Following a conversation yesterday about the narratives of death and particularly our own relationship to death I turned to that extraordinary narrative by Gillian Rose that asks us all whether we have faced our mortality
Gillian Rose LOVES WORK Page 72 & 73
With a man in clerical orders, one may legitimately expect him to have faced eternity. The source of his authority will be this humility in relation to his own mortality. It should seal him from violence in love, from joining the hierarchies of exterminating angels.
With a consultant surgeon, alas, you cannot expect him necessarily to have faced his own finality. Surgeons are not qualified for the one thing with which they deal: life. For they do not understand, as part of their profession, ‘death’, in the non-medical sense, nor therefore ‘life’ in the meaningful sense, inclusive of death. When they fail to ‘cure‘, according to their own lights, they deal out death, ‘You won’t die at eighty of boredom.’ ‘Since you may well die within a year of your operation, it is not worth spoiling your remaining time with more chemotherapy that will make you deaf’