I read a newspaper article the other day. Not that that was anything unusual but the subject matter was a bit different to most. The writer was saying that we don’t talk very much about death and dying, and they considered that this left us quite unprepared for that eventuality when it finally arrived.
What that writer had to say perhaps had some veracity. Thus I thought about it for a bit. Not too long mind you. But when you get down to the nitty gritty of it I don’t think that any amount of talk before hand is going to make one iota of difference about how you handle it. Let’s face it you are dead and it’s not going to bother you one little bit is it.
OK, for those that remain it might be something of a problem. But really? If we had started talking about it some years before it happened do you think it might have made it any easier for anyone. Maybe, maybe not, you are dead so you will never know.
I am 71, the reality of it is I might if very lucky live to 100, or I might very easily not survive the next 60 seconds. The same is applicable to all of us who wander on this planet according to some plan or not, no matter what your age. The fact that I am continuing to write this means I survived past the 60 second mark.
I don’t know whether its an age thing or what? But the thought of dying doesn’t actually seem to bother me too much. I am more concerned about not living. Living life to the fullest possible extent that I can. Plus how much shall I miss doing in the event of an untimely demise, as if anyone over 70’s demise could ever be considered untimely.
The fact of the matter is that I suddenly realised that I have already had a conversation or two on the subject of the newspaper article. Mostly centred on the fact that I really cannot see the point of going to the expense of having a funeral. From where I sit it seems like a huge waste of money. You put a dead person in a box that you spent how much on? A box that will be used once. Especially if they intend burying you. Plus the cost of the burial plot, and the funeral itself where any number of people may congregate and stand around with a morose look on their face. After which everyone departs and someone is left behind with a sadly depleted bank account. Been to a few of those in my time, doesn’t seem to be much of a way to celebrate a life.
My wish is that there should be no funeral. Just call an undertaker, shove the carcase in a body bag and head straight for the crematorium. Simple, clean, no fuss, and a hell of a lot cheaper than a funeral. I got a bit terse one time in this discussion when someone had the temerity to say, “what about what we might want?” Whoa! Wait a minute, it’s my death and my body, well what was my body, surely I am entitled to say what should be done, surely that is a privilege of the person concerned, or what was the person concerned. The response was along the lines that you won’t know you will be dead. Not much you can say to that.
Which brings me back to the point of whether or not the discussions that I have had, small though they may be, have made any difference in how prepared I or any one else will be for that finality.
I am not going not going to care am I. Dead is dead and you don’t do much thinking at that point. As for those left behind, I don’t think any amount af talk will ever prepare anyone for the departure of someone they care about. For loving and caring people grief will always be ever present. It may fade somewhat with time, but it will lurk forever.
Therefore in an endeavour to make my passing a bit more of a non event and more a spectacular, I have asked that a bloody great party (probably a poor choice of word there) be held, not for the morose but for the party party people. Gather all who may wish to attend and hold a rave up, celebrate the life of one and the life of all who remain. Have a drink or two, tell lies about what a great fellow I was, and stories of what you knew of me. I really don’t care or castigate you for what you say. Haunt a little maybe?
Remember this person. He who once flew in a Tiger Moth, a balloon, an endless number of commercial aircraft. The one that sailed on ocean cruisers, canoes, kayaks, numerous small boats. A lover of the ocean, surfing, body-boards and anything else that floated. This person who swam, ran, played hockey on roller and ice skates. The indoor cricket player who broke more bones doing so than he can remember, A bike rider of bike trails and complainer of a broken arse from doing so. A mad bungee jumper. The wannabe photographer that disposed of more photos than he actually kept. A one time stock car driver. Tell of the rich life that he had tramping trails, climbing mountains, crossing rivers and the wonderful sights he saw. This person who fell out of small aircraft trusting his life to not much more that a piece of nylon to guide him back to earth. And who knows how many tales there actually might be, celebrate this life don’t mourn it.
Yes! Have a party. OK! I know I am not done yet but remember this when I am. Have a party, celebrate life and the life that is yet to come and be done. Celebrate not only this life but your life. Say it like it was, it wasn’t all good but it wasn’t all bad either. Speak of the man, son, brother, cousin, uncle, husband, father, grandfather, friend, workmate, and whatever else comes to mind. Don’t mourn me for as long as someone remembers, a small part of what I was will always remain.
So! If the writer of the newspaper article should ever come across this somewhat dubious one way conversation, I say, you were both right and wrong and there is in my opinion no correct answer to the questions you posed.
If you have managed to read this far, well done and thank you.
Now if you will excuse me I have some trips to plan, Milford track next March, following which I am giving serious thought to the triple jump. Hacket’s Ben Nevis, bungy, swing, and sling shot, or is that catapult. The pacemaker implant will ensure the heart does not stop so why not.