Death, the Stalker


We are getting on in years. Nothing new in that. But sometimes the aches and pains, so prevalent in advanced age, ebb to a bearable level and we feel on top of the world. Dying is as far away from our mind as the next galaxy.  We are getting comfortable.

Then, all of a sudden, we hear the news that the nice neighbour, who is always cheerful, who always has a kind word and a humorous  turn of phrase had a “massive” heart attack.  Why is it always massive? What is wrong with those heart attacks? Can’t they be weaklings?

The good neighbour had just been to the doctor for a prescription. Just a routine visit with a few pleasantries exchanged like it happened to us the other day when the doctor  said, “Mrs H. I want to keep you pain free till you’re ninety-five and then you can fall asleep.”

Nice chap this doctor. But if he said this to our always helpful neighbour he would have been surprised to hear on the evening news, that the very patient, he could have promised a long life, caused his car to crash into a tree because he had a “massive” heart attack.

What the doctor did not know, and could not know, was “Death” is independent from our wisdom and our doings.  At any given time he approaches our mortal body and helps to release the soul. At least that is what I learnt from reading the book “The Book Thief”, which has also been made into a film.

Here “Death” explains his doings and he seems quite a gentleman but not really understanding humans. Only when he meets a really good person he reflects on what it must be to be alive. The story is set in Germany during WWII , a horror scenario in itself.  A few times I got teary  during the film., because I recognised some of the scenarios. Normally, “Death” explains, he would go to the person in question but during war-time people are  in a hurry and they come running to him. Yes, we are a stupid lot and can’t wait our turn.

We will now go, a fifth time in eighteen months, to a funeral. Still, we are  waiting for the cause of death of our beloved late daughter Gaby who had a visit by “Death” in July 2012 releasing her beautiful soul from her not so well-functioning body.

We are still kicking and will be around for a while yet, still believing the doctor, until “Death” catches up with us, at a time, he reckons,  will be the right time.

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12 thoughts on “Death, the Stalker

  1. This neighbour had been married for more than fifty years. He and his wife raised a beautiful family. Our thoughts are with his dear wife and children and grandchildren.
    Who knows when it is going to be our turn?

  2. My father does not have such an attitude. He believes that diet, steady exercise, and healthy habits can prolong life. When I see his physician friends that have lived into their 90s, and practiced what they preached, I’m inclined to agree. Although, much depends on your genetics, and what kind of a body you were born with, and how you handle stress.

    • Thank you for commenting, Robert. I exercise a lot. My eating habits are so, so. My stress level is easily raised.

      What I wanted to do with my post was, to make a connection between the suddenness of the death of our neighbour and the story of the film / book “The Book Thief”.

      People create myths and religions out of the things they don’t understand otherwise life makes no sense. Your father creates his own sense of life and his relationship to it.

      The book is beautifully written and I can only recommend it. “Death”: is a gentleman and philosopher.

  3. Yes, we loved the ‘Book thief’ too. We know that death stalks round the corner and this urges us on to make the best of each day.
    We always eat sensibly but drink perhaps a bit more than is good, but…no medication (except iodine type) or smoking. We walk a lot. What more can one do?
    I do fear lingering on with misery and lots of pain and being totally dependent on care.
    Good article and it probably has many diverse answers.

    • Thanks for commenting, Gerard. You are right, there are different answers to what we see in our lives. Some take their lives in their own hand, by living according to a fixed, self prescribed regime. other give themselves into the hands of their god. I, and probably you too, have my place somewhere in-between.

      • When I said we loved ‘the book thief’, I meant the book. We haven’t seen the movie yet. It had some mixed reviews You read the book and seen the movie. Which was better? The movie critics seem to indicate that it was made a bit more palatable, a bit more ‘easy going’ for everyone.

      • I can’t say which was better. I think the film was very close to the book. It was a difficult subject matter after all. The negative critics have a set mind when it comes to Nazi-Germany. “Easy going” means the Germans were not portrait according to their preconceived expectations. Markus Zusak, the author of the book seemed to be happy with the film when interviewed.

        Of course a film is never as detailed as a book, but it is important that the general tone is being repeated. It was meant to be a children’s book and as such won many prizes.

        The acting is first class by an international cast.

      • We saw Philomena a couple of days ago. It was a good movie as well. Perhaps a bit over the top but a serious issue when Irish children were taken away by nuns from their single unwed mothers. A good story well told.

  4. Peter i am not comfortable in calling you that but anyway this time
    this is my reply-http://sherinchelad.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/death/

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