Tag: Memories

They had a life

People lose soulmates all the time. Many, perhaps most, reach a point where they can get on with their lives. Others never seem to move on.

This guy I know (I bet you do!) whose wife died just over a year ago is one of those who doesn’t seem to be able to move on. He’s still in that hospital room, sitting at her bedside, holding her hand, still warm in his. Until it wasn’t. He’ll tell you exactly how long it’s been — thirteen months and fifteen days.

He lives alone now, seldom goes out. There is one man he occasionally meets for coffee. The coffee guy lost his wife a couple of years ago. He shocked the solitary guy the other day when he said he had met a new woman — the love of his life, he said.

This astounded the other guy. He couldn’t imagine finding another love of his life and starting a new relationship.

It’s not that he wants to wallow in grief. He just doesn’t have the spark to ignite a new relationship. Compared to his coffee friend Mr Sparkplug, he’s a dead battery.

The life he had with his wife was like several lives, thirty-four years of sturm and drang, emotionally intense, tempestuous, tossed about on waves of tragedy — mainly the early death of a son.

In between the turmoil, they travelled the world, stayed in fine hotels and lived the life, as the saying goes.


There were periods of time when they were apart, during which our hero (by which, of course, I mean antihero) tried to put his life back together. But they always ended up with each other. His wife was steadfast. She was always there for him. And he, in his own vagabond, messed-up way, was always there for her.

In the end they were together. The last three years of her life-draining illness he was her caregiver. When she was dying, as he held her hand, he told her he would love her forever. Sounds corny, perhaps, but he meant it with all his heart.

No other woman could take her place.

People used to say of his wife, “She’s very warm.” Now he looks for warmth in the fire he lights on winter nights, a bottle of bourbon on the coffee table and the memories — the good memories — of his wife and their life together.

Niels Arestrup as Michel, who still longs for his wife, in Angelina Jolie’s ‘By the Sea’


97-year-old facing death

Here’s looking at you, Death.

A 97-year-old Philosopher, Herbert Fingarette, Looks at Death and the Meaning of Life.

His Enigmatic Last Words May Be Key to the Mystery of Life

Being 97 is a wonderful video (below) made by his grandson Andrew Hasse. Note the quiet dedication of the caregiver Sherly Pontis.


The day before he died in 2018, after many hours in silence with his eyes closed, Mr. Fingarette suddenly looked up and said, “Well, that’s clear enough!”

Andrew Hasse notes that his last cryptic message is open to interpretation, “but I’d like to believe that he might have seen at least a glimpse of something beyond death.”

➡️ youtu.be/qX6NztnPU-4 ⬅️

Reprinted from Richard Wagner’s The Amateur’s Guide to Death and Dying

In his 1996 book about death, Herbert Fingarette argued that fearing one’s own demise was irrational. When you die, he wrote, “there is nothing.” Why should we fear the absence of being when we won’t be there ourselves to suffer it?

Twenty years later, facing his own mortality, the philosopher realized that he’d been wrong. Death began to frighten him, and he couldn’t think himself out of it.

Fingarette, who for 40 years taught philosophy at the University of California at Santa Barbara, had also written extensively on self-deception. Now, at 97, he wondered whether he’d been deceiving himself about the meaning of life and death.

“It haunts me, the idea of dying soon, whether there’s a good reason or not,” he says in Andrew Hasse’s short documentary Being 97. “I walk around often and ask myself, ‘What is the point of it all?’ There must be something I’m missing. I wish I knew.”