I'm (still) plowing my way through old episodes of The X Files as I use my elliptical trainer. I enjoyed the show quite a bit when it first aired from 1993-2002 -- sweet fanciful Moses, that seems so long ago -- and am enjoying it even more now, as I can usually watch an entire episode uninterrupted by the needs of others (the Offspring were all infants/toddlers/elementary school-aged over the course of time when the show first aired).
Yesterday's episode was "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose". In this episode, Mr. Bruckman is clairvoyant in a highly specific manner: he can foresee how people die. The questions posed several times during the episode included, "Do you want to know how you die?" and "How do I die?" It's a superbly written and acted episode, dryly funny at times and ultimately quite poignant.
I thought about the episode late last night while awake due to the decongestant I'd taken for my querulous sinuses. And I came to the conclusion: No, I would not want to know in advance how I will die. (Unless I were facing a terminal illness -- in which case, yes, I would want to know the details of the path to the end.)
Our days are all numbered. Vagaries of genes and of environent, of accident and of good luck, make it impossible to guess how many days there shall be. We can play the odds, beat the odds, be on tail ends of a bell curve. No way to know. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst. And so it goes.
Before we wake, we cannot know that what we dreamed does not exist. Before we die, we cannot know that death is not the greatest joy.
If only it would be that simple, to embrace that final repose with joy. I cannot imagine. I'm not ready yet. With a bit of grace and good fortune, I will have quite some time before I need to be ready.
Ah, mortality. It sometimes weighs heavily in the heart of middle-age. We shall see what the Universe has in store for us.