TDB&TB Question #23 ~ Schnabel's Purpose

by Jean-Dominique Bauby

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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Wed May 28, 2008 6:46 pm

Parlez wrote:
Liz wrote:I can see it, Parlez. I think if life has been too good to you, you take if for granted. Then when death finally comes, it is more of a shock. I think it is harder to leave a life of good health and happiness than to leave a life of hardship and sickness. The odd thing about what Schnabel said, though, was that his dad was sick--he had cancer for almost 10 years. But maybe that is why he was so afraid of death--because he had escaped it for 10 years, and thus felt invincible.

Good points, Liz....very interesting. I would think that a person who had enjoyed good health and a long life would assume death would come as easily as life had come. But I wonder how much of Mr. Schnabel's terror came from tending to his wife and watching her slow, probably painful, departure...? Knowing he also had cancer might have led him to conclude he'd end up going the same way. The picture Julian paints shows his father as a devoted caregiver for his Mom...when that role ended, maybe his own mortality took center stage and overwhelmed him. Plus, I wonder if maybe he wasn't so much fearful about dying as he was frightened by the idea of needing to be similarly taken care of...?
Hmmmm.... :perplexed:

Could be. And I’ve been thinking a lot about this since I last posted. I think that facing death is individual and personal, like Anna pointed out. Each of us deal with it differently, based on a lot of factors….our experience, environment, spiritual beliefs, cultural beliefs, and individual constitution, to name a few.
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Unread postby nebraska » Wed May 28, 2008 9:06 pm

Liz, I think you are right, we each approach these things in our own time and way based on many individual circumstances.

This past Memorial weekend I went to the local cemetery for a dedication ceremony. Five years ago a 4-year-old boy was murdered by his father and his body was never recovered; so a memorial stone has been placed there to honor him even though his body is most likely in a landfill.

A friend of mine tried very hard to discourage me from attending the ceremony, saying it would only depress me and tear me down. But because of my own life experiences I felt a personal connection to that little boy and I saw the memorial dedication as a celebration, a time of joy.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed May 28, 2008 9:14 pm

Much like Memorial Day ceremonies for many people I would say. There can be some joy in rememberance and shared emotion.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby gemini » Wed May 28, 2008 10:11 pm

Well the story certainly gave me pause to stop and smell the roses because time is an unpredictable thing. As for handling death, I am not sure but definitely to appreciate life. I guess Schnable made his mark on me but maybe not the one he intended.
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Unread postby Parlez » Thu May 29, 2008 8:02 am

gemini wrote:I guess Schnable made his mark on me but maybe not the one he intended.

Eye. Death is personal, not only for the person facing it directly but also for family members who likewise must face their own terrors - of losing their loved one now and ultimately sharing the same fate later.
In the catagory of Twilight Zone moments, I just learned this morning that Julian Barnes has a new book out entitled, Nothing to Be Frightened Of. Guess what it's about. :hypnotic:
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Unread postby suec » Thu May 29, 2008 12:34 pm

I think that facing death is individual and personal, like Anna pointed out. Each of us deal with it differently, based on a lot of factors….our experience, environment, spiritual beliefs, cultural beliefs, and individual constitution, to name a few.

I agree, Liz. I also think that a person can't necessarily predict accurately beforehand how he/she will handle it. We can hope for a certain response, maybe expect certain things of ourselves, but then there's the reality of it, and a few surprises sometimes.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Anna » Thu May 29, 2008 12:50 pm

suec wrote:
I think that facing death is individual and personal, like Anna pointed out. Each of us deal with it differently, based on a lot of factors….our experience, environment, spiritual beliefs, cultural beliefs, and individual constitution, to name a few.

I agree, Liz. I also think that a person can't necessarily predict accurately beforehand how he/she will handle it. We can hope for a certain response, maybe expect certain things of ourselves, but then there's the reality of it, and a few surprises sometimes.


Let's leave the way we deal with death out of the realm of competition. God forbid that there'll be a good and a bad way of dying. Like you say, there's no predicting and therefor no preparation except that maybe life is preparation for death and looking at it that way, that's what Bauby does after he's 'locked in': finally live to be able to die.
One minute I’m mushing along with the huskies as usual, and all of a sudden it’s global warming.

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Unread postby Endora » Thu May 29, 2008 2:05 pm

Liz wrote:
Neither the film nor the book helped me in dealing with death. The movie by itself did not help me with anything. However, the book enlightened me on the possibilities of such a life as Jean-Do's, allowing me to see that all is not lost if one has determination and the right attitude. I think Jean-Do's demonstration of the ability to use one's imagination was very helpful.


I'm with you there Liz regarding the book (I have yet to see the film). The imagination can be our saviour at times. I'm thinking also this works with people who are isolated because the've lost their freedom. I once read the book written by Brian Keenan, An Evil Cradling and the same messge came through.

I'm not so sure that Jean-Do was any better at handling death than any other person. He just had the time to write about his life. It seemed to me that even in his hideous stste he still didn't expect death, didn't prepare for it much.

And how to deal with death? The best advice I know:

http://www.bigeye.com/donotgo.htm
Work hard, learn well, and make peace with the fact that you'll never be as cool as Johnny Depp. GQ.

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Unread postby Anna » Thu May 29, 2008 3:18 pm

Endora wrote:And how to deal with death? The best advice I know:

http://www.bigeye.com/donotgo.htm


Of course... Dylan thomas. You had to be a DT fan. :highfive:
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Thanks for reminding me.
Last edited by Anna on Thu May 29, 2008 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Parlez » Thu May 29, 2008 3:21 pm

Endora wrote:
I'm not so sure that Jean-Do was any better at handling death than any other person. He just had the time to write about his life. It seemed to me that even in his hideous stste he still didn't expect death, didn't prepare for it much.


I agree - I got the feeling Jean-Do wasn't grappling with his death so much as he was struggling to live with the catastrophe that had befallen him. I got the sense that he didn't expect to die, but rather that he thought he was going to continue living indefinitely in that altered state. Death didn't seem to be in the picture for him; it came rather suddenly.
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

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