Since then, I have been thinking about death and dying. More accurately, I have been thinking about my own obituary and eulogy. Don’t be alarmed, I don’t think I have an impending doom…in fact, I think I am only half way through my life and will live until I am 120 years old. However, what I do want, is to “own” what is said about me after I die. Is that an unreasonable request? Somehow, it seems wrong to me that each of us cannot contribute to our own “celebration of life”, in a meaningful and honest way.
So often, the reality of one’s life is not represented in the most truthful manner. How often do we hear platitudes paid, that don’t truly reflect the life that has just passed away?
I often think about the death of my mother. I truly believe that she was fortunate to know that she was about to die and therefore, was able to contribute to the planning of her “life celebration ceremony”. She had had a progressive illness for more than 8 years. In the last 3 of those 8 years, the quality of her life was so diminished it was terrible to watch her shrinking liveliness. Without going into details here and now, suffice to say that the decision to stop the treatment that was maintaining her being “alive”, was made with great sensitivity and consideration of her readiness to go.
I often reflect how I believe she was fortunate to say goodbyes to 6 grandchildren who she totally adored. She got to eat foods that had been forbidden for many years. She spent quiet and calm time with my sisters and I. She was able to tell us the things she did and did not want in her funeral ceremony.
Barb loved music and at one stage my sisters and I had to advise her that we were not planning a disco and many of her chosen songs would be impossible to add to the playlist!
Yes, the tangible grief of those present at the funeral was sad. Sadness for the loss that each person felt, that she was longer around. Barb was not sad. She was finally at peace and rest. Yes, she was blessed.
So how many people really think this through? How many people actually have their wishes respected? Why don’t we talk more openly about death and dying? Why are we reluctant to ensure those around us, know what we want?
We are not morbid about this dialogue in our house. The conversation has been upbeat and alive; as we make sure we know what each other want. In fact, some of the innovative ideas that Tez has suggested are really not feasible.
At least, we are having the chat.