Do you think about dying? I used to think about it a lot at certain times in my life. As a child, death was always portrayed to me as a horrific experience, especially by my mother. Death was not a subject to be discussed with children. There was never a mention of heaven or of someone being at rest after suffering a prolonged illness. Instead all was centered around grieving endlessly with tears and unhappiness, and the idea that the world had come to an end because someone had died. I was traumatized by these images.
I was a baby when my grandfather died. All I recall is that my grandmother stayed in this big house after he died, and she rented out rooms to people. Part of the reasoning may have been financial, but I think she enjoyed the company of having others around. I was eight when she passed away, and was extremely upset when I was not allowed to attend the funeral.
My other grandfather died the day of my piano exam and the day before my ballet exam. I was eleven at the time. Again, arrangements were made so that I took the exams and did not attend the funeral. When I was thirteen my favorite uncle died. After much debate, I was allowed to attend that funeral.
When I had children of my own, I handled death very differently. I talked to my children and read books to them. Whenever possible, I took them to the hospital for visits, and I allowed them to come to the cemetery and to attend funerals at a very young age. I handled their curiosity with openness, and I firmly believe that this is a much healthier approach than the one my own parents used.
Death is part of life. It is inevitable. That I accepted readily as a child. But my perception was that when people died, it was devastating for those left behind. I never really thought much about what came next for the deceased.
In actuality I never really feared death until a couple of years ago when I was terrified that my life was about to come to an end. I finally consented to knee replacement surgery, the same surgery that had taken my mother’s life eighteen years ago. I was convinced that the end was near. I redrafted my will. I prepared special letters for my children and placed them carefully in envelopes along with copies of Robert Munsch’s book, Love You Forever. And the night before the surgery I emailed my obituary to my children.
I was absolutely amazed when I survived that surgery. And a year later I had the other knee done as well. So was all that anxiety and fear of death unnecessary and for naught?
I now give a great deal of thought as to what comes after death. Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Who is waiting for me in the afterlife? I’m divorced. Before the divorce I always thought my husband would be there if he went first. Now I hope he won’t be there.
I like to think that I will see my parents again. That is a comforting thought. I haven’t seen my father in almost thirty-eight years. He never knew his grandchildren. But I am glad that both of my parents were gone when I got divorced. Yes it would have been nice to have some family around to support me, but I also think that they would have been very upset about the situation. After all, divorce is also a death- the death of a relationship.
I wonder if I will see Kelsey and Koal again. These were my beloved pets over the years. I held them lovingly in my arms as they each breathed their last breath. Kelsey passed away shortly after his sixteenth birthday. Koal passed away just before his sixteenth birthday. I hope that they have found each other and will be there with wagging tails waiting for me.
We are born, we live and we die. And then…………
Wonderful…I don’t think too much about dying, more of how I will die, if anything… I’m not afraid of it, but I am afraid of how it will happen.
Hey Cayce, just don’t take any of those crazy quizzes on Facebook about how and when you will die. I think the “how” part is because you are a writer.
Maybe, lol. Yeah I don’t take those. The answers seem to be stupid anyhow.