thoughts on death and a ghost in a bathroom

(Caveat: yes this is a post-a-day blogging project, and this is what you get sometimes.  But as I am working on a funny Valentine’s Day story for this weekend, I give a little glimpse of how my mind pounces on one shiny thing after another before it’s finally distracted from the screen and keyboard…)

I think about death.

I think about death a lot.

Every waking hour I think about the fact that my years, my days, my breaths and my thoughts, are limited.  A thin line of moments marching-

Into where?  The Buddhism I practiced for 27 years – albeit unorthodox – says your life is like the foaming whitecrest on a wave; you may appear distinct, but you are always of the ocean even.  Your essential nature – your soul, if you will – travels through eternity, sometimes subsumed, dormant potential (ku) ready to explode and appear again when the time is right and circumstances are fecund.   Still, you can’t remember your previous moments you manifested (basically because our minds aren’t built that way).

My Christian friends would probably tell me I will face judgment before God, either the moment after my final heartbeat or after a sleep in the grave til Jesus returns to Earth. Whether they (you?) see one’s Final Reckoning as literally standing before God at the Gates of Heaven, or a self-examination through the Eyes of God as your life flashes before your eyes, or the good you have done and the bad you have done slipped onto the twin trays on The Scales of Reckoning, I don’t know.

The times when I am most aware of my definite death?

When I am sitting on the toilet in the bathroom at work.

The bigger bathroom, of the two on our floor.  The offices where I work is an old huge mansion.  The bathroom is an awkwardly big – but not quite spacious – feng shui-less space, retrofitted, the angle of the eaves imposing on the upper third of the walls, the pebbled window set off in a nook about two feet off the floor.  Of course I don’t know why it triggers me to have morbid thoughts – the decades of life filling it, both family waking and sleeping and love and loss and the later decades’ energies women and men with a passion to help children and those children and parents themselves; the short pile of National Geographics sitting on the enamel tiled counter windowing the wide world, a sympathetic resonance with the pitch and frequency of the ceiling fan, or with the bieges of the room?

Or it could be the womanly ghost who’s said to haunt the mansion – people have wondered if the story, which I haven’t really been told, could enhance the mansion’s profile – trying to whisper some Truth about death in my ear.  But why she would wait til I’m sitting on the toilet, and not come to me while I’m sitting in my office, where I tend to keep my pants up…?


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