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  • (Music) Philip: In six weeks time I will be dead. I will be cremated. I will face huge

  • fear. But it is an extraordinary experience. This is the most exciting and the most extraordinary

  • journey of my life. My only regret is it ends. I'd like to be on this journey with you almost

  • forever and a day. Adrian: I was asked to shoot an intimate portrait of a man that I

  • didn't know. I knew that he was ill but I really wasn't sure what to expect. Philip:

  • It's only when they say, you know, "Philip Gould, you're going to die, get used to it

  • - in weeks or months". It's only when that happens that you're aware of death. And only

  • when that happens that also life screams at you in its intensity.

  • I saw my children born. I saw them born, and I saw the incredible, massive potential of

  • that moment. And when my father died and the air left his body, it was as powerful as the

  • air entering the bodies of my daughters.

  • And I knew the purpose here now was to give as much love as I could to people who mattered

  • to me, even though I was dying. And my life became death. It gained a kind of quality

  • and power that it never had before. It entered a new zone which was the death zone. Just

  • a second, it's my wife. Hi darling.

  • Yeah, are you okay with all this, darling? It's lovely. I feel good. It's going to be

  • beautiful there and I'm going to love it.

  • Adrian: After an intense, intimate discussion, Philip and I decided to shoot his portrait

  • at Highgate Cemetery on his own grave.

  • Philip: Only when you accept death can you free yourself from it, can you deal with it,

  • can you move forward from it. So acceptance is the absolute key. At that moment, you gain

  • freedom and you gain power and you gain courage. This is it. This is going to be, you know,

  • my home for an eternity. I do really feel in my mind I've reframed it. I've changed

  • it. It's not some gloomy, ghastly thing. I just think this is such a wonderful, wonderful

  • idea, this community of the living and the dead. And I have no fear at all that I go

  • to this. I'm happy about it. I feel a sense almost of optimism about it, almost looking

  • forward to it as the next stage, and certainly very, very comfortable. You sort of think

  • "God, I'm scared, I'm a coward." I thought I was a coward. I was the kind of guy who

  • was kind of too frightened to go too fast on a bike in the evening time. You think "I

  • can't do this. I can't do chemotherapy. It's too painful. It's too horrible." But you do

  • it. And then they say "By the way, mate, you're not going to have a stomach. And you'll never

  • eat normally, ever again." And you kind of get used to it. And then you sort of think

  • "Actually, every single thing they throw at you, you can do it."

  • I had my wife and my children there for me at this moment because I am defining myself

  • now, through death. I'm giving meaning to myself, through death. Without that, I do

  • not know what I would do. I rely upon them enormously, almost completely. I try and lead

  • then. I try and inspire them. I try and show strength.

  • Adrian: Philip asked me to help convey his message. To help him share with other people

  • what he was going through.

  • Philip: I had a couple of really tough nights. My breathing was bad. My coughing was bad.

  • Everything was bad. And Gail was in a bad state too. And then I just lay there and thought

  • "Okay, this is bad but this is death. And as long as I look death in the eye, and as

  • long as I accept that I can choose the death that I seek and the death that I choose, I

  • have some freedom here. I have some power here. I have some possibility to shape for

  • myself my own death." And at that moment, I have a kind of freedom.

  • I feel very calm. I feel rare rest. I have found the experience of the last few weeks

  • to be as good as it's possible to have an experience to be since I have entered this

  • so-called death zone.

  • I've had more moments of happiness in the last five months than perhaps the last few

  • years. More moments of a kind of private ecstasy than really for many years. I just feel at

  • one with the world.

  • The thing I'd like to say to my daughters is I love them. And the thing I'd lie to say

  • to my wife is I'm sorry I let you down, but my God, you are fantastic. And I'm not letting

  • you down now. And you will have the best life afterwards, I believe. I love them all. That's

  • what I want to say to them.

(Music) Philip: In six weeks time I will be dead. I will be cremated. I will face huge

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A2 BEG UK death philip adrian zone feel kind

When I Die : Lessons from the Death Zone

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    paulff2007   posted on 2016/09/11
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