Body and mind.
Body vs. mind?
The Western paradigm of mind-body separation.
My church friend is slowly losing her memory and my hospice friend's body is slowly deteriorating.
And though I know we don't (usually) get a choice as to the time and method of our demise, I am intrigued by both the challenges and benefits of both states. Who are we as people if we forget everything? In Still Alice, a portrait of early-onset Alzheimer's, the author Lisa Genova poses questions about identity--if you forget, for instance, that you are a mother, does your love for your children exist even if you don't know you have them? And so my question: can love then transcend death if it can't transcend memory loss? And, once you've forgotten, do you suffer at all?
And why does a body, deteriorating and old, immobile and in pain, still fight so hard to nourish itself, creating appetites and cravings? I know, rationally, that I would say I wouldn't want to live in such a state, but I can see that the body might not give up so easily, keeping alive even while such suffering seems so unnecessary. And there is still joy in company, in family, perhaps even just in breathing, sleeping, and dreaming.
I'm not sure I could choose, having now seen a little bit of both (plus the end-stage dementia of my first hospice patient). And I hope I would approach either, and whatever else, with grace and good humor.