The Presence Of Death (Podcast)

We explore the theme of the presence of death through two movies: “Biutiful” (2010) and “Amour” (2012). We also discuss Polydore Vergil’s comments on the burial customs of various peoples, as I outlined in my article of December 6 here at Fortress of the Mind.


This podcast can be heard in multiple formats, including iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, and SoundCloud.  

7 thoughts on “The Presence Of Death (Podcast)

  1. Wonderful podcast, mate. It’s strange that death deeply touches us all, but it’s so often shunned or obscured in discussion.

    As for caring for the dying: I found it one of the most rich and rewarding experiences of my life, so much so that I’m undertaking it for a second time. It’s an honour to walk at their side, and help them complete their final journey.

    I remember a conversation with a Palliative Care Worker where I asked her, based upon her long experience at the job, how she would sum up death.

    Her answer? “People die how they live.” She told me suspected my mother was obviously a hell of a fighter in life.

    “Always fighting. Nothing ever came easy for her.” (Though, in retrospect, I wonder if she was determined to make everything difficult for herself).

    The woman said. “That’s the thing. Sometimes no matter how hard you fight, you lose.”

    (You can easily guess which song came out of that).

    I figure, when I die, I’ll face it head on. I’m not a coward, and won’t take a coward’s way out, which sounds like what the movie referenced is suggesting.

    I’ve also seen codependency too often in life. My grandfather willfully and stubbornly refused to be happy again in life, after my grandmother died. From my observation, it was a carefully-curated performance, as he still found time in his grief to bet on the horses and buy his whiskey. He lived ten miserable years of his own design after her passing.

    A friend’s grandfather passed last year. His wife of seventy years immediately put herself in a home, because she’d never learnt to cook and – this is the important part – had no interest in learning to do so. She was used to being waited on and being taken care of and obviously would rather give up her freedom and independence to maintain that level of comfort, which is sad, because she could have another fifteen years or life or more.

    I can’t imagine not even trying. I’ll never truly understand people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great words, AB, and great to see you back. Don’t stay away too long!
      I hear you and agree…I plan to take the same approach. If you get a chance, I think you’d like both of the movies mentioned here. “Biutiful” was very life-affirming, in a way, and I’m glad I saw it twice.


  2. QC,

    Just relistening to this podcast while out on the trails. You mentioned a reoccurring somber mood this time of year and it made me think of the sun. Obviously you’re getting quite a bit more of it than those of us near the arctic circle but its something to consider. It’s quite normal to power down a bit during these winter months. It’s the same thing that most of nature itself is doing. This was one of my main reasons for traveling as a flight down to Brazil or Australia definitely short circuits the four seasons model. Regardless of location, we all witness as winter (death) transforms to spring (life) as we power back into high gear. Keep providing those of us with cabin fever great content.


  3. Beautiful podcast and great comment by Bosch.

    I may have mentioned it before, but I love the judicious use of the word “chicken shit.”
    No one talks like that anymore. 🙂

    Biutiful sounds like what films are supposed to be. Can’t wait to see it.

    Rewatched The Grey last night. Dang movie gets me every time. Not sure if you watched through the end credits (I only did after googling the movie), but there is a 1-2 second clip which refers back to a scene at the beginning of the movie. It gives a brief glimpse of what happened in the final moments.

    Bardem’s character in Biutiful sounds like a complicated person, as were many of the characters in The Grey. Complicated in the sense that they were rough around the edges – not saints – but as you saw when Neeson was looking at the wallets they all had children or people they loved. Relationships that kept them striving to survive. Complicated isn’t the right word. Maybe they were just people. You live long enough and you get wounded in one way or another – and wound others in turn. We all end up a little frayed or rough around the edges eventually, but deep down I hope most of us possess a nobility of spirit, as you put it – at least the ones reading your work! 🙂

    Loved your line about how you die is as important as how you live. I never thought of it in those terms.


    Liked by 1 person

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