Sunday, July 21, 2013

Death is not becoming

When I was young, I volunteered at a retirement home, and I was surprised that the director always knew when somebody would die. "We'll have a free room pretty soon" he would say. I asked how he knew, he said he did not know, an accumulation of small signs probably, but he could not point it out. After two years of visits, I knew too, but just like him, I could not point out the signs. 
I got pregnant, of course I did not know it. I must have been two weeks pregnant when I got the congratulations of a visitor, a friend of ours who was a gynecologist. "Congratulations for what?" I asked. "Oh! I thought you knew", he replied. And how did he know? He said he could not point it out, but having seen so many pregnant women, he recognized the signs.
I forgot all this for fifty years. 
Then yesterday, I was looking at the 2009 "Joshua Bell with friends" on YouTube. When I saw composer Marvin Hamlisch, my heart stopped. I thought he looked very sick. I could not listen to Bell any more. I forgot that time had passed, wishing that somebody would drive Hamlisch to the hospital. Then I remembered that he died "unexpectedly" in 2012. So my old training had unexpectedly kicked in. We always think that people are well when they keep being very active, but it is not always the case. 
We don't pay enough attention to others.  

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