Thursday, February 16, 2006

Water Buffalo

I guess everyone thinks about their own death at certain times in their lives. I've thought about my own recently, and wondered what my last days would be like. I've always hoped that I would go peacefully, surrounded by loved ones holding my hand, knowing that on the other side my relatives and friends would be waiting for me in a tranquil after-life existence.
My father, being a man of deep religious faith, had faced his death this way, confident that he would be reunited with my mother and with his savior Jesus Christ.

That is the way I want to pass from this world.

But probably I will end up like the African Water Buffalo. You've seen those documentaries on the Discover Channel or Animal Planet where the aged animal is on it's last legs, sometimes from a fatal wound. As it stumbles, dazed, confused and in pain it sees the hyenas and vultures gathering around, ready for a meal. With it's last bit of energy it kicks and tries to fight them off as they start to devour it before it has drawn it's last breath. By the time it actually dies there are half a dozen animals tearing into it's flesh, adding to it's suffering. Not a very peaceful end.

I can picture that scenario. As I lay in agony , knowing that I am dying, I can see my in-laws converging on my wife and kids, wondering aloud what she is going to do with my car after I go, and how much insurance money she'll have coming. I can see her talking to the mortician on the phone asking how much the embalming is, forgetting that I've told her a dozen times not to embalm me. My career-criminal brother-in-law would be asking my son if he could borrow his car for "just an hour or so". I wouldn't have the strength to tell him that the last time he borrowed my car for "just an hour or so" it was two weeks before I saw him again and then I had to chase him down the highway for 10 miles before finally getting him to stop with his load of stolen copper wire in the back. I can see my wife and her mother shouting at each other with the kids joining in throwing temper tantrums. These would be the last images and thoughts going through my mind as a tear of frustration rolls down my face and I head- unnoticed by anyone present - onto what awaits me next.


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