The Great Beyond!

Here I sit wondering what wonderful words of wisdom I might share with you folks as I try desperately to get back into a schedule of writing a post a week for this site, (as you can see – that isn’t working!). A short time ago I learned of the fact that a blogger I follow has been told that the disease she has been diagnosed with is terminal.

While most of us, on occasion think about dying and deep down inside know that death is life’s only known certainty, being informed that your time is running out causes one to stop and think about and hopefully come to terms with our own mortality.  It isn’t hard to recognize the fact that being given such news is a truly personal and transformative experience. I mean, let’s face it, we all know that we are going to pass on into the big unknown sooner or later but to know that it is going to happen to you and probably sooner than later, that has got to be the ultimate eye-opener about how short our lives here on Earth truly are.

It is one thing to look upon death as “the great equalizer” but how do you handle knowing that your time is soon near?  The older I become, while not often, the thought of death and dying does slip out of my subconscious mind into my everyday thoughts. Not to the point of dwelling on the subject, mind you. But usually when I happen to be in our community clubhouse and I see the Memorial plaque on the wall which lists those individuals who have since passed on. As a matter of fact, just within our small community of 297 homes, last count there were thirteen of my friends who have passed on in 2018. Add to that fact that several of my close relatives have passed both in 2017 and 2018. As we get older and recognize that friends and relatives are passing on – it does make one realize that many of us in our seventies and eighties are truly in the twilight years of our lives.

They say there are five stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The question that haunts me whenever I allow myself to drift off and recognize the fact that we all will inevitably face this fact is: “Will I confront death with both eyes open and grapple with the conundrum of death or will I allow the torment of illness to change my relationship to the world around me. When you get right down to it, I am sure we could all come up with various questions that would pop into our head were we to be given such news. Questions such as: “Now that I know I am facing death, what is there left that makes my life worth living?)” Being told that your future will not be geared to goals you may have set for yourself over the years or plans you have for the future, what do you do?

Receiving such news makes one face his or her own mortality which when you stop and think about it changes nothing in one sense and everything in another sense. It is sort of like wanting to say to yourself: “Okay, I give up, I can’t go on. But then on the other hand, not knowing when the exact moment is going to be, you also ask yourself – what has changed?  You may as well say to yourself: “I can go on.”

Hopefully when my time comes (actually I would like to take the coward’s way out and die peacefully in my sleep but seeing how my sleep habits are anything but peaceful – I am not holding my breath on that being my way to leave this world), I will merely seize every moment granted to me because when one gets right down to it, “time is all we have…. and when we receive that news, the only thing that has changed is that we found out that we don’t have as much time as we thought we had.” 

It gets back to something many of us have been saying for years and that is enjoy life and “live every day as though it may be your last.” If we do that, chances are we may well avoid those five stages of death.

Until next time!

8 thoughts on “When the Time Comes!

  1. A sobering thought for a Friday morning and one that quite frankly has been on my mind a lot lately.

    I read a poem recently (something I RARELY do) written by Leonard Cohen before he died. The weight of its sad hope clings to me. The first and last stanzas are:

    I pray for courage
    Now I’m old
    To greet the sickness
    And the cold.

    I pray for courage
    At the end
    To see death coming
    As a friend.

      1. If it’s seen as a friend, I can only assume there has been a lot of pain and suffering at the end. Personally, I’d rather skip that part, although I do like the idea of not just yet … definitely not for a long time please 😉

  2. We are never given more than we can handle.
    Death is easier than birth.
    Death comes at any age. I have buried many of my family and friends, well before I turned 60.
    Too many people take the medical word to heart. Doctors can and have been wrong. My point being, just because a doctor says you have X number of days left, does not mean it is true. It actually depends on what you believe. (the mind is a powerful tool) I know that for a fact. I witnessed it via my mother.
    In the 1970’s, my mother was told she was terminal and had 6 months to maybe a year to live. She was of the sort, that, tell her she couldn’t and she would find a way. So….she set it into motion and lived 4 and a half years.
    Then, at the end, she was comatose and the doctor said she would not make it through the night. Well, she must have heard them, because she lived 2 and a half days more.
    I also witnessed people ‘willing’ themselves to death, back when I worked in a nursing home. And there was nothing we could do, to stop them. That was amazing to me!!! The mind IS a powerful tool!
    People should get their ‘affairs in order’ while they are healthy, then live life to the fullest and don’t worry about death. For death is an illusion. Only the vessel we occupy, dies, while we transition on to bigger and better. No mystery there, for me. 😀
    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts/beliefs.

  3. Though provoking piece, Irwin. Many people say they wish for a peaceful death – preferably while sleeping. Having worked as a nurse for a few decades, I can say that very few are granted this wish. It’s not like the movies that portrays birth and death with one gasp before either a baby pops out or someone dies. But as with any major life stage, it is worth planning ahead for one’s death. Whether it’s by making sure your affairs are in order, cleaning out your house/possessions or keeping your advanced directive up to date. You can be sure I don’t want to go in an ICU fighting nature’s course with heroics. Stay healthy but be prepared is my motto!

    1. Exactly – I have been doing my best to stay proactive when it comes to keeping things orderly and reducing the amount of paperwork I keep in my office. Plus I keep an up-to-date list of data available for either my wife and/or children should something ever happen to me.

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