I don’t want to die but I will. Perhaps I’m deluding myself but I think I’ve always known that I will die. Sounds strange but I do not have children so I’ve not witnessed another begin to understand this reality. For me it’s similar to swimming, I don’t remember learning to swim but swim I can. Don’t remember learning about death, but its just there.
Strange how varied people’s experiences are. My norm is reading about how people develop, a favorite John Waters quote,
“And for god's sake, don't let me ever hear you say, "I can't read fiction. I only have time for the truth." Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of "literature"? That means fiction, too, stupid”
Thank you Mr. Waters.
In my former life, I spent a great deal of time talking about death. If you meet someone in an ER after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, then you talk about death. Conversing with almost any person wrestling with mental health issues, you talk about the meaning of life and the meaning of death (and sometimes how Pink Floyd songs guide their days – fascinating topic). Mental well-being and contemplating the meaning of life and inevitably death go hand in hand.
In social engagements people stutter when they encounter my unique brand of honesty. Lately I’ve witnessed the lead balloon of death and dying in social discourse. I try not to bring it up – but sometimes mental musings just fly out my mouth. Often I pretend to look around and ask, “Who said that?” but it’s usually just me. Awkward pauses abound in my social interactions.
I need a poll, how often do others think about death and not in a horribly destructive manner but more “I’m going to do die so how should that inform how I live? And how should I prepare for it”. Just wonder if others are adequately prepared. Not like I know the when and the wheres of it but if anything happens to me, my sister will be devastated so I would like to make all the crappy decision stuff go easy for her. And I’m controlling, pretty adamant, about certain issues, like don’t put my in a casket in the ground – on so many levels that freaks me out. And pooh on people saying, I won’t know so why should I care, well I do so there.
So for all of the above, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande is dear to my heart. I want to ‘force’ everyone who is going to die to read it. Particularly anyone rages on about ‘death panels’, anyone who has health insurance or doesn’t, and everyone who has a say in Medicare and insurance, and just everyone. My most sought after, dreamed of super power is to fly but if I could control others I would force them to read. Damn!