I'm two months away from being closer to seventy than sixty. FUCK!! How did that happen? But it's way better than the alternative. Way, WAY better.
When you reach this age, you're going to lose people that have been a part of your life. Relatives, friends, acquaintances, classmates. Some after long illnesses, others will die suddenly. While the shock and sadness of someone dying will always be there, I'm not surprised by it anymore.
Last year I lost two friends. Both were former classmates of mine so they were my age. Their deaths were as different as you can imagine. One died after a long battle with ALS. The other was fine when she went to sleep, and she never woke up.
There aren't many diseases that are more hideous than ALS. The diagnosis is a death sentence. When I was told I had Parkinson's Disease, it was tempered by the words from many, "It could be much worse. It could be ALS." I agreed.
ALS attacks every part of your body while leaving your mind intact. Can it get more horrible than that? However, you're still alive and you have a chance to put your affairs in order. You get the chance to have final good-byes with loved ones and maybe make amends with the ones that you have issues with. Closure.
Going to sleep and not waking up is certainly a more peaceful way to go. I was told this exact thing by a woman I was dating. She made it clear that this was her preferred way of moving on. I told her that was fine with me but could she wait until our relationship was over. Done! Phew!
I suppose this might be best for the person dying. There's no physical pain but imagine the anguish of the people left behind. No final good-byes. So many questions that can never be answered. Zero closure.
Which way is your preference?
There is definitely one way I don't want to exit. Yesterday, during an online discussion with my ChicagoNow colleagues Planet Michelle and Little Merry Sunshine, the name of country music legend Patsy Cline came up. One of them mentioned she wouldn't mind going out like her. Ummmm.....I'm thinking no. Make that a big fucking NO!!!!!
Patsy checked out in a plane crash. I can't think of anything more horrifying than being in an airplane dropping out of the sky for 30,000 feet. I have enough trouble dealing with small amounts of turbulence so I imagine spiraling downward for ten minutes with hundreds of screaming people wouldn't be too peaceful. Sorry for the image and the digression.
We're now past the quarter mark for 2017. I don't know anyone who has died this year...yet. I'm sure it will happen at some point. When it does, I hope they go in the way they want. I'm not sure what that is but I don't have to make that decision today....hopefully.
I wrote this Eulogy for a friend who died suddenly two years ago.
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