Since all my classes are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Mondays are my homework day – which means Mondays are also my procrastination day. And what better way to procrastinate than with a blog post?
Since my last and first post, a lot of music happened: two album launches with Marie-Claire Durand (Quebec City and Montreal), a showcase with Irem Bekter, a recording session with Damon Hankoff, a show in Quebec City with Sarah Slean, and a free jazz/country duo show in Ottawa with Craig Pedersen. I also started a new part-time job at the McGill Music Library, working as a consultant in the computer lab (which I love!).
But since I don’t want this blog to be just about music, I won’t talk about all that, except to say that it’s been a wonderful month for music so far!! Instead, I want this blog to be about whatever happens in my life that resonates with me enough to make me want to share it with others. So today’s blog will be about death.
Last week, MC and I were having a normal conversation, and somehow the conversation turned to death. I told her about a bunch of different (indirect) experiences I’ve had with death in the past, especially suicide. The details aren’t important – what is important is that it was a beautiful and deep conversation about a very important (not to mention inevitable) part of life.
I feel very lucky that I’m the kind of person who can think deeply about uncomfortable subjects such as death. I also feel very lucky that I’m not a person with suicidal tendencies, or with any imbalance that could trigger these tendencies. Like everyone, I occasionally get depressed, but never dangerously so. In fact, when I’m really depressed, one of the things that never fails to cheer me up is thinking about death. My own death, I mean.
To be clear: I’m not religious – I believe that when we die, we’re dead. I don’t believe in an afterlife, and I find this finality comforting.
The more I think about death and its immensity, its incomprehensibility, its infiniteness, the more I get out of my own head and realize that the things that are getting me down don’t really matter. Even though this is how I’ve felt since I was quite young, I’ve learned that it’s one of the main teachings of Buddhism. I don’t agree with a lot of their teachings, but the concept of impermanence is something I can really get behind. Does anyone else remember when that Buddhist monk came to the art gallery in the Regina Public Library and made a Mandala?
Obviously, thinking about something and talking about it are two very different things, and even though I think a lot about this stuff, I don’t necessarily talk about it. And just because I’m writing about it now doesn’t mean I will want to talk about it later. I feel that one’s beliefs on the subject of death are as personal as religion and politics, two other things I think a lot about but rarely will talk about. For some reason, I felt like sharing this today.
I just realized that it’s almost one year since my grandfather died (October 27, 2013). Since there was no funeral or service of any kind (according to his wishes), I don’t think I’ve fully accepted it and dealt with it yet. Maybe that’s why death is on my mind a lot lately.
Tsutomu “Tom” Yoshida, 1923-2013