Friday, 27 January 2012

Sudden Death


Although my title reminds me vaguely of some game show, I'm talking about reality here. How do you 'bear' bad news? My husband phoned me from work yesterday and simply said that a good friend of ours had died from a stroke in the night. She was only 63 and as far as we all knew, in the best of health. Ironically, all our concerns had been with her husband who had his second quadruple by-pass a few months ago.  He is now in good health... It's the next day, and I am in denial. One thinks, "only two days ago, she was cooking the evening meal, doing her favourite crossword"  etc.etc. Is it better to go this way?  Maybe for her: if she had fleeting last seconds I know she would have thought to herself that at least her house and affairs were in apple-pie order.  Did she have that chance? What if it were me? My cupboards and paper-work are chaotic.  I feel obliged to tackle everything now to minimise problems for those left behind for when it's me. Yet I drag my feet: I want to put my head in the sand. We have of course made our will and the children know where it is but that's not enough. One of my husband's staff had to attend his dad's funeral last week (sudden death) and was amazed to find that he had siblings he didn't know about and a plethora of documents to find for the funeral directors and other authorities. My husband brought home a copy: there are 31 pieces of information and/or documents required. I'll look at it later.  A lingering death must be easier for those left behind, at least there's time to prepare and you are not in shock at the end; but is that kind of death (possibly painful) better for the sufferer?  I'm going to England next month to see my dad: he's 94 and been in hospital since New Year with various ailments. Now he has a bladder infection (hospital-induced) and was at first refusing medicine, saying that 94 is old enough especially as he is blind and deaf. My brother says, he initially enjoyed the attention and change of scene. Now he wants to come home. He's really tough though, so I think he will last until my visit. After all, he's been predicting his own imminent demise since he was 45. A true hypochondriac. They usually outlast the rest of us don't they. Still, with a lot of deaths around me lately and more to come, it may be time for me to 'get religion'.  That must be a kind of comfort.

10 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear of the death of your friend. There is something very shocking about death, even when it is expected and long overdue. From what I have witnessed give me and mine the sudden variety. The amount of punishment our bodies can endure and deliver leaving this world is just amazing.

    To hell with papers and affairs, be a pain in the ass to those left behind--it will give them something to do, and another opportunity (in a situation of shrinking opportunities) for you to piss them off. There is no use of putting death in a special category and handling it any different or with no humor than the other facets of life. Its coming no matter what you do.

    Nothing wrong with getting religion, but if comfort is the goal, make sure it is your religion and not someone else's. My own opinion is that you don't have to worry about saving your Soul. Your Soul is fine no matter what and will damn well do whatever it pleases, including part this world in what ever brutal fashion that it finds interesting. The purpose of religion is two fold. For the individual, it is an attempt to define that which well beyond definition so that it will make sense and comfort us. For those in power, be it civil government or the religion it self, it is a method of controlling the masses, and legitimizing their policies--no matter how good or evil. God is with us.

    If you are fortunate enough to be in a position to choose a religion, choose wisely. Make yourself happy. Don't worry about the expectations of others who happen to "know" the "true" way. Can't find one you truly like? Invent your own, it will be just as valid and just as misinformed as all the others, and if you are not jamming it down someone else's throat with guilt or shoving it up their ass with the barrel of a gun, a hell of a lot more moral. Alan Watts said that there are many paths to the top of the mountain. Pick a well traveled path, blaze your own way, or simply say to hell with mountain climbing. Your Soul will be fine regardless.

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    1. Your views are, as always, a breath of fresh air, Sextant. I shall take your advice and follow my own inclinations, which until now have encompassed a bit of everything. Meanwhile, I'll try my best to be a good person. I like Alan Watts' idea.

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    2. " I shall take your advice and follow my own inclinations, which until now have encompassed a bit of everything."

      I am without question very much an Everythingest. An atheist once told me that I had a God shaped hole in my heart. I think we all do. I believe all of humanity's religions are inspired by God and all have been corrupted by the hand of man. Then again a Born Again Christian friend told me that because I believe in everything, I essentially believe in nothing. Hmmm!

      I have also read that we are all atheists because in disbelieving all but our own narrow view of the true way, we reject the God of many others.

      My own feeling is that God does not play favorites and is far bigger than the 7 billion images that humanity maintains of God. That coupled with my belief, that you have a tiny chunk of God within, you basically can not go wrong.

      Being human, what more can you do than try your best to be a good person? If everyone did so, it would be a wonderful world.

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    1. Thanks. I must really acknowledge my sources as you do, Sextant. I must try to remember at least to put a caption under the pics, nearly all of which I get from Google images.

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    2. I do so with the hopes that by providing a link back to their site they won't get too upset that I stole their image. I do not take images from sites where a big fuss is made about copyrights.

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  3. There comes an age when death is not longer some kind of freak accident but an inevitability. I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

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    1. Thank you, Olga. Every expression of sympathy helps a lot.

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  4. I'm so sorry for the loss of your good friend and for your father's decline in health as well. These are inevitable events as we age, but I wonder if anybody really gets used to them. Each one is a shock. My family is inclined to sudden death: both my parents, my three aunts and my maternal grandmother all died suddenly of cardiac issues. Only my maternal grandfather had cancer and I think his final months were much worse for him and those closest to him. I would rather go suddenly and would wish the same for my other loved ones. That underscores the importance of having one's affairs in order -- at least a will and a list of people to contact and one's wishes about a funeral -- and also of telling each other we love each other every day. I think watching a painful illness and decline of a loved one must be excruciating. The last time I saw my mother alive, she was eating lunch with gusto and talking about old boyfriends and how she never wanted to marry again, but would love to have a torrid affair if she could get her weight down and find the right guy. We didn't say "goodbye" exactly, but I smile when I think of that last lunch together.

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    1. Dr Kathy, I think I agree with you. It is so important to have no regrets, nothing left unsaid, no loose ends that should have been tied up in a relationship. No chance to fix things when a sudden demise occurs. We just have to be aware that it could happen at any time and to anyone and at any age. I am just sorry that in my parents' era, it was not done to be openly affectionate with your children, and they would never have dreamed of saying "I love you" - other than on a greetings card. I'm glad times have changed.

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