Thursday, February 9, 2012

My demise

It's been four-and-a-half years since I wrote this for my Words of a Wordsmith blog, and Nancy @ Bookfoolery and Babble and I just re-read it yesterday (long story).  What got to both of us was the comment left by Dewey that took our breath away.  First, I'll copy the post, then I'll get to Dewey's comment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Earlier today, I posted this comment on Colleen's Loose Leaf Notes blog, in response to what she had written about death.
Colleen, I think we all "want to KNOW what happens next."   When I was 14, I wrote a poem for a neighbor who was worried about death (sorry, I don't know where that notebook is, so I can't share the poem with you).  Because of that woman, who is still alive today, I have thought carefully about death for over half a century.   One thing I have noticed is that older people don't seem to fear death as much as younger people.   Of course, there are exceptions, but I have reached a point that I am ready to discover whatever that adventure is that takes me beyond this that we know.  I doubt if any of our religions have it figured out, but it does seem likely to me that there is something more.  And this is my thinking:

(1) Things we need for life (like air, food, shelter, warm sunshine) are available for us in this life.
(2) That sounds like something GOOD to me.
(3) Why would that change when we make the next transition?
(4) Therefore, whatever we need after death will be available for us then.
(5) When the elderly die, they are usually less physically able than when they were young and virile ... and some are diseased or injured or in great pain.
(6) When an injured or very sick person dies, people often say, "At least he isn't suffering any more." (And most of us would even put an animal out of its misery.)
(7) Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I have heard people say, "Now she is able to walk again ... and even dance!" Or, "Now he is able to use his legs again!"
(8) Therefore, death is not a bad thing, but could be seen as something good ... like moving on to something better.
Okay, this is kind of unorthodox, but it's my thinking at this point in my life. And I don't dread what's beyond our present KNOWING. I'm not rushing toward it, since I want to experience all I can HERE before moving on, but I do look forward to it as a positive thing.

Curious about when you'll die? I'm not, really, but I'm posting this for the shock value.  According to The Death Clock, my "personal day of death" is September 4, 2034. This seems a bit odd, especially since all three of my children are "supposed" to die in the same decade.

I have posted this because I'm curious about what others might say about death and dying. Please leave a comment, even if you are a stranger to me. This is something that affects all of us.

If you want a tombstone, google "tombstone generator" and you'll get at least these two that I found.   Now I guess I should REALLY decide what I would want mine to say, huh?   I like the looks of the top photo, but I couldn't get as many words on it as on the bottom one.

UPDATE (still August 21, 2007):   And now I've got the cause of death all figured out, too.

UPDATE (February 1, 2008):   I went back to check that Death Clock again, and now it says I'm gonna die on Monday, July 8, 2019. Hey! That's a full 15 years earlier than it told me in August! I must be going downhill fast.

UPDATE (February 9, 2012):  I had bypass surgery a year later, so I really was getting worse.  So I tried the Death Clock again today, just before posting this, and got — this is spooky — July 8, 2019.

The concersation begins here.

August 22, 2007
Nicky @ Absolute Vanilla said:
Such an interesting post, Bonnie, I'm with you on most of it. I do believe death is the doorway to the next big adventure - or maybe its the doorway to home. I don't think it's anything we need to be afraid of - it's as natural as being born. Given that it is inevitable, I always wonder why we are socialised to fear it so - it doesn't really make sense. Funnily, enough, my post today is a sort of "short story" about encountering death.
August 25, 2007
Carole said:
Thinking of death to some may be morbid to others the body is just a shell and the soul goes on to another passage of time, is how I am looking at life here on earth. I have requested cremation, so I can have my ashes scattered in some nice place along a highway where I can fly all around the country seeing sites I will never see in this shell of a body, and be free to have no time on travel. When I think of my body decomposing in a box underground it sends chills up my spine.

I do not remember ever being afraid of death even when I was young; thinking of death is just another footstep of life, as we know it. Sometimes pain here on earth is so dramatic to our loved one that death is good. Putting down a beloved pet is good, sorrow, longing, grief, regret, pain, unhappiness are all words we use to describe life, while our society looks at suicide as being wrong. Perhaps here is where I have a problem with religious beliefs, until I walk in another person's shoes how am I to judge what another human being feels is my thoughts on the subject of suicide. Once again I think of those beautiful puffy white clouds rolling across the prairie knowing how at times those loved ones of mine are close enough to talk to and find myself speaking of them or feeling their presents here next to me and that makes me feel good.
August 26, 2007
Dewey @ The Hidden Side of a Leaf (since dismantled) said:
I'm completely comfortable with not trying to form an opinion about what happens after death. I figure if we were supposed to know, we'd know. I'm ok with waiting for the surprise (or lack thereof). I find that's not a very common viewpoint, though.

I think your point about older people not fearing death so much is related to pain and illness. I think those of us who have experienced long-term serious pain and/or illness feel that there are things worse than death. I know that if I were given the choice of being raped (for example) or having a quick bullet to the head, I surely would choose death.
February 8, 2012 (yesterday)
My online conversation with Nancy/Bookfool:
Bonnie:   I did find this "Discussion about Death" on my Words from a Wordsmith blog, and one who shared her ideas about death was Dewey.

Nancy:   Oh, wow. I just read your post and the comments. Dewey's comment along with the knowledge of her death . . . that just took my breath away.

Bonnie:  Yeah, it does, doesn't it?  Dewey died 15 months after writing that comment about death.  I was struck by this line which tells me more now than it did then:  "... those of us who have experienced long-term serious pain and/or illness ..."  I knew her doctor told her to take a year off from teaching, but I didn't really know how sick she was — I didn't know her pain.
So let's talk about it.  What do you think about death?  Or about Dewey and how you remember her?  Or about getting the same date years later, like this:


Helen's Book Blog said...

Let me be honest, when other people die I am sad, sometime heartbroken, sometimes stunned. But I also feel that death is hard on the living, not the dead or dying. The living are the ones who are left here with the memories and the sadness.

I never feared death. Until I had a child I had a feeling I would die at 56. Once my child was born that feeling went away. Very strange.

I just did the death clock and don't like the answer: October 1, 2044 (my daughter's 44th Birthday). I will be only 79. That is way too early!

I now fear death because it means leaving my daughter without a mother. As a single mom who has full custody the thought scares me to death (no pun intended). Perhaps as she gets older and more able to fend for herself my fear will lessen.

(Bonnie, I cannot choose to receive follow up comments...)

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Oh, Helen! I hope "now" doesn't mean you fear death because you did the death clock thing. Or do you mean you have felt this way ever since you became a single mom?

(I don't know what to tell you about being unable to receive follow-up comments. Blogger must be acting up, if you normally are able to request email follow-up. In your case, since we are friends and I know your email address, I'll send you all follow-ups. If you comment here again, try again to see if it works as it should.)