Tuesday, July 26, 2016

We have become comfortable with the idea that we're going to die

In the past few years, most especially in the last ten years since Cliff had open-heart surgery, he and I have talked openly about our own deaths with no problem.  I rather like being comfortable with death, as opposed to being filled with dread at the very thought.  

I recall when my parents got to this point:  They bought their tombstones and had them placed on the graves they'd previously purchased.  In fact, Mother took pictures of their future resting-place that she took pride in showing friends and relatives.  The only thing lacking was the date-of-death on the headstones... and of course their bodies, their earthen vessels, not yet laying beneath the sod.

Mother really got carried away:  She wrote her own obituary, designated who would sing at her funeral (20 years later he couldn't be located), and even picked out the songs for her funeral.

This seemed odd to me, at the time, but I can't say it really freaked me out.  It just seemed silly.  
I have no memorial-service plans; I leave that to those left behind.  I've told them to just do whatever makes them feel best.  I don't really care what anybody does with my ashes, either.  I do have just the slightest desire for someone to put a headstone in the town cemetery with mine and Cliff's name, so anyone walking by it will realize we once existed.  I've always loved strolling through graveyards, reading the names and dates.  However, I won't know about it, so if they want to skip it, that's OK with me too.  Here's a little video I took while riding my horse, Blue (may he rest in peace), through the Wellington cemetery.  The song is written and sung by Loudon Wainwright III.  

But I digress...

I get up hours earlier than Cliff, and it isn't uncommon for me, as I pass through the bedroom, to check and see if he's still breathing.  He's done the same with me, he says.  Because even though we aren't all that old (71 and 72, I'm the oldest), we know it could (will?) happen that one morning, either of us might have shuffled off this moral coil while the other was sleeping.  Now, if I think too much about this as I pause to listen for Cliff's breathing, it does freak me out a little:  What if, this time, he IS dead?  ACK!  

Here's what really amuses me:  No relatives want to hear us say anything that suggests we don't plan on living forever.  The oldest grandson thinks it's downright morbid to mention the farm sale that will be held after either or both of us die.  Cliff has not-so-young relatives that are just as bad... "I know I'm going to die, but I don't want to talk about it."

So, talking about death will make it happen?  Really?  

I don't know where I was going with this entry.  I guess I'm just putting words to my thoughts to see if I can figure out why anybody past the age of sixty wouldn't want to face reality and get comfortable with the idea of death.  

Once you have accepted that a person's life on this earth doesn't last that long, you can wake up every morning thanking God for just one more day, knowing we have a limited number of days.  Why go around trembling and sticking your head in the sand every time somebody mentions a thing that is going to happen to all of us?

Donna Wood 12/15/2015
With thanks to Tai Sheridan for the thoughts

Embrace what lies ahead of you.
Enjoy the earth and sky.
Don't clench your fists and cling to things:
Relax. You're going to die.

Whatever comes your way, accept.
Let others ask the “why”.
Don't fight a thing that's part of life:
Relax. You're going to die.

You truly won the lottery
With your first, newborn cry.
There's nothing left for you to fear:

Relax. You're going to die.


Paula said...

We bought our plots when I was pregnant with our youngest daughter sight unseen in a nice cemetery near where we lived. we made monthly payments. When they were paid for we started on payments for the funerals. The eerie part for me was picking out a casket in a room full of them. When we paid these off about two months later Mel died. It was so good to have everything planned and paid for and hassle free.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It's always a surprise to me to wake up and find out I'm still here. It is a gift and the older we get, the more we treasure each new day.

Sister--Three said...

So true!

Back Porch Writer said...

Well, it is true. I guess the real thing is no one wants to face it. To go in one's sleep would be most peaceful. But to go later, is what we think will be best, as opposed to sooner. If one is a child of the Lord's, to go sooner might not be a bad thing except for those left behind. Not everyone could blog about the topic. I'm a Christian but still dread it. I worry also did I do everything right, could I have done more? Am I really in the narrow path that makes it to paradise or do I just hope I do? Anyway, nice entry. Glad you are still here. I will miss you, your humor, your truth, and your posts when you go. ;-) I guess that was ok to say since you are ok with the topic. ha!

Mary Degli Esposti said...

Donna, I've been gone for quite a while from the blog world & just starting reading others, then writing a blog again. Your blog & Rachel's I have missed. I hope Rachel is well & enjoying life.

There are many things about life I cannot accept, but that I am going to die, Oh Yeah. I don't have children or grandchildren though. You don't worry a tiny bit about them, After Donna? ~justmary(from wayyy back)


Donna Wood said...

Trust me, I have so little influence on my children and grandchildren, it won't even make the slightest wave when I leave. That isn't to say they don't care, but none of them are influenced by me. And that's probably a good thing.