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Perspective: Let's talk about, you know...


My dad, sister and I stood over the headstone of my mother’s new gravesite, and we burst out laughing. The engravers had closed my dad’s dates instead of mom’s. Dad was a prankster but Mom had the last laugh, and she gave us a much needed release.

That was several decades ago and now both sets of their dates are closed. Death is a taboo topic in our culture. In fact, even recognizing the inevitable aging process has been largely shunned.

Like most folks I want to age as gracefully and painlessly as possible, but I also want to contemplate death while I still can. Not that thinking and reading about it will make me ready for death, but I sense in its mystery some revelations that may come my way.

Back in the seventies I was introduced to eastern philosophy when I read Be Here Now by Ram Dass. Recently, a friend recommended Still Here, another Ram Dass book published in 2000 after he suffered a debilitating stroke. The message that stuck with me is that death is completely safe, and maybe like taking off a tight shoe. Who knows really, but a little comfort is always welcome.

In a few days fall arrives with the autumnal equinox, a season of beauty and death - the cycle of life closing or perhaps, transforming.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.