Thursday, October 9, 2008

This is the only today we'll ever have!

I've spent some time appreciating life today.

My 84 year old uncle isn't doing well. It's amazing that he's lived this long since he's had five heart attacks, several mini-strokes and only 30% of his heart is functioning. But up until the past few days, he's had good quality of life. Yesterday he said he wished he would die. I find that astounding! I can't imagine being okay with dying, let alone wishing it would happen. I've got too many books too read and too much yarn stash to knit. How bad would it have to get before I wanted to die? Well, maybe if I couldn't read or knit, but even then, I don't know.

The elderly seem to have this acceptance of death that I can't get my head wrapped around. I wonder if there's something that happens in the brain at around age 70 that makes people comfortable with the idea that they won't be around forever. I wonder if I'll ever get comfortable with it, or will I fight it tooth and nail right to my death bed.

I don't have many fears... really only three: falling, bathrooms without windows (I'll explain that another time) and death. I think I love living too much (is that possible?) and there are so many things I want to try and do. I love the change in seasons, and I can't imagine not seeing the next one. I want to see my daughter's children and maybe their children. I really wouldn't have to do anything different; I could just keep living the way I do now, and I'm happy to just exist in these surroundings doing what I do.

When filling out a Living Will, I feel torn. While I wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially, I don't want to die either. I told Sweetie that if I'm ever in a coma to lean down right next to my ear and shout loudly, "Wake up!!!!" I'm sure if my brain is working at all, I'll give him a sign... an eyelid flutter, a twitch, something.

Since I fear death, I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about it. I'd rather spend the time thinking about how great it is to be alive... to feel the warmth of a hug, to smell food cooking, to hear my daughter's laughter, to taste... well... almost anything. We'd should all spend more time celebrating life and being present in the moment. We usually rush through our days getting from one chore or activity to another, but we should stop to really savor the taste of our food, listen to the birds, and linger a moment over that hug or kiss.

1 comment:

She sure is strange! said...

Oh my gosh I totally understand this!

We lost my grandmother in February of 2005, my mom's oldest sister in May of the same year, and my grandfather in April of 2007. I have been thinking of death for a while now and have the exact same feelings you do.

Both of my grandparents had dementia but my aunt had a staph infection on her kidney. When they removed it a clot formed and went into her heart. She wasn't exactly healthy before all this but she was still mentally with it and was terrified she'd die if she had the surgery for the infection.

I do NOT want to die any time soon. I have high blood pressure(controlled by drugs) and am overweight but I'm trying to lose and get off the meds. It does scare me to be over 40 and have health issues.

In one of her lucid moments, my grandmother told my mom and aunt that she wished God didn't let people suffer on with dementia or other illnesses. She wished that when our turn was up we'd just be called home and die instantly. She hated being the way she was.

Don't think about it, there is too much living to do!!

Molly

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