I woke up at a funny time this morning – too late to go back to sleep and too early to get up. I decided that if I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to get up I might as well stay in bed and have myself a nice little rest.
Of course, it wasn’t long before my nice little rest turned into a bit of a think. I was thinking about wills: specifically whether I should revisit mine, and whether, if I did, I would be considered to have been of sound mind at the time of writing.
This got me thinking about my granny. She died when I was fifteen leaving behind only a few words dictated to my dad quite literally on her death bed. After her death these few words caused more arguments, and ill feeling and general nastiness than you can ever imagine*. It was my first insight into what a death can bring out in people. It wasn’t pretty.
The thing is, my granny died after a very long illness and for the last few months of her life, her diagnosis was terminal. I’ll never forget the conversation that I had with my dad as he tried to explain that there was nothing more that could be done – it felt like someone had taken my heart in their hands and wrung all the good things out of it.
We knew she was dying and she knew she was dying and it has bothered me for a long time that, under those circumstances, she didn’t have a will. She was an organised careful person and I just couldn’t understand why she hadn’t been organised and careful in that regard.
As I was thinking this morning it occurred to me that perhaps, even in the face of what she was told was certain death, she believed she was going to live. Maybe it was hope, or determination, or the survival instinct that kept her from writing a will. And that notion felt like it meant something to me.
Does that make sense?
I don’t want to be alive, but that really isn’t the same thing as wanting to die** and I often think about the survival instinct. My thinking goes something like this: If I found myself in a lift*** that was plummeting to the ground from twenty stories up, I imagine that for the whole of the descent I’d be thinking that something would happen that would make it okay. I don’t suppose it would occur to me that I was actually going to die until the very moment of impact (at which point it wouldn’t matter, because I’d be dead). Human beings are going to die, but we also seem to be programmed to believe that we’re not going to die at any given moment. Again, that seems to mean something to me.
Why do I mention any of this? I’m not entirely sure, other than what it seems to say to me is something about hope. Hope is important.
Love from a hopeful WeeGee xx
PS – I read somewhere that if you find yourself in a plummeting lift your best bet is to lie on top of someone larger than yourself. It seems a bit mean, but I do find myself taking note of the physical stature of my companions when I get into lifts. Just in case, you know.
*Shortly before she became ill my granny had remarried, so we ended up with two feuding families. I hated it.
**You will either understand that or you won’t. I can’t put it any better than that
***Or an elevator if you are across the Pond