Dying! I hesitate to write a post on dying. Mostly because I am not planning on it anytime soon, and I am so grateful to be alive. But also because it is an uncomfortable topic.
I am not sure why death and dying has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe I am getting to an age where life is appreciated more.
*More of my friends and family are developing scary illnesses.
*My parents are aging.
*Celebrities that I watched on tv as a child are now passing away….and I wonder ‘hmmm when did they become 83 years old, how can that be”?
I wonder if it is normal to start to think about dying when we hit midlife. While I really want to enjoy my life, I also want to be prepared for what comes next. I want to clarify… I am healthy, I don’t have any bad habits that are proven to shorten life expectancy, and I don’t usually participate in life threatening activities. But the reality is that we just never know what lies in the cards for us. We can live to be 107 or we can be hit by a bus tomorrow. Probably not me… because I am rarely anywhere where I see buses, but you know what I mean. We just never know.
I do not want to live my life in fear of dying. I do find death and dying is a not a topic that many people want to talk about. I didn’t really either when I was younger. Dying was something that happened to other people, old people, but not to me. But now, in my 50’s I am starting to realise that dying is inevitable. Just like the wrinkles and age spots that I never thought that I would develop. I am in a couple of midlife groups, and so many of the women have such bad health anxiety, that it’s almost as if they have a hang nail, they are posting about how they are sure they dying and wonder if they should call the Dr. and start making plans because ‘ they have no one to look after them if they are sick’. I truly do not want to be that person. I really want to get to the point where I know it is inevitable, I am ready and to be ok with that.
As the world changes so much, and often not for the good, I often wonder if old people find it a relief to know that they won’t need to spend much more time in this craziness? I wonder if they watch the morning news and think….. ” thank goodness I won’t be around to see the disasterous long term results of the idiot running our country”. ( I am Canadian, in case you wonder which idiot I refer to). I am only in my 50’s and I sit there thinking ” The Federal budget will not be balanced for another 42 years…. there is a good chance that I will not see that happen”.
I think what scares me the most is not death. It is the time leading up to death, assuming that I live to old age.
The reality is, with everything costing more and more, I seriously consider whether we can afford to live to be a ripe old age? I don’t think we can. We keep trying to save more and more retirement money. But at what point do we lose a quality of LIFE now because we are so worried about saving enough to survive if we make it to 100 when we are totally unable to work. Because right now it is looking like we will be working up until exactly 2 days before we die. That’s how much we have in our retirement plan. I think we get caught up in planning and saving that we miss out on doing things while we are young and able.
Even though my life is quieter now than it used to be, I certainly don’t regret some of the fun I had when I was younger, and I am glad I didn’t waste all my time being responsible and getting to bed early instead of dancing all night long. It has been said “we can’t be old and wise without being young and stupid”. I hope I still feel that way when I am 97 and eating cat food….
I am also afraid of illness. I am not so much afraid of being sick and knowing my days are limited, but instead I am afraid of what it will do to those around me. I have watched a love one die, and I know how emotionally hard it is on the ones sitting at the bedside, and eventually left to mourn. I really would feel bad about putting them through that. BUT I also believe there is so much to be learned in that time….forgiveness, living life to the fullest while we can, and create great memories and finding our purpose while we are alive, that it probably is very valuable as well.
Other cultures see death as sacred. Maybe it is the way that our society looks at death, especially if you were raised learning about heaven and hell, the lake of fire and living the rest of eternity burning in the this molton lava lake that gives us so much fear of dying. Have I been ‘good enough’ to make it to the pearly gates? Have I been ‘good enough’ to hear golden harps, wear white robes and have chubby baby cherubs floating around us? I was raised in a cult, and I was certainly taught some crazy things…as I also imagine most Christians are. I guess the absolute truth is no one knows what happens. I really hope it is as blissful as we have a whole greeting party of all those who went before us. I know that I am looking forward to hopefully being greeted by my dad who I lost when I was 6, and whole lot of other people who meant the world to me.
I wonder if I am starting to think more about dying and death now, because I realise how fast time goes. 30 years goes by in the blink of an eye. My hope is that I am here for another 30 years…which means I will be at my granddaughters 40th birthday party! But I go to every birthday party she has now, in case I am not.
I am at the point where I want to spend as much time with those I love as I can.
I want to finally quite sweating the small stuff.
‘Things’ matter less and less. What matters now is time and experiences.
Happiness matters more than my need to be right.
Health matters more than ever. I eat very healthy to hopefully heal all those bad habits of the past. I do try to avoid all the things that are known carcinogens.
I think about the legacy I want to leave, which I have written about before. While I probably wont be remembered for my powerful empire, I do want to be remembered for my incredible love for my family, babies and puppies.
I want to heal some relationships with family, or at least know I tried my best. I can not really control their journey to peace about death.
I want to quit trying to control that which I can’t control. I can only control myself, my habits, my thoughts, my motives and my behaviour.
These are some of the things I want to achieve before I die. I hope I still have a few years to get them done.
Anyway… I would love to hear your thoughts on death and dying. If you have them, or am I the only one??