I visited my grandmother on wednesday for the first time since she was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. She's heavily medicated, and in surprisingly good spirits considering she's dying, but something I've noticed of late is that while she talks (rambling is one of her favorite things lately), some shockingly profound things are said.
I already knew she's an intelligent and wise woman, but this is something that I think transcends just Grandmum. My uncle (my mother's oldest brother) has been taking care of his mother in law who has Alzheimer's, and according to him, she says some wonderfully interesting things. About people and about life.
Not so long ago, people connected things like epilepsy to clairvoyance (which I've just contemplated through its roots in French, and now I feel kind of like an idiot), and I'm beginning to associate infirmity with honesty.
We discussed this idea in my Shakespeare class this last semester when we read Hamlet. Ophelia was freed by her madness even as it destroyed her; at the beginning of the play she was repressed and isolated, but when her ties to reality and relationships are finally severed by Hamlet's paranoia, she's totally free to speak the truth to Gertrude, Laertes, Claudius, and Hamlet.
So perhaps it's proximity to death that leads to this outpouring of profundity. Possibly because when the ties to this world start loosening, you can look with something more like hindsight and objectivity.
Either way, something I've observed.
Also something I never want to experience. I intend to die long before I get old. And I want it to me hit by surprise.