According to author Robert McCrum, in his new book Every Third Thought, every third thought of those of us over 65 is about death.
I have never seen death mentioned in a blog post (apart from in the context of personal bereavement), and thinking about it now, that seems strange. After all, life and death are the two basics we all have in common. We are alive, and we are going to die.
I fall into McCrum's age bracket, and yes. I think about death a lot. And it's not a prospect I relish. I feel like Woody Allen, who famously said that he wasn't afraid of death; he just didn't want to be around when it happened. I think I feel the same. I do have a fragile faith, but will it stand up to this final challenge? Quite possibly not. I regularly read the late great Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's book, Life After Death, because I find it comforting. She was a doctor who worked all her life with dying people, and she had no doubt at all that there is a (good) life after death. Am I pathetic? Quite possibly.
And yet it is hard to imagine a futureless ( for me) world. I remember laying out the body of a twenty-two-year-old girl. This was terribly sad, as these things alway are. But what I found especially poignant was that she had painted her toenails (blue). She knew she was going to die, and she was very frightened, but those sky blue toenails were like a small fragment of hope; a little stake in a future which wasn't to be.
And I can understand that.