Linda_  016I’ve just finished reading Stephen King’s latest book, Doctor Sleep. Oh, I know, many of you don’t like King’s fiction because much of it is in the horror genre. True, but there is considerably more to his writing than the horror it can evoke. King is a master story teller, a genius at character development and he draws his reader into the story in a way that doesn’t release and often encourages thoughtful reflection.

So it is with Doctor Sleep. I’m not going to cite all the phrases that gave me pause, but I will share one that particularly stopped me in my tracks:

Death was no less a miracle than birth.

This I’m having to think about as my emotions are raw from experiencing the recent death of my brother. We know from the time of conscious awareness that death will find us all, but that doesn’t make it easier to accept the reality. What I’m trying to figure out is where is the miracle. Is it a miracle that death can mean the end of suffering? Is it a miracle that even in death the world around us continues in its usual way? Is it a miracle that we find the strength to move on even when our hearts are breaking? Is it a miracle that such things as life and death are completely beyond our control?

So many questions always surround death, and as I am pondering them this photo of a quite different miracle comes from my barn queen daughter.

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One by one perfect little baby ducks are emerging from their shells, vividly illustrating the miracle of birth. Few questions here, just a feeling of joy.

What a contrast to death is the emergence of new life, and the associated emotions are total opposites. I’m thinking most of us have experienced the two extremes, and I’m wondering how many view life and death as similar miracles.
Who would have thought all these questions would arise as a result of reading a book by an author many credit only with being scary! Hmmm, I wonder if that means we have to be scared into thinking, but maybe that is fodder for another time.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

P.S.  For more about the adorable ducks, look here.

20 thoughts on “Just Thinking

  1. I’m sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences and sympathy.

    I have never read anything by Stephen King but I remember that you recommended his book 11/22/63, about the Kennedy assassination, to me a while ago and I still have it on my list of books to read. I will finally get around to reading it one day!

    1. Thank you, Grace. When you get around to reading Stephen King, let me know what you think. He is one of my favorite writers for many reasons.

  2. There is no doubt that death is intertwined with life, it is very much part of life! When we, the living witness a birth, we are most of the time touched by it, the emotion of joy and wonder, that is because we are “living creatures” and we anticipate for the new life all the good things we have lived. It’s something we know and are familiar with. When we witness a death, or the agony prior to death, we suffer, we feel the loss, that is mostly because we don’t know anything about it. Death is a total mystery, completely unknown, that is scary! For those who believe in life after death, death is just a passage, sometimes it’s painful, dramatic, unexpected, and we fear it in many ways…but if we learn how to live each day with the thought of “death” we take the morbid and scary part of it away, we sort of “familiarize” ourselves with the unknown, we try our best to get ready for what may seem final but may be just another passage…just like being born is a passage too…because when we think about the contractions and the pain a mother goes through giving birth, a baby must for sure feel it too, beind propelled, ejected, pushed away from the well known womb into the unknown and mysterious “life” awaiting outside! The sudden grasp of air filling the newborn lungs…we don’t call it “agony” because we have forgotten that birth and the suffering of being born, just like giving the last breath…so, life and death is very much the same. There is in both cases, the panic factor of the unknown! I keep on saying to myself that I am “ready” whenever the time comes and it’s not a morbid thought, in the contrary, it makes me live and enjoy my life “better”. My attitude is different because I am not so fearful…still, heaven can wait!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I’m like you in that the thought of death doesn’t scare me but is reason to make the most of every day.

  3. I’ve started noticing that life and death go together, so now where there is death, I look for life. When Uncle Joey passed away, I felt sure there had to be some sign of life in the midst. And just days later, there were these ducklings. As I watched them (for hours!), I was struck by the struggle. It’s hard to come into this world and to leave it. I know Uncle Joey would’ve loved the news of the ducklings. I’ll miss sharing all the farm antics with him. Glad you know to call me Barn Queen. 🙂

  4. First of all, my condolences at the loss of your brother. I found your post so very intriguing. You caught me immediately with Stephen King. I so very agree with you in that he is such an amazing story teller. His first work that I read was “The Stand,” and I was so taken by his command of writing. You insight and reflections in this post are of his caliber. You have set my mind in motion.

  5. This is a lot of food for thought, but I have to agree with you on all of the miracles surrounding death. I feel I lived in a cocoon until I actually experienced the death of a loved one and actually became a stronger person because of it. The “Circle of Life” sums it up for me and when we experience the beginning and the ending of life, I think we appreciate our existence in a much more enlightened way.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother, you will be in my prayers.

    XO,
    Jane

  6. Linda, my love is with you. This has been a long journey for you and for your brother. I guess I have come to believe that like birth, death is also a new beginning in a way we have no human comprehension of. I don’t even attempt to know what it is, but every religion and even philosophy has an innate attempt at understanding and believing that. I am traveling in American Indian areas right now, and certainly their culture has a beautiful heritage of belief about death. As for us left here, there is no question in my mind that loved ones of mine who have left this life still live on in me. And even those with whom I had difficult relationship with, gradually leave me forgetting the difficulties and retaining the beauty that was there——far better than I was able to do while they were living. That is a miracle in itself!
    I pray for you to reach the time when memories of your mother, brother, and friends who have gone from this life will bring you joy. I have faith that in a way that I can never understand in this life, they are already there.

  7. I haven’t read any King books in some time…..but tomorrow I am getting it to read….thanks for your input…and info….Kit

    google.com

  8. Hi there, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, a brother is precious (I know!). I’ve only ever read one of his books, and I can’t remember the title right now, but isn’t it odd where we get our inspirations from. Maybe reading that line, then thinking about it and then composing this post has helped you in some ways. I know, like you there always seems to be tons of questions, but maybe through the questions you will find some answers. All my love, your friend Claire

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