Tuesday, June 09, 2015

What? Where? and When?

                               Night-blooming cereus that lives at bloom for less then 24 hours!

As we all approach a "certain" age, facing mortality becomes a fact of life, unfortunately.  It can happen as one turns 50, as it did for me.  Or it can happen off and on as a dear friend or companion passes on.

So far this year, seven people I knew have passed on.  Two in the last month.  I hate to admit this, but, I'm slightly freaked out.  The fact is, all were younger then I!

Seriously, I don't think it is fair that we don't know what we're going to die from.  Where we're going to be when "it" happens or when.  Do we have a day, a week, a month or several years left?  It sure would help in the planning process.

When news came yesterday that a dynamic, exuberant woman that I recently met passed on this weekend after only having been sick for a few days, my world was shaken at the loss and at the consequences.

It has caused me to not eat the healthy salad that I started to order at lunch yesterday, but, instead to eat the Tex-Mex enchiladas that I so love at Milagros.  Silly, I know, but what the heck!

What's the point?  How doe one resolve the helpless feeling that no matter what you do - be good, or not, be healthy or not - the result is the same in the end.  I know, live each day as if it is the only one.  But that thought gets old after a while. 

It's a heavy thing to contemplate.  If you have got some wise words or ways that you have come to peace with this, I sure would like to hear it.  I'm sure others would as well.

Yes, actually, I have accepted my mortality some day, but I would rather know the date, time and place for planning purposes.  Yes, I know that's silly and humorous, but true.

29 comments:

Joan said...

The only comfort is the love we have and had and hopefully
will have more of someday somewhere and of course that's
the point. Lately I've been thinking, no sooner do you have
what you love then it starts leaving you and then I realized
even then it never really leaves.
Have I confused you enough?!
Joan

Babs said...

No Joan, you haven't confused me. I think that
is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

Jeff said...

Hi Barbara:

You can have peace with your concerns regarding your passing on. Please check out this link:

http://www.fellowshiptractleague.org/plan_of_salvation.html

Take care & God bless,
Jeff

Barbara Lane said...

I'm not at all afraid of death - I'm curious as to what it's like on the other side more than anything else. It's the dying I want to wrap up in a neat little package - no one wants to linger and suffer and become a burden. If it comes to it, once it's gone downhill to where I'm dependent and my quality of life isn't good and isn't going to get better what's the point? When one dies immediately - in sleep, of a heart attack, etc. I call it drawing The Mercy Card. Here and then poof! not. No suffering, no lingering, no distressing your family and friends and causing financial peril. I do want to be fully present, however, when I cross over, vs. drugged for pain or whatever because I want to fully experience it. Unlike you I'd not want to know - I think I'd be too preoccupied with that date. Though like you I've had numerous friends and family go - 64 (yes - 64!) in the last ten years. Only about fifteen of those were older than me.

But I believe when it's our time it's our time - that there's no such thing as having "died before her time", whether that's at one, ten, twenty, fifty, eighty, or one hundred. We're here as both students and teachers and when our contract (so to speak) is fulfilled we're gone. And I believe our lessons and teachings continue right up through our last breath. Sort of birth in reverse - death is moving back through the veil through which we came. Euripides said in the year 430, "Who knows but life be that which men call death, and death what men call life?"

There is no end. Like water changes form - ocean, rain, mist, fog, ice, rivers, and so on, our energy simply changes form as well. A card I was given when my mother died says, "...Her diminished size is in me, not her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she's gone," there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

I like to think so.

gringosuelto said...

Live long, and die suddenly is my wish for everyone. I have a great-aunt who spent the last dozen years of her life in a nursing home, suffering from dementia and surrounded by folks with the same problem. To me, her life ended when she entered that institution, not when she finally died.

I hope I can avoid that fate, though there's dementia on both side of my long-lived family. So instead, I think I will follow the plan of Maude from the film, Harold and Maude, which you really should see if you haven't.

And if you too follow Maude's plan, you can know your time, place, and cause of death.

Because you will have planned it yourself.

Saludos,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where a friend's mother chose her own time, place, and cause a couple of years ago.

Steve Cotton said...

I, of course, agree with Jeff on having peace about death. But I don't think your question was about that. You simply want to know when it is going to happen. And you know far too well the weakness in Kim's argument. We should talk about that one of these days -- again.

I fear that I have nothing to add on gaining knowledge of when our time to die is going to come. Personally, I am happy not to know. It gives me the comfort that I should live each day as if I were going to die that day -- and enjoy life as if I would never die.

redshoesarebetterthanbacon said...

If you were told that your final day on this plane would be August 15, 2027, what plans would you make?

Peter Kouwenhoven said...

They say, "Only the good die young" so I am bad, really baaad! Hopefully I'm bad enough to linger a while.

Shelagh Kouwenhoven said...

We just were at a memorial for my girlfriends husband this past weekend. Dead of lung cancer at 62, sick only for about 9 months. sadly we have two more close friends that will be only with us a short time more. Reasons to me why I suddenly quit my job, and am taking care of myself, my husband and my life. We have our plan for Mexico that starts in December and I pray we make it. So yes I wonder when my time is up.
Take care Barbara.

Rick said...

I have feeling you will be around for quite a while.

Living stress free in Mexico, years of climbing up and down that hill you live on, fresh mountain air, eating healthy fresh food and having the joy of your son and grandchildren nearby. Doesn't get any better and adds years to your life.

I'm looking forward to your 90th at Milargros!

Retired Teacher said...

A very weighty topic to start off the morning.
I definitely do not want to know when the end will come. I have no desire to count off the days left to me.
I agree very much with the comments of Barbara Lane and Gringosuelto. More than death, I fear a long, protracted end, especially if it involves mental incapacity such as dementia. If I were to be told that was the fate awaiting me, I hope that I would have the guts to follow Gringosuelto's plan.

norm said...

My neighbor is recovering from an illness that almost took his life, I was running him to a doctor's appointment in the city. His father had passed while he was sick and we were talking about the man's life and how he went. The father had been a clean living preacher who had a twin who took the other path... They died one year apart with the debaucher going first. The preacher died from dementia, that last year was not a good year.

mexicomystic said...

Once you hit 70 or more the handwriting on the wall becomes clearer.

Bella said...

It hit me with a thud at 50 as well. My antidote - I lurk on BABSBLOG. Okay, just how many of those enchiladas did you have ?

Babs said...

Barbara Lane, I like your term "The Mercy Card" and your post is profound. I want to go that way, but I need to make sure I've cleaned up all my loose ends beforehand so no one has to go through allllllllll my stuff!

If and when I get all that done, then I'll be ready be it in my 70's or 90's!

Thanks for posting.

Babs said...

Kim, I'll rent Harold and Maude soon or buy it from Juan. Our dvd supplier.

Thanks for your thoughts........

Babs said...

Steve, your last sentence is so true.........and how I try to do it too.

Look forward to our great conversations in the garden again, some day soon.

Babs said...

Peter and Shelagh, I love your comments and thoughts. So Peter you're bad since the good die young. And Shelagh, you're looking forward to San Miguel in December to have a new beginning. I can't wait to meet the two of you after all these years.

A death of someone near to us always changes our perspective on life, I think.

Thanks for commenting......Peter, you gave me a chuckle.

Babs said...

Jennifer, I would procrastinate and NOT clean out the closet or cabinets! Ha.......if it were sooner, I MIGHT get busy and get rid of a lot of useless paper and stuff.

Other then that, I can't think of a thing. I'm pretty darn happy with my life just as it is, surprisingly. I think you are too.

Babs said...

Bill, I agree, but doubt that I would take my own life by my own hands. If you have dementia or Alzheimer's it is harder on the caregiver then the person with the condition........and so it goes!

Babs said...

Norm so the good don't die young, it appears!

Babs said...

Indeed, Mexico Mystic.

And Bella, glad that Babsblog serves as an antidote!

Thanks both of you for commenting.........

Babs said...

Lordy, Rick, I HOPE not! The enchiladas are good there but
not that good, unless I feel as good as some of my 90 year old
friends........then okay.

Shannon said...

Up until recently I hadn't given a great deal of thought as to how or when I will die. Being diagnosed with cancer changed that though. I think it is impossible to be told you have cancer without considering your mortality. Still though, I'm glad that I was not given 6 months, a year or any particular date. I guess this could still kill me. I haven't returned yet to the doctor since my surgery, but if it doesn't kill me I have no desire to know what will, or when. I think it has given me even more appreciation for my life though, I intend to take each small joy as it comes and relish it as though it were my last day on earth.

When we reach a "certain age" as you put it, it is inevitable that we will begin to lose friends and loved ones more frequently, and certainly that is difficult, but I think it should make us more determined to enjoy our lives as they are now since we really can't plan for our deaths. That's just me though, I have always been less a planner and more spontaneous in my life, and I think I would prefer to die spontaneouly too, LOL.

living.boondockingmexico said...

Sometimes it's hard to accept our reality. No one has the answer to good long health. We can all cite examples on either side of the debate. I prefer to eat healthy and exercise. If I live long and well that's good. If I croak at the gym, better there than in a nursing home or found in front of the television. With any luck, we'll have many more years. I go to see my cardiologo on Monday. Yikes! :)

Babs said...

Shannon, I have known many women who have uterine cancer, including Josefina my maid. All have recovered and have been healthy for a very long time! You're going to be fine, I feel. The same with every friend I've had who had breast cancer. The strides made in treating these two kinds of cancers has been amazing.

I too have always been spontaneous too but for some reason I'd like more info on the most important event that will happen in my life! Enjoy your life, YOu've got a lot left!

Babs said...

Boondocking, I'm with you, I would rather die on a treadmill or something like that then in a nursing home.........Onward!

Droelma said...

I have been prompted to get rid of some stuff lately. On March 27th I had a heart attack ( in my sleep at 4 am, luckily with enough awareness to call a neighbor who called the ambulance and let them in ) accompanied by cardiac arrest which luckily happened in the hospital. This is why I did not comment for a while.
The last thought I remember was: " OMG, I have laundry soaking in the washer and that will stink up the place and luckily Millie feeds free " ( from a 5 kilo bucket of kibbel ). I am not trying to be funny, but that was what I thought of. And no, there was no flashing of my life before my eyes in seconds, no bright light...nothing. Just the thought of my laundry and my dog and then someone just turned off the switch.
I was diagnosed to have had two previous heart attacks; both " silent " within 30 days before. I have no high BP, no high cholesterol, no high triglycerides and so on. But I do have systemic Lupus and that damaged my heart. But I was happy to hear that an active and healthy life ( I am probably the only person on this planet who never had a fast food hamburger, or take-out pizza....a cultural thing and not based on nutritional wisdom ), no tobacco and minimal alcohol probably saved my life.
I always prayed in a kind of generic way, because we Buddhist don't really pray....lol, that please "when I die, make it quick ".
On March 27th I realized that things were a bit too quick for me. Since then, and I am a bit ashamed as I write this, I have little by little taken care of some things.
I have given some of my jewelry ( that in Mexico City I do not wear anyway ) to the people I thought would enjoy it. Lesser jewelry ( mostly ethnic silver ) which I enjoy wearing is now listed with intended recipients behind the item. I threw out tupperware type containers with no lid, as well as lots and lots of plastic bags, that for some unknown reason I thought would come in handy one day. I also bought a lot of new underwear, following my grandmother's tip to wear the best underwear when going out, so I would not be ashamed, if I ended up in the hospital. I was not ashamed in March, but that was sheer luck. I also checked my pantry and got rid of all the items that had been past their date. Yes, I had sun dried tomatoes that should have been eaten before 2011.
I know, it all sounds a bit superficial. But since I had come to grips with the serious stuff a long time ago ; like most likely ending up in a retirement home, because there is no family to care for me , or making my testament, I was left with the totally mundane stuff, which I realized entered my head as what could have easily been my last thought.
I feel much, much better now than I did during the last year due to the magic of modern medicine as well as a pacemaker/defibrilator that I had implanted on Monday and which is not even 1.5 inches big. Life is good for me right now and I sincerely hope that this applies to all of you.

Babs said...

Wow, Droelma! I had no idea. Thankfully you are on the mend and in better shape then before........sheesh.

I'm glad a neighbor or friend was able to get in your house to help you. I was thinking the other day, if something happened to me and I couldn't get up the stairs to let someone in through the gate and the front door, would they kick it in? Hopefully so......

I did have an experience when I was in a plane that crashed many years ago. It was a twin engine company plane. You're right your life does not flash before your eyes. I too was too busy thinking about what I needed to be doing and it all happened so fast there weren't many thoughts

I'm so glad all is working well for you. Amazing retelling of events. I had wondered why you had not posted, but, assumed you were traveling.

Take care of yourself.........