The meaning of life and associated questions...

Hello everyone,
Interesting title don’t you think?  As I have ample time on my hands, I often have time to ponder questions of such gravity and magnitude.  Most of the time though, the associated questions are enough to occupy me; questions such as, is it true that no matter what height you drop a cat from, it will survive?!

Occasionally however, I have a conversation which starts with innocent enough beginnings but culminates in my consideration of far loftier topics.  A particular friend of mine has a unique talent for challenging thoughts which for years have been cast in stone.  I was so challenged earlier this evening.  Prior to the conversation, I felt fatigued, cold and with the onset of what could have been a sore throat. During the conversation I felt misunderstood, upset, frustrated and on occasion angry.

Now I am feeling invigorated, satisfied, completely understood and not a hint of a sore throat. The content of our conversation is not for public consumption, as it is not pertinent to the thought I wish to leave you with. I merely want to convey that asking and being asked questions of a probing and personal nature, particularly ones which are emotionally difficult to pose or answer, are necessary in order to live a full and honest life. I sincerely hope that all of you have such a person that can help you in the search for the meaning of your life. The gems of revelation are often quite surprising.

If you want to ask me anything now is the time.
Much love,
Neil x

P.S Answers to the cat question on a postcard!


Neil had started to ask for private conversations with family and friends, he wanted to have a final one-to-one. His diagnosis affected all of those who loved him in different ways. Some people would come to the house and cry with him, some people would laugh with him and cry their tears at home. Some people had difficulty in understanding the reality that was unfolding and looked to me for hope. I couldn’t give it to them. Others just got it, accepted it, and tried to help Neil on his way to accepting it, but sadly this never happened. Neil would never accept leaving us.

There started to be a lot of talk of ‘acceptance’ in the house, from friends, from family and from health professionals. Had Neil found acceptance yet? The next word that kept appearing was ‘permission’. Had I given him my permission to go? Had I told him that I didn’t want him suffering for me and let him know that he was free to go?

Again, if it were just Neil and myself in a bubble with Oscar, then maybe these things would not have occurred to me, maybe the fact that we understood each other would have been enough, and these questions would never have been necessary. It felt a little like someone else had set the morning alarm clock and it would have been nicer to sleep in a little longer and wake up naturally.

Each and every conversation in the house at this time had it’s place; with tears or laughter, questions or a wild stab at answers. There are lots of ways to let someone know you love them, Neil recognised them all no matter what form they took. – Louise (2013)

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@breathingfilm tweeted this page. 2013-06-12 21:01:00 +0100
Today's #Plattitude revisited: Neil starts to have final one-to-one conversations with family and friends. #MND #ALS
Film by Emma Davie & Morag McKinnon
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