There’s only so much you can take from the smell of death. Or maybe I mean the smell of decay, because death, by its definitive nature, takes only a moment and smells of…what? The scent of summer roses wafting in the breeze beside the brook where you tripped and knocked your head on a rock?
The ever-memorable tang of vinegar coming from the chipper just beyond where you were distracted by pangs of hunger and fell under the wheels of a reversing van?
So, what we associate as death, is really its aftermath; Nature’s act of recycling; that pungent aroma we so studiously ignore as we lean in to kiss the brow of our loved one just before the lid is screwed into place.
It’s the scent we try to mask with everyday reminders of life as it should be: happy; loving; longing; lusting; fresh; alive.
Alive. In as far as life is forever tainted by the smell of death; the thought of death; the fear of death; the constant of impending death; the absolute inevitability; the one guarantee we need no proof of, or have no argument about, except perhaps which kind of death we will experience.
Then, how do we experience death? As again, it is a happening beyond which we have no anecdotal references. Everything leading up to the moment is still a living experience, irrespective of levels of cognisance or suffering, so the actual extinguishing of life, after that final exhalation; after the fading of synapses; after…
What comes after? Degeneration, most definitely, leading to…that smell unique to decaying organic matter. The recycling process has begun. Life continues, at least for those our body is sustaining as it journeys along its next phase. Everything has shifted place, and all must move with it, or be left behind, like death.
It is so much better to live before it than to wallow in the mire of ‘what if?’ One moment is as important as the next. It’s just part of the ever-shifting process of life.
Live and let death look after itself.