The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Let Talk Of Mortality Die …
April 23, 2009, 7:14 am
Filed under: Comment

Photo: Daily Mail

One of the things that really upsets me is when I hear an elderly person talk with the acknowledgement their ‘time’ is coming to an end.

They don’t say it in a morbid way – just as a matter of fact.

Of course I understand why – I’m not totally stupid – but it still bothers me. A lot.

Now whilst most of you will think I’m referring to my Mum, you’re wrong.

Well, wrongish.

Recently I watched a documentary about a 78 year old woman who was building a modern house.

Whilst she fully intended to live in it, her purpose was more to leave a legacy for her children than to create something new for herself.

Now the house she was building was to have a copper roof ….

The thing with copper is that over time – especially when exposed to the elements – its colour changes,

After a few years it develops into various shades of brown and then a few years after that, it kind of goes a weird aqua colour.

I’m not doing it justice because it’s all quite beautiful … however this woman hated the idea of a ‘greeny-blue’ roof.

The host of the show said,

“Yes but you’ve got a lot of years of the colours you do like before that happens.”

To which she looked at him and replied,

“True, and I probably won’t even be here to see it by then.”

Now of course she’s being realistic but I find it so bloody sad – and yet I can’t really work out why it bothers me so much.

Well actually I can … which goes back to my Mum.

Even though my Mum is a very healthy 76, the fact is she’s 76.

To make it worse [for me], every now and then – when I talk about things in the future – she mentions, “If I’m still around then”.

Again, she’s not saying it to be morbid – far from it – but the fact she says it, reminds me of her mortality and the thing is, interms of close biological family [ie: not including Jill] my Mum is pretty much all I have got left.

Sure I have other ‘biological family’, but apart from my Aunt – Mum’s older sister – who I adore, I don’t really care much about the rest of them [the ones I did, have all died – how’s that for unfair] … so being reminded Mum won’t be around forever is quite hard to accept even though a lot of her family have a habit of getting to 3 figures!

I appreciate the practicality of it all – and I did say how talking about death is healthy – but it still doesn’t make it easy.

On top of all this is the fact that years ago I met a brilliant planner – Peter Stickels – who said something that has stuck with me …

“If you can’t feasibly double your age, you have to accept you’re heading towards the final phases of your life.”

OK so that is incredibly depressing [especially for him as he was 56 at the time] but the thing is that whilst I’m relatively young at 38, the fact the people around me are talking about their mortality is making me think about mine.

This is so not coming out properly … but then to be fair, I don’t know what the hell I’m trying to say.

So instead of talking myself round in circles, I’m going to shut up and tell Mum I know how important it is to live a full and varied life and that I love her very, very, very much!

18 Comments so far
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best thing me and my brother did was convince our father to sell that appartment…nice that he wanted us to have it, but a) would have ended in fight between us b) love montenegro but to live there, nah…c) made a fucking killing..russians..ha!

common thing with lots of immigrans, building stuff with their kids in mind not knowing /wanting to acknowlegde the kids got roots elsewhere..

a hug is indeed worth more from the oldies while they are still alive than some bricks that u inherit.

Comment by niko

well fuck me id of lost 10k.

this post is a big surprise rob but you have nothing to worry about where mrs c is concerned. shell outlive us all and looks younger than all of us put together. has she got a portrait in the attic?

dont know where this has come from but youre not lulling me into a false sense of security but fair dues, you resisted being a total prick to me but for how fucking long? another metaphorical 10k on it being no more than another 24 peaceful fucking hours.

ps not so fast this time are you peggy? 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

i don’t fucking believe it. niko. haven’t you fuckers got anything better to do with your lives i know i have but i dont want campbell to feel lonely

Comment by andy@cynic

i m glad you like my present andy 🙂

Comment by peggy

niko fucking stole it

Comment by andy@cynic

“niko fucking stole it” 🙂 brings back memories that..

Comment by niko

don t be sad. he just borrowed it. he ll give it back to you next time. i m sure. and it will be even twice as nice by then : )

Comment by peggy

I don’t really know what to make of this post but I like it when you show your other side off.

Comment by Pete

Could you make out your cheque for US$10k to Human_2 please Andy.

Actually, wait 24 hours, I think you may find your nostradamus gene is alive and well, ha!

Comment by Rob

I know exactly what you’re trying to say. My grandmother is 94 and mad she has to stay in a nursing home till her broken hip heals up enough for her to go back to her apartment where she lives alone! She is sharp and sassy. That’s why I need to sell my little shop and live that full and varied life! I’m 53…on the downhill side. Damn!!

Comment by adchick

Hello lovely Adchick …

To be honest I don’t know what this post was trying to say, but if you read it as ‘live a full life’ then that sounds good enough to me.

Funny how I know more ‘elderly’ people who embrace risks, challenges and adventure than young.

Sure not everyone is like this and their definition of these attributes might be tame in comparisson to the more youthful generations view – but that doesn’t mean it’s any less challenging for them [interms of personal perspective] and yet they step up time and time again.

I’d rather my planners were more like elderly people who embrace breadth of life experiences and views than simply being a lifelong advertising ‘professional’.

Comment by Rob

I don’t agree with you Peter, I think it has been fairly obvious to all that Robert is a sensitive chap. His futile attempt to project an image of rabid rantter has not fooled anybody with the exception of maybe you.

You may not feel this post had any meaning Robert but I enjoyed it, though my view of birthdays has been irrevocably changed.

Comment by Lee Hill


Comment by Rob

am i gonna get my explanation or do i need to wait 24 hrs..’cause otherwise i am going to sleep..

Comment by niko

wow – three posts about death from you, age and i in as many days. what the hell??

rob, it’s nice to hear about stuff that upsets you, without it being a value judgement, or something that some dickhead has done. i think it’s ok to be upset at not being able to face others’ mortality in the way that they do. that’s called being human, i think.

interestingly, i think there’s a certain psychological security that comes with acknowledging the finite. when you’re younger, the gaping chasm of ‘the rest of your life’ i guess can be overwhelming. whereas, if you know you’re on a deadline (ooh, pun. ouch), you develop the confidence to just streamline. things come into focus and it’s much easier to be bold with nothing to lose.

your mum is ace and i’m sure that she knows how much you love her. 🙂

Comment by lauren

The circle of life. Rob Mum requested that song be played at her funeral and it says it all, it happens to us all, its life but its also bloody horrible. Dad is also 76 and also says similar things you just have to live for NOW.

Rob when I read this post my main thought was “its time Rob had a family, he is ready”.

Nik x

Comment by BTBB

Wait until you have kids. That’s when the subject of mortality becomes even more tricky.

Comment by Marcus

For all Rob’s ranting this post is far more representative of who he really is and if that comes out as an insult or a backhanded compliment that’s a mistake because it’s great and what helped me remember emotions come first.

Now I’ve been nice, can we not talk about him being a Dad. I know he’d be brilliant but think of poor Jill’s credibility. Hasn’t she suffered enough agreeing to be his wife? 🙂

Comment by Bazza

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