In Which I Write About Dying

I watched a very good movie the other day, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and it has been hanging in my mind. I’ve had an emotional reaction to the film. Like, a real deep big tear-inducing emotional reaction.


The film starts off with the news reporter announcing that all attempts to stop this meteor have fail. The Earth will be destroyed in X number of days, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Everyone on Earth is going to die. That is the end. Over. Dead.

And I guess, everyone on Earth is going to die. Over. Dead. One day . . .when their time comes.

Part of me wanted to turn off the film immediately. It would be too emotional, I told myself. But another part of me was so intrigued. This film would be one big conversation around death and life, and everyone in that story was on the same playing field. Terminal illness no longer mattered. Accidents no longer mattered. Health no longer mattered. Obligations no longer mattered. Fighting for your life no longer mattered. Everyone was in the same boat.

And it is from here in the film that the protagonist finds the love of his life, days before the meteor hits, and they end up in bed having a conversation along these lines right before the film ends.

She says, “I wish we had met earlier. Like when we were kids.”

And he says, “It wouldn’t have been enough time. There would never be enough time. We had to meet each other now. It had to be this way.”

As the meteor begins to hit the earth (chunks of it, I imagine), with crashing noises in the far off distance. he calms her fears by asking about her childhood, and how many siblings she has, and what her favourite colour is. And that is the end of the movie. They die. They were never not going to die.

Why can’t it be that easy to accept death? And why can’t I just admit aloud, “I think about dying all the time. Like every day. I’m afraid to push things off too long, because everything could change any moment. I know I’m going to die. There will never be enough time, no matter how much time I am given. It scares me. It breaks my heart that I might leave the people I love. It wakes me up. It follows me in the good times, and it confronts me in the bad times.”

And then not have someone respond: “You have to think positive. You will beat this. You are going to live a long time.”

Because that may all be true, but sometimes I really just need to talk about dying. A gentle conversation where I don’t need to feel guilty for my fears or emotions.

Zsolt says he is here if I want to talk about dying. I reckon it must scare him a little, but he’s here. He also said, that maybe he just doesn’t completely understand, because he doesn’t think about dying much at all.

And the thing is, I don’t want to dread death. I just don’t. I would rather live with it. Make it a friend. Know it will be a good thing whenever it comes, because a part of me will be going back to whatever I was before I got here.

Matching the theme of death, I’ve been reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. There is a quote that one ghost girl says, as she dreams about really, truly dying properly.

“We’ll be alive again in a thousand blades of grass, and a million leaves; we’ll be glittering in the dew under the stars and the moon out there in the physical world, which is our home and always was.”

Isn’t that so beautiful? How is there sadness in that image? How is there any failure or lost battles in that?

I’d like to see death as going home, I would like the idea to not haunt me, but walk alongside me – and I reckon that will only happen if I admit it is there in the first place.

My name is Catherine, and I think about death. I think about it quietly, because I worry how others might feel if they knew this secret side of myself. And I don’t want to be told to keep fighting, unless, of course, it comforts someone to say it. Otherwise this is my life, and I decide when and how I live. I know how to keep living (forget fighting, that isn’t my style – it’s more about living and loving wholeheartedly, passionatly), and I think one day I’ll know when I am done. These choices are mine alone, and I’m pretty stubborn about those kinds of things.

I love living, and I plan on basking in life. Yes, I have fears. I worry over death. I worry over hurting others, particularly my husband. I am scared of what might come. But in the “now” I do my very best – you know? I just do my very best. I love my very best. There will never be enough time, but right “now” feels quite enough.

So all of this to say, dying happens. And I need to be able to talk about it sometimes. Maybe just here on the blog, where I talk about things that are otherwise too uncomfortable to share. And once in a while, I need to write a post that doesn’t ultimately strive to comfort those reading it, either.

This post is for me. I’ve said it. It’s done. And I’m still here despite all of that.

Sigh of contentment. I sure do love being alive.



P.S. Zsoltster, szeretlek . Ne aggódj, mert én nem megyek sehova. Te vagy az én horgonyt .

Internet Advocacy

The internet is a darn-tooting special place. Maybe not stumbled-upon-mini-meadow-in-the-woods-with-sun-beams-and-babbling-stream special, but a place where anything can happen, and more importantly anyone can be the cause of the happening.

So, this idea of dividing it up into fast and slow and privileged and poor and pay more or save more options pisses me off. The one lovely thing about this situation and the internet is that it’s our space. We can have a say, and an impact. It’s happened before that big bad plans were stopped via the advocacy of voices coming together, with leadership from organizations. It’s happened in Canada, it has happened in the US before.

But of course that’s never the end, is it? So, until there’s some sort of charter of rights of the internet adding one’s name to a petition can be required. That’s what I did, and if you like, you can do so as well. is, from all I’ve seen, a good organization that keeps users interest at heart. For years they’ve fought for better service in Canada, for privacy, for rights online.

Here’s an article explaining what’s going on now in the US, and how it may impact you regardless of where you live. So, check it out if you like :)



In other news: I’m off to the Canadian Authors Association this evening to give a talk with my Podcast co-host, Kevin. BAH! Nerves are inevitable. After I make lunch today, I’ll go back to practising that talk. The theme: Why Talk About Writing?

And just to reinforce how useful this topic is, I ran into a fellow writer yesterday evening while at a networking wine thing (Cranberry juice & water for me. Wine is wasted on my palette), and we talked and talked and talked about writing.

Therefore, it gives me confidence today. Writing is seen as a lonely profession. Maybe that’s because so many writers are shy, or introverted, or don’t feel like admitting what they do? But I’ve noticed that the more I say, “I’m a writer” the more writers I meet. And it actually doesn’t feel at all like a lonely profession.

Anyhow! Onward to make lunch!

Article once more:

Have a lovely day,



Zsolt’s Heroic Pepper Plant

This is a short story about Zsolt’s heroic pepper plant.

We have been waiting and waiting to grow peppers. We have a very special variety of yellow peppers that are quite sweet and refreshing, and remind us of Hungary. So, it all started back in March. After so much delay, we finally found some little seedling planters and the big man planted the seeds. Except he didn’t quite plant them . . . he more or less flooded them. The instructions read “sprinkle with water,” and instead he “poured a jug of water” over the whole thing.

hero pepper2

For weeks we waited. I kept saying, “throw ‘em out and replant the seeds. We’ve drown them.”

But Zsolt had faith.

Then one day they began to sprout. One after the other, after the other! This was a miracle unto itself. And so Zsolt tended the plants, very carefully watering them, leaving them on the radiator, moving them into the sun.

One particular shoot was doing really well. It was the one you’d point to and think, “yep, it’s coming along.”

Except one day, after having left the plants outside to toughen up (Z is always trying to make them really tough, for some reason), our prize pepper plant somehow broke right in half.

Disappointment was felt. No way would a plant recover from such a bad break.

The next day, Z put the seedlings back outside, including the broken plant since they were all in one big seedling plastic thing. (I should win a prize for that amazing bit of description, eh?) They stayed out all day long, and then in the evening we brought them inside.

Lo and behold! The little broken pepper plant had fixed itself! Right where the bit had broken, there was a sort of swollen area, and the plant was fixed far more upward than it had been earlier.

The next day, it stood even taller.

And the next day, even taller.

Now that really felt like a miracle. Just when we had counted it out – the little guy proved its resilience and stood back up!

And now, way over in August, it has the biggest pepper of them all. Okay, sure, the peppers are all little and have a ways to grow – but it’s our resilient plant that is leading the charge!

Zsolt calls that plant his little hero. I think the meaning of this scenario goes way, way further than simply growing a plant. Obviously. Do I need to explain it? Probably not, I think.

Heroic Plant

That little paprika pepper means a lot to us. And when the day comes that we get to actually eat the pepper, I plan to make an entire meal around it – potato layer with sour cabbage on the side, maybe even a little wine, and some wonderful Liszt in the background while we eat.

Sometimes the little stories make the biggest different. This is one of those times.