general worry that I'm living my life all wrong and will never be able to do all the things I want to do.

I do find it reassuring that, however feckless I am as a person, at a cellular level my body will fight to the bitter end to stay alive.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:19 PM
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Malt, Milton, and Mepicureanism. Thems the choices.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:20 PM
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Anyway, liquor works against all types of anxiety except fear of alcoholism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:25 PM
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This guy is figuratively pouring water on my burning viking ship idea. I guess I could still aspire to a burial mound.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:29 PM
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Oh, and congrats Josh. And to Ogged for having a wife who is unfailingly conscientious and has an infinite capacity for hard work between the sheets.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:31 PM
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I'm not afraid of death per se particularly. My fear is Alzheimer's because holy shit is that horrible. But if I could go out in a sweet way like gunned down in the snow or flaming viking ship

Right? I've never worried much about it. At least it doesn't feel that way. The job related side effects I've noticed are a lot of violent nightmares and a relaxed hypervigilance but the death thing doesn't really occur to me much in my waking hours.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:38 PM
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I guess I could still aspire to a burial mound

I admire the consistency of your respect for the rule of law. But dude, even in an elderly, decrepit state, you could find fifty undocumented guys within an easy walk who would be happy to put you in a boat and shoot flaming arrows into it. And if your charred body parts wash ashore...what could be more metal?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:43 PM
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Congrats Josh.

It seems a little thoughtless to suggest that many, many people whose lives are mostly fine are living the stuff of your nightmares.

That is a good, and important reminder, but that wasn't the point I was making (I think). I don't think disability has to be, "the stuff of nightmares" for it be both something that people avoid thinking about and even (for some people) for it to be easier to think about death than disability.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 7:45 PM
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Thanks, y'all! I still don't entirely believe it.

108: about expecting to die before you're 70. Unless I'm completely misreading you.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 8:18 PM
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I had really intense death anxiety as a kid and through my teens and early twenties. It disappeared instantly when my dad died, and hasn't come back since.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 8:22 PM
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about expecting to die before you're 70

Aha. Well, I did have cancer in my early thirties, and folks on my father's side of the family tend to die before (sometimes well before) 70, so I don't take making it to 70 as a given.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 8:28 PM
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Piling on with the Josh-congrats. The idea of regular employment is a pleasant one to imagine.

On the OP, well. I grew up thinking about death a lot of the time, thanks in no small part to my mom being a forensic pathologist. Death talk was always in the air. Every time the phone rang late at night, I'd think, who died? Someone I know? (I don't know that my siblings had the same thoughts, though, so maybe I have a more morbid streak than they do). Mostly I'm with ogged in 100—now that I have kids, I don't want to leave them.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 8:35 PM
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this, of course, is what I'd like done with my body if no-one has a beetle drawer and a use for my skeleton. There's an unused tower in the nearby Olmstead park that I think would be perfect. (There would be minor riots if we tried. The people this really squicks are really, really disgusted.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 8:59 PM
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Yes, congrats to Josh!

I didn't worry about death much until I got diagnosed with a potentially scary health problem in my mid-20s. Then I spent several years, oh hell probably at least a decade, terrified about it. That fear has mellowed quite a bit. I've thought about trying Theravada death contemplation practice, but then again it sounds intense and depressing.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 10:23 PM
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Googling "sky burial legality US" (I'm looking into options) brings you to this truly weird site which just gets weirder the more I look at it. At first I thought it was just a mildly eccentric religion, then I thought it was a joke, now I think it might be some kind of horrifying serial killer death cult like Carcossa in True Detective. Anyone else out there familiar with the Ethicans?


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 10:41 PM
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124: The water tower at Volunteer Park? I think I'd like it less if there were decomposing bodies around, but I suppose they could use the top for sky burial.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 10:51 PM
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127 before seeing 126. Delayed on account of extra-innings Giants game.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 10:52 PM
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One of the things you can find if you click through (the most graphic, but maybe the least weird thing) are pictures that are purportedly of vultures eating human remains at a genuine sky burial in Tibet. Apparently, the Tibetans take the remains of the deceased and then mix in flour (?? this is a turnoff) as part of the ritual before leaving a pile of remains out for the vultures. It's not just leaving your corpse on top of a big mountain rock and waiting for vultures to come eat you like I thought. Instead there's a lot of prep work and piling up of bones and your carcass into a mushy pile, the Tibetans then leave the flour-mixed human carcass mushy pile on the mountain rock, and wait for the vultures to come.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 10:55 PM
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Like a raw-foodist Beef Wellington?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 10:58 PM
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Vultures gotta have their gluten.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 11:05 PM
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My grandfather took some photos of sky burials when he was in that area in the 1920s. I don't know if he was actually in Tibet proper, or just in the Sikkim/Nepal/Bhutan sort of area. I found the photos grimly fascinating when I first saw them as a teenager.

He certainly took some photos of the Tibetan border.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 11:28 PM
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Resomation sounds very tidy to me. I think I will do it on my pets when their times come, and see how I feel about it.


Posted by: Virgalicious | Link to this comment | 04-16-15 11:32 PM
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127: Yep. And the bodies would be sinking down inside it, like the middle stanzas of _Renascence_. Requires a lot of sawdust, but no flour. Hulls, maybe.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 12:31 AM
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Don't the Parsees do sky burial? But there's not enough vultures in India to consume the bodies.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:23 AM
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Ask Freddy Mercury.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:27 AM
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Reaching all the way back to 11 without having caught up on the thread: Yes to 11.1, I find the thought quite comforting. There was nothing horrible about not existing before I was born and I see no reason that it ought to be horrible after I die. I'm pretty down with the Stoics generally. I think they got a lot of stuff right.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 5:38 AM
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135: There used to be. They were nearly all killed off by the NSAID diclofenac accumulating in the livers of livestock.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 5:39 AM
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What's why I switched my cattle to heroin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 5:45 AM
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And of course in scrolling down I turned Epicureans into Stoics. Oh well. On the points where they agreed they were pretty much spot-on as far as I can tell.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 5:48 AM
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And since we're still on topic - Just 6 months ago the first girl I ever kissed died suddenly of liver cancer. She'd been pregnant and the cancer symptoms had been masked by pregnancy effects, so by the time the cancer was discovered she had 6 weeks to live. Her husband is now left with a newborn to raise alone. It's been a bit of a wake-up call, and is probably subconsciously driving my decision to start dating again and generally have more fun.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 5:53 AM
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Sort of on topic: There's been the usual spring spate of stories about dead bodies in the rivers. It kind of puts me off kayaking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 5:55 AM
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I should have maybe hit refresh before that last one. That's awful for them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 5:56 AM
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On Alzheimer's: the three grandparents who I've watched deal with Alzheimer's/dementia have all been cheerful, content Alzheimer's patients. One was always a cheerful, content person, one (who is not a blood relative) got put on antidepressants (which she probably would have benefited from pre-Alzheimers), and one seems to have found relief from anxiety and worry, and seems notably happier than ever. This has left me with a not-too-bad impression of growing senile. Or at least the impression that the emotional state that accompanies the loss is what determines whether it's awful or pleasant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:00 AM
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Congrat's to Josh!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:00 AM
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But her recipe for success has been to be smart, unfailingly conscientious, and with an apparently infinite capacity for study and hard work. Put that all together, and you'll be fine!

I really like Ogged's wife.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:01 AM
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Senility may be enjoyable, but it does create difficulties for those around you. Unless you were blackmailing them or something.


Posted by: Miby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:02 AM
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Oh god, 141 is awful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:04 AM
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Senility may be enjoyable, but it does create difficulties for those around you. Unless you were blackmailing them or something.

They've all been wealthy enough to afford not to place too much burden on those around them. I mean, definitely some burden, and the sadness of watching someone deteriorate. But the sheer experience of having dementia hasn't seemed too bad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:07 AM
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My grandfather is 101, and has undergone a fairly rapid decline in the past 3 or 4 months. A year ago, he was very hale and hearty.

100:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/mcg_photo/2Z8ujM
https://www.flickr.com/gp/mcg_photo/7i9LDJ

versus:

https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfa1/t31.0-8/11096467_10101119799010969_5028421888905017015_o.jpg

Now he looks quite frail, and has been touch and go a couple of times. It's quite distressing to see. Not so much because it's hard watching people age, but because he's just never been that kind of old person. I don't think he likes the change at all, and it's depressing him.

Thankfully, he seems to be on the mend, and is looking much more physical robust: he can climb the stairs unaided again, and he's much less zoned out. But I think we all expected he just wouldn't decline, as he'd made it to 100, in the sort of physical state a lot of people in their 70s would be very happy with.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:13 AM
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the three grandparents who I've watched deal with Alzheimer's/dementia have all been cheerful, content Alzheimer's patients

Any day now, I'll be heading to Florida for my grandmother's funeral; she has been in hospice for several months and stopped eating altogether a week ago. She was definitely not a cheerful, contented dementia patient, but unpredictably combative and angrily miserable. She just wants to die, and it appears to be finally, mercifully (for everybody involved) approaching.

My grandfather on the other side and my father-in-law, on the other hand, were/are both pretty cheerful and chatty. Still exhausting for their caregivers, of course, but it at least allowed my grandfather to die at home (and my f-i-l hasn't required institutional care yet, anyhow). Much, much better if you go that path.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:20 AM
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Last time I was home, my mother was convinced that someone was sneaking into the house every night and cutting up her clothes. Oddly enough, this didn't seem to frighen her; she seemed to find it annoying. At breakfast every morning, she'd annouce that all her clothes were ruined and she'd need to go shopping later. (This was after she was dressed for the day. In her clothes.) She was very pleasant early, more pleasant than before she got sick, but now she's frequently paranoid and angry, which I imagine probably isn't that great for her, but she recovers and doesn't know she was just terribly upset and can be convinced to watch a Disney cartoon and eat chocolates.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:36 AM
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When my mother's father had Alzheimer's (which was roughly when I was 7-10), he consistently recognized me and interacted with me more or less exactly how he always had, but he literally had no idea who my mother was and, feeling like she was a complete stranger, didn't really want her around. She was irrationally furious about this, incredibly if perhaps understandably, took it out on me. And took it out on him to some extent I guess, in that we didn't visit him much at all, although I guess arguably that was somewhat in line with what he wanted since he didn't want my mother around. But mostly it was intended to punish him (and me), and we would get calls from the staff at the center asking why no one ever visited and letting us know that he really wanted visitors (and, specifically, that he really wanted to go get ice cream with me), which made me feel incredibly sad. He also wouldn't stop aggressively sexually harassing all his nurses. Those are most of the things I remember. All in all, not fun at all.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:43 AM
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100, in the sort of physical state a lot of people in their 70s would be very happy with

He looks so upright in that standing photo. Amazing. Three of my wife's grandparents lived into their mid-90s, and the grandmothers in particular seemed completely fit until the end. But my wife warned me that at that age general fitness doesn't mean so much, because any little thing can bring the end.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:49 AM
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A couple of years ago, I posted in a panic about my mother having started calling the police repeatedly about delusions that people were breaking into her house and engaging in mischief, and that they were sabotaging her car and her bicycle in ways that could kill her. I was seriously worried that this was the beginning of a sharp decline, and that she wasn't going to be able to live on her own anymore, but she seems to have stabilized and is still pretty functional. She still believes some wacky things, but has stopped calling the police over them.


Posted by: Franklin Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:52 AM
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As I have mentioned in the past, my mother's recent dalliance with wildly impulsive decisions like marrying her safari guide did nothing to assuage pre-existing concerns I had about her cognitive function. But she generally seems to be much better as far as memory and so on when she is sleeping well and not working as much, and the safari guide has (for now) fled back to Africa, so maybe everything will work itself out.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:55 AM
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I was curious, but thought it rude to ask. Thanks for the update.


Posted by: Miby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:59 AM
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156: May I ask -- what was he fleeing from?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:59 AM
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For a while my grandfather was asking when he was going back home [to the house he lived in in the early 50s], and when the other [his son] was coming back and replacing the impostor. That's all stopped as his health has improved again, though. So how bad his dementia is bothering him is definitely a function of his physical well-being and stress.

re: 154

Sure, a year ago he could have walked for a good while, unaided. We'd go to the park for the afternoon, for example, and as long as he got to sit down regularly, he was fine. Less steady, maybe, than a few years back, but still no need for a stick.

Now he is back to walking unaided, but he can't walk any distance, and is taken out in a wheelchair if he was to walk more than, just around the house, or from the house to the car.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 7:59 AM
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158: This country, loneliness, dependency, a social life revolving around things not-very-active seventy-somethings enjoy.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:01 AM
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(which was roughly when I was 7-10), he consistently recognized me and interacted with me more or less exactly how he always had

My dad's dementia, which was not diagnosed as Alzheimers as all of the symptoms were not present, and he would have intervals of good short-term memory, included recognizing my son who was about that age even at the very end.

I spent the weekend with my mother for her 97th. We, or at least I spent every minute with pictures and notes: "Who are these people?" "What's going on here?" "How did something-or-other happen?"

Expecting and getting lucid answers to these questions is a miracle, and I intend to make the most of it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:03 AM
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It's pretty damn frustrating that my grandmother became too senile to answer questions in the 6-12 months leading up to all the revelations about my grandfather.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:07 AM
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160: So -- he just didn't have what it takes to pull himself up by his penis.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:12 AM
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a social life revolving around things not-very-active seventy-somethings enjoy

Well, having sex with people 40 years younger than himself is very wrong.


Posted by: Miby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:14 AM
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My grandparents died at 33, 38, 76, and 82.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:20 AM
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Did the couples match up, or were there two long-term widow/ers?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:23 AM
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Mine at 42, 61, 85 and still going at 97. (Plus the medicated step-grandmother who lived to about 90, mentioned above.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:23 AM
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My grandfather recently had a series of mini-strokes, which hit over my school's Winter Break, so I stayed with my grandma while gramps did in-patient stroke rehab (which seemed really excellent: they had him doing a lots of practical tasks, like putting clothes away but often with more of a logic-puzzle/memory-game feel, like "organize a trip to downtown Chicago stopping at these 7 places; oh wait now you have to detour to pick someone up in Evanston, etc.").

The most depressing part: due to his memory loss, we kept having to re-explain that he has cancer.

"I have cancer?!"

"Yeah. But hey, for the time being you're all done with the treatment, so at least you forgot about that shitty part!"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:24 AM
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Amazingly, I think I've told identifiable stories about all of them. 42 and 85 are the couple who wrote the travel memoir that I blogged last summer, and 42 is also the BRCA inheritance. 61 is the identity change and crazy revelation. 90 is the mean NYC bitch who liked to tell my mom that I needed to start dieting, in front of me. And 97 is the perennial Grandma Stories who also campaigned for gay rights and is difficult and, yes, opinionated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:26 AM
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Both gradnfathers died in their mid-to-late 70s (with dementia). Both grandmothers lived in early 90s, sharp as tacks. My father died at 86. My mother -- one of the shortest lived of her siblings -- died a month short of 81.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:30 AM
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166 -- Matched up, women at the extremes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:33 AM
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I think all 4 of my grandparents were born in 1918 or 1919. So let's subtract...

60 (cancer)
84 (old age)
94 (old age)
96+?

Looks good for me, although it would be nice if the cancerous organ in question were one I don't possess.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:33 AM
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Infection from surgery; chronic disease following the Spanish influenza; bone cancer possibly resulting from having observed above-ground nuclear tests while in the Army; leapt from 15th story window.

No lessons here.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:37 AM
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170: My mother's mother died in her 80's of stomach cancer. Her paternal grandmother also died in the sixties of cancer when she was in her nineties. My Dad's father made it to 82. He'd had colon cancer, but what he died from was being too weak to recover from the surgery and maybe a staph infection. His mother made it to 89. My mother's grandfather died at 72, her father died at 66 (his second stroke), and her brother died at 72. But all those men smoked. As did m grandmother who had emphysema but made it into her 80's.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 8:59 AM
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159: I think I'd be really happy to be as fit as your grandfather was at 95.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 9:05 AM
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One of my co-workers (in a small office) suffered an aortic dissection a couple of weeks ago. He's in his early 40s, and it's both scary and weirdly mysterious.

It's rare, and it isn't clear what causes it, or how you could anticipate or prevent it.

He survived, but it's going to be a long recovery.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 9:08 AM
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Yikes. Cases like that aren't typically survivable.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 9:14 AM
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Certain unusually tall men with a family history of dissection are chilled to hear that, NickS! I'm happy and amazed that he's alive.

(Patients with Marfans or similar can get echocardiograms every year or six months, and when the aorta gets to a certain size they replace it. If it's an out of the blue dissection, oy, that's hard to stop.)


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 9:18 AM
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You don't look Marfany to me, bro.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 9:21 AM
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You love checking out my marfany, don't you.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 10:22 AM
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181

Supermarfanic fellatio power


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 10:24 AM
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Remember how polite the blog was before Ogged returned? When I reigned, we had great respect for my sensibilities.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 10:31 AM
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I'm with Charley in 80 - Old enough to be past worrying about insufficient past accomplishments. However, since I retired last year I have been having serious serious yolo/Epicurean(?) moments where a sense if impending mortality will lead me to have the more expensive glass of wine (and then another) or to get the more expensive meal. Why not? Time is running out and you don't know when the infirmities will hit. This could lead to problems I suppose. Feh.


Posted by: OutOfTheBlue | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 12:42 PM
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And my mother just called to inform me that her optometrist substituted cheap, inferior eyeglass frames for the expensive frames she had brought in to have lenses put into, and they were terribly rude to her when she complained about the theft. Oy.


Posted by: Franklin Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 12:58 PM
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Remember - each day the potential long term consequences of your actions are fewer than the day before.

I think this works as a response to both 183 and 184.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:37 PM
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I can pin it down to a two-month period (April-May) in a particular year. I strongly suspect it was a Saturday. But I can't do any better than that. Oh, and that's only if "losing virginity" means intercourse. If oral sex counts, then it would have been some time in the prior summer or early fall.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:38 PM
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Hmm. I think I may have posted 186 in the wrong thread.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:39 PM
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184: don't the frames have a brand name inscribed on them?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:41 PM
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Nevermind 188. I know this is not a rational conversation. Sorry. That's tough to deal with.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:42 PM
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They were second-hand. She found the frames in a box of second-hand glasses somewhere, and brought them into the optometrist to have new lenses put in. She has no evidence whatsoever of the nature of the frames she brought in, or whether they were different from the frames she got back with new lenses in them.

Obviously, I think she's delusional -- she liked the frames when she first saw them, liked them less when they came back, and convinced herself they'd been switched.


Posted by: Franklin Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:44 PM
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191

186 to 127.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:46 PM
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192

How did I miss this thread about the one thought I have at all times?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 1:49 PM
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193

192: Too busy thinking about death, to notice thread on death?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:00 PM
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194

You thought it was about the band Death and not the darkness that follows us through every day of our lives?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:13 PM
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Or this other band also called Death?

SPIRIT!
CRUSHERRRRRR!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:20 PM
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196

Maybe he thought it was about noted Cambridge black holes expert (and presumptive future world emperor unless the Flash stops him) Doctor Peter D'Eath.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:20 PM
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Or the well-respected adman and fast bowler Death Bredon.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:23 PM
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Does he wear a Harlequin costume? And collect incunabula?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:24 PM
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Man, can you imagine if Death Bredon and Peter D'Eath got married? Peter Bredon!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:25 PM
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198: I believe that's his frightful cousin.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:33 PM
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Than whom he is handsomer and less rabbity-looking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 2:40 PM
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202

I don't suppose anybody here knows my phone backup password? It's decided that just this one time, fuck fingerprints.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 3:07 PM
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202: Find somebody else who has a working iPhone. Cut off their finger and steal their phone (don't forget to swap out the SIM card!). You might want to pickle the finger to preserve it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 3:19 PM
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I have an Android phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 3:31 PM
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Have you tried "Password"? It's probably that.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 3:31 PM
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192: I kept thinking you'd surely show up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 3:50 PM
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The fingerprint thing started working again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 4:01 PM
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Thank god.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 4:45 PM
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How did I miss this thread about the one thought I have at all times?

Because you listen to opera, which is full of death in prettier form than a comment thread?

Anyway, dementia, ugh. My mom has vascular dementia but is otherwise just fine, so it's weird—sometimes she seems totally together, and I have to remind myself that her short-term memory is totally shot. Now that's she's in a place ("memory-care facility") near my sisters, her anxiety has abated, but she still would prefer death. Ever the good Catholic girl, she wouldn't take matters into her own hands, so she'll probably be cursed by living for another 15 years.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 4:46 PM
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Haven't read Andrew W.K.'s timely column on this very subject, but here he is and he's often very good. Party on!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 4:51 PM
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Hmm.

Grandparents:
(86) Congestive heart failure
(83) Congestive heart failure
(65) Congestive heart failure
(62) Colon cancer

Recently had the 3 year anniversary of my saintly @ist friend's death. Most people seem to agree with me that the last 3 years of Mpls. radical scene stuff would have been much different and much better if he'd lived.

I've been trying to remind myself more that I should be glad to see every single person and not take them for granted. It's too easy to zone out and relegate everyone else to some dismal, Hadean melange of whispering, powerless shades.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 9:34 PM
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I guess I might as well. In order:

Maternal grandfather: 57, heart attack.
Paternal grandmother: 70, car accident.
Paternal grandfather: 70, heart attack.
Maternal grandmother: 80, car accident.
Father: 60, colon cancer.

Some interesting patterns/parallels/coincidences there. My mom is 63 and in great health, so I suspect she'll be with us for a good long while. Two of my great-grandparents (one on each side) lived into their 90s.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 10:04 PM
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This thread inspired me to rewatch All That Jazz.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-17-15 11:00 PM
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Let's compare our dead ancestors' SAT scores!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 4:00 AM
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Oh I hate that I basically entirely missed this thread. I have a fear of this thread dying!

Alongside my fear of death I have the opposite, but as a stupid sort of remedy for my fear of living and fucking absolutely everything up. When I'm just failing at everything, I sometimes use the mantra "In 200 years, nobody will remember my name." I think it comes from this terrible thing: a good friend died two years ago, and alongside my hating the universe for him being gone, there was also for a moment a quiet note of "now there is nobody who remembers [insignificant embarrassing incident.]"

I don't know why 200 years. It'll probably be sooner than that. But unless I commit a particularly spectacular genocide, 200 years seems like a sure bet.

Or maybe unfogged will become the urtext for a religion and we'll all be gods, like Livia asks of Claudius before she dies.

Unfogged is the afterlife.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 7:33 AM
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But anyway I have doubtless told the story here that once, in a social work class on psychoanalysis and religion, it came up that not everyone thought about death every day and I was truly surprised to learn it. It's only really bad once in a while, I think, and in rational moments I tell myself...well fortunately I don't give a shit about accomplishing anything, so I tell myself: if I died right now, I would do so having gotten laid a lot and having eaten a lot of really good food and having known the love of a good man or several and, in a different way, of at least two good cats, and having had very fine friends and so on and so forth. Of course I'll take no satisfaction in this after death but I also won't mind that it's all gone. That last part should solve the whole thing but it doesn't.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 7:54 AM
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When I was a kid, I was scared of dying, because dying meant going to be with Jesus and I was scared of Jesus. Why? Because:

1. Mummies are things that come out of tombs in the Middle East (knew that from an Abbott and Costello movie).
2. Jesus came out of a tomb in the Middle East.
3. Therefore, Jesus was a mummy.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 7:57 AM
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But unless I commit a particularly spectacular genocide, 200 years seems like a sure bet.

I believe you can do that if you put your mind to it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 7:58 AM
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Depending on how you die you could be remembered for centuries. You just need to make it a really good one, like, dying of an infection after being bitten by a corpse or trying to prove that someone could shoot themselves in a particular way and succeeding.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:05 AM
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215.last: if you liked "A Canticle for Liebowitz" you'll love "An Ekranoplan for Mutumbo"!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:26 AM
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219: dying during an entirely novel sexual act?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:33 AM
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Too uncertain. Go with the genocide.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:34 AM
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Too uncertain. Go with the genocide.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:34 AM
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Gemicide.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:36 AM
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But if we are as gods will there be NMM?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:36 AM
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Technology advances every day, making entirely novel sexual acts possible. So, really, if you just make sure to keep up with things you could probably manage that.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:44 AM
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I'm with Charlie and OOTB in 80 and 183. Fuck it.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:49 AM
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Somewhat off topic but not that much: when I said a while back that I thought the whole Schiavo thing was too far in the past to make a really big difference, that people had generally forgotten about it, and so on I was clearly very wrong.

I don't know what he's going to do about it if it keeps showing up, which it looks like it will, but it can't be good for him in the general election (I don't know about the primaries). We may actually get to see a Cruz Vs Clinton fight which would certainly be something.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 9:17 AM
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The conversation has moved on, but I wanted to thank the presidents for the updates. I'd been curious. Glad things aren't getting worse.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 10:01 AM
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228 should include "JRoth was clearly very right."

Honestly, you were so certain in the other direction that I began to doubt, but it appears that, for once, the American people aren't letting me down.

Yet.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 3:29 PM
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I'm not sure I'd go that far there: he's bringing it up himself to some extent, because he (almost certainly accurately) thinks it puts him in a good position to capture a lot of votes in the Republican primary. So, yet again, the American people are letting everyone down.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 3:38 PM
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It's too nice sitting on my patio listening to birds for me to worry about death. It's not nice enough to disguise my concerns about the American electorate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 3:57 PM
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I'll throw my numbers in-
Paternal grandfather- 92, heart failure/old age
Paternal grandmother- 93+
Maternal grandfather- 90, old age
Maternal grandmother- 92+ although she's mentally not too with it- thought I was her son, thinks her husband is still alive, confuses who my mom is.
Mother- 70, still working
Father- 70, retired last year

No cancer in the family except grandfather prostate, and my brother had a thyroid tumor removed but recent reports suggest a lot of people have those going undetected and they never cause problems.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 4:08 PM
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Sp sounds like he's winning


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 4:53 PM
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SPouse had/has both grandmothers into their 90s as well. Our kids are going to live to 150.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 5:07 PM
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233 to 214.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 5:17 PM
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Wow, it just occurred to me that descendants who want to find out more about us might end up looking here to read what we've written, if they're aware of it (as some of your kids are, mine are still too young to get it- today one kid asked, "Why do you always go to the same sites?")


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 6:25 PM
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Descendants?! Braggart.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 6:28 PM
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Sex ed is in the other thread.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 6:32 PM
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I don't have death anxiety, (partly because of the feeling Megan's outlined) except for worry over those I'll leave. But very occasionally, someone says something that makes me think, "what, that can't be possible" and then I wonder if my lack of anxiety is just denial of a deep anxiety. LB's considering how many years she may have left was one of those moments. I had not thought of LB as finite. And suddenly today on the news, the early death of a colleague. My reaction is still, "oh, so it's like that, is it?" More and more I'm afraid that this apparent acceptance masks a terror yet to come.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 6:44 PM
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Oh, me.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 6:45 PM
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"Why do you always go to the same sites?"

"Well, when a man and a cam-girl love each other very much..."


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 6:48 PM
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I sometimes attribute my lack of death anxiety to spending too much time thinking about the nothingness that existed before, and will exist after, the span of my consciousness, and about ship-of-Theseus-style paradoxes, but it was probably overdetermined.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 7:03 PM
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Paternal grandmother (80): stroke, cerebral aneurysm
Paternal great-grandmother (94): complications due to stroke, cerebral aneurysm.
Paternal grandfather (77): aortic dissection (aneurysm)
Maternal parents are alive at 87 and 82.

Physically I favor my father's side of the family so strongly I could be my grandmother's clone, so I sometimes wonder if that includes the integrity of the circulatory system...


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 7:26 PM
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|| Has anyone watched Wolf Hall? Is it any good? |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:30 PM
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Whatever. I could go any day now, shoulda gone long ago, really should clean up this room.

Mother died six feet away from me, six feet from where I am now. You know, bad heart, bad dialysis the night before but we found her laying on her face next to the bed and if she fell that way she wouldn't have had the strength to get her very very fragile chest off the floor so I think slow suffocation. Everybody told me heart attack. Maybe so. 73 or something

Dad heart attack at 56.

Paternal grandfather tuberculosis 61
Paternal grandmother don't know don't know 65 maybe
Maternal grandfather whatever old age 90
Maternal grandmother faded out at 98.

I fear hell a little bit. I fear suffering and being a burden a whole lot more.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-18-15 8:52 PM
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245. I LOVE IT. I've only watched through episode 2, but I think it's great. (N.b., I read and loved both of the Mantel novels. I've heard it's hard to follow if you haven't read the books, but I think I remember you saying that you had?) The screenwriter did a great job of picking a thread out of the novel and following that thread -- it's a pretty coherent standalone work, and it's respectful to the source material. Mark Rylance is an unexpected choice for Thomas Cromwell, and he's much more handsome than I pictured Cromwell to be, but he's terrific.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 12:24 AM
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245 Seconding jms. It's great. Rylance is indeed terrific, a very understated performance which has really grown on me. Well worth catching.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 7:04 AM
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