The last hurrah, the closing bell, the graveyard shift. If you are alive, you know death awaits. We are all born with a death sentence. We just don’t get to know the circumstances, the method, or how much it will hurt. All human life that is capable of forming a thought, has an opinion on death. A lot of people have said to me, I hope I die in my sleep, I just wanna go to sleep, maybe even have plans for the next day, and simply never wake up. Personally I feel that dying is last thing I get to do in this body, so I want to be wide awake and aware of what’s happening.
We all know someone who has died. Quite a lot of people have had near death experiences, and most walk away with a renewed sense of wanting life, if they survive to live again. It’s the one sure thing that idles in the background of each individual life and it’s the one thing most folks won’t talk about. Expiration, decease, departure, demise, passing over, eternal rest, just to name a few terms we are scared to face, but it doesn’t matter, you will die anyway, scared or not, want to or not, doesn’t matter. So, in light of this predicament, can we talk about it?
A dear friend of mine is old, unwell, on medications, can’t move or take care of herself. She is facing the end. She says she is ready to go, that she has had enough of the torment of a pain filled life and she is ready to get out. I sat with her yesterday, maybe more for me than for her, I’m not sure. I did not want her to eventually become so incapacitated that she and I couldn’t even talk. So I went and sat. She spoke of her dear daughter who has dropped everything in her life to care for this sweet friend of mine. I could tell she has some guilt over all this care and attention, having always been a bull of a little lady, raising kids, helping neighbors, stretching a buck to oblivion for her family, her life. All she can do now is sit in the chair and let people help her. She is one of the lucky ones to have her daughter and the ability to stay in her own home. One of the lucky few.
My grandmother is 92, Grandpa died three years ago, she has dementia and alzheimers, and she lives in a small group home for oldsters on the way out. As far as old folks homes go, this one is fairly decent and seems to be taking pretty good care of her. It was the only thing my grandpa was concerned about as he lay dying, that she be well taken care for the rest of her life. No-one and nothing else mattered but that and that is how he lived his life too, he did almost everything for her and now she doesn’t even know he’s dead. She thinks he is picking her up later to take her back home. She waits by door and she had to have an ankle monitor put on her so she couldn’t slip out the door looking for him. She thinks he doesn’t know where she is and she frets over this feeling constantly.
My plan for old age is to stay in my home for as long as I can, hopefully until the very end.I have decided that I will live to one hundred and six years of age and will be spry mentally and physically until my last days or hours, and I want to be fully awake when I pass over because I know that when this body dies, my soul lives on eternally. My fondest desire is that upon seeing where I am headed I can say to my loved ones, I see it! I see it it’s real! All is well, do not fear it, embrace it for it is where the next chapter begins. I am not married, no boyfriend, I have a sister and a mom and a daughter and some dear friends and if they are able to be by my side at the end, I want to assure them of what happens next that is so totally fantastic and wonderful, that I will be fine, they will be fine, all is well.
I don’t think death is a sad thing. I feel it is a paradise, this passing into a parting, a quietus release to afterlife where all the questions are no longer relevant, only silent repose where you can finally hear the stardust that calls your name. I firmly believe in eternity and I assert that we all elected to come here to this realm and take on these human bodies which are just so extraordinary and special. We all have deeply hidden knowledge and remembrance of our ancient home and if we did remember it here, it would only serve to cause anxiety, because if you feel like you are not home then you are restless, dissatisfied with what you are experiencing, but after death…well then we get to remember what we forgot. Awesome.
I don’t know why I am so sure of all this but I am sure of it. When I was younger I feared death, I couldn’t even think about it without losing my shit. Then I had my daughter and I became unshakeable in the face of eternal rest. I did not want her to be afraid so I was a lion, unwavering in my courage. I wanted to pass this victorious outlook to her, but alas, she was afraid anyway. As an adult, she does not want to talk about anything having to do with death, all made the more impossible when I contracted cancer two years ago.
I hope that when it’s your turn to buy the farm, to go to the great beyond, to take a permanent dirt nap, that you will be overjoyed by what you encounter ‘over there’. I hope you don’t spend your whole life living in fear of death either. No, you are simply supposed to live your life, go about doing good and as little harm as possible, practicing forgiveness and gratitude and valuing yourself and all life, for as long as you shall live. For me, I’ll see you in fifty three years……