Read this before you die.

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Let’s talk about death and dying (don’t worry, this doesn’t get depressing – trust me!).

I remember a time when me and a mate of mine were sat in a northern pub discussing life, the meaning of existence and the price of beer and cigarettes. As Leo, that’s his name, lovingly took a sip of his Draught Bass (that’s a beer) he turned to me and with a look of abject sorrow whispered, “I’m depressed.” As usual I made no reply as I fully expected him to enlighten me as, and when, he was ready. Silence!

I waited a bit longer until I was eventually forced to ask, “What are you depressed about?”

Taking a long pull of his beer he looked wistfully around indicating the old guys sat in their usual corner.

“Look at those old bastards,” he muttered. “We’ll be like them one day.” Only if we’re lucky, I thought to myself.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting old,” I told him, “it’s better than the alternative. Don’t you agree?”

Leo rolled a cigarette as he continued staring at the ‘old codgers’ and repeated, “I’m depressed.”

A couple of good looking girls had wandered in to the bar and I must confess here that my mind was on them rather than my depressive pal sat next to me.

“You’re not listening to me,” he cried.

One of the girls waved to me and I thought I’d go over and say hello. Enquire what her plans were for the night (or morning!) As I pushed myself out from my seat Leo put a restraining hand on my arm bidding me to stay, so I caught the girl’s eye to indicate I’d be with her in a minute or two.

“OK, tell me why you’re depressed,” I asked of my friend. Your acting like Eeyore from Winnie the Poo with that hangdog look. Come on. Out with it!”

EEyore was always depressed!

“We’re twenty this year,” he sighed.

“So what’s depressing about that?”

“That’s a fifth of a century,” he wailed.

FFS, I thought, we’re in the prime of life, cheer up.

Now this incident took place a good many years ago. The years fly by don’t they? The older you get the quicker they go. That’s because at age 20 a person may have 50 more years to look forward to. Whereas at age 60 you may only have 10 years to go before you shuffle of this mortal coil.

This got me thinking about death. Everybody, even you dear reader, is edging towards their final demise. Remember the friends you had at school? The people you worked with as you got older? The companions you met in your social groups? Well, there eventually comes a time, and it’s a sobering thought, that you know / knew more dead people than living! They stretch back in a long line towards your past. They were once a part of your present and perhaps helped to shape the sort of person you eventually became. So we must thank them mustn’t we?

On more than one occasion I’ve been in a cemetery at a funeral and as I idly looked around for something cheerful to focus on have happened to noticed that I’m standing next to a grave with my name on it! Very sobering I can tell you.

On the subject of graveyards can anybody tell me why we fear them? It’s hallowed ground for Christ’s sake. Blessed and dedicated, so surely there shouldn’t be any bad things there, should there?

One thing you find at funerals nowadays is that last song as they bring down the final curtain and all the men are revving their turn-ups up so as to get to the bar first. You ever thought about what song you would like playing at your going away ceremony?

I've had many suitable tunes come to mind when I think about my final role in this world of actors. Eventually I came up with this one (I actually chose it with my Father for his funeral)

It's called "The Parting Glass" an old Celtic lament suitable for going away (permanently or otherwise). The words are so wonderful.

Have you a favourite song tucked away and ready for your big day? Main thing is to choose one that YOU want. Sod the rest of them gathered at your funeral. They'll be going home whereas you .... well I'll leave that with you. May your gods go with you.

You can add your thoughts below - OH and just to clear something up - Leo is still alive and well and certainly not depressed AND we're both older now than the 'old bastards' he referred to all those years ago!

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