“If I Died Today” — Peace – part 1
Today’s post is the first in a series I am planning about the aspects of DEATH as it concerns us PERSONALLY. OUR own demise. Mine. Yours. All with the realistic hope and intent to provoke helpful thoughts, plans, ideas, and commentary in the task of readying OURSELVES for our own end-of-life, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and sensibly. I hope to be able to guide the series in the direction of attaining a sense of ‘personal peace’ as the main goal.
At no time is this series meant to be taken as financial, legal, medical, or other professionally metered advice, expert recommendation or testimonial, or any other service or product associated with any authority, agency, or regulated industry licensed in the areas mentioned.
This is just a series simply in search of peace of mind and a sense of readiness BEFORE our eventual ends; based on a funeral service professional’s career observations and general thoughts on end-of-life aspects that people tend to happily ignore or overlook, or leave for survivors to contend with later.
Assessing Your Personal Life Timeline — A Bare-Naked and Honest Approach Yields Best Results!
After all, the only fool you’d be out to fool, is…you. It’s your life, your peace. I have no need to know YOUR truth. Just my own. So being honest with yourself, is…KEY, really, if you want to know how to keep or attain a true sense of peace within yourself. Otherwise, you’re wasting valuable time with this.
I will use my own personal life as the example. After all, this conversation needs a place to BEGIN.
Have you ever pondered the end of YOUR own life? I mean, REALLY, really given it more than just a fleeting thought? Many people halfheartedly pooh-pooh this very question. YOU do, I do. We feel awkward at the mere thought that there WILL (and, yes, I am afraid it absolutely.will.happen) come a day that we basically wake up d-e-a-d.
‘Perish the thought!’
‘Jeezzzz, don’t bring that morbid crap up now, for God’s sake!’
‘You have a point, but I’m not concerned; what the hell, I’ll be dead anyways, hahhahaha!’
It’s not a hysterically popular ice-breaker at the family reunion, the annual Fourth of July fireworks show, or the ordinary, quiet, Sunday dinner table.
No…it’s really more like a conversation you sit down with yourself to have. Soul-searching, as it were.
So when are we supposed to mull this impossibly morbid concept? Precisely when, after the candle is blown out, the book is put away, and we lay our weary heads down to sleep, of course! Exactly AT THE MOMENT our lids close. Am I right?
(I suppose I should have prefaced this post with a disclaimer, warning you of one potentially sleepless night ahead, should you read this at the end of your day…oops, my bad. Too late, the seed has been planted…can’t unring this bell.)
Let’s get this over with, now so we can get it behind us before it’s too late — our last moments should not be a time of regret; just a time of peace.
I have often laughed it off, myself. That nervous little laugh, you know, the kind of giggle you exude to cover up that creeping fear or worry you hide deep down.
Yes, I am guilty of a teensy bit of death anxiety. It’s true. For the record, even funeral directors are a little worried about d-e-a-t-h.
Sssshhhh, we don’t want to scare the little ones with this ‘talk.’
But, seriously, folks…let’s really begin to prepare ourselves for that day that is seemingly so far ahead in the distant future.
Are you satisfied with what you have been able to accomplish with this time you have been allotted, in your ‘lifetime?’
I’ll confess, before I ever got into “the business of death and the world of the dead,” I had a pretty healthy bit of fear going for myself. I was always most terrified of the possibility of being orphaned as a child. Then, when I grew old enough to realize there was no more to fear in that category, I began to worry about merely becoming abandoned…as in, everybody else that mattered in my personal universe would die off and I would find myself that very lonely… Last of My Tribe. Now THAT’S A HELL OF A CONCEPT to wrap your mind around, JUST as you hope to meet the Sandman, ain’t it?!
Funny enough though, I never gave much, if any thought at all, to my very own personal date with the Grim Reaper. Except perhaps, when my terribly violent married life came down to one very last and bloody battle on 06/21/1991. That was the day I ended my married life, barely escaping that day with only my own pathetic, beaten up, unrecognizable yet human-faced, battered, blood-covered life.
But I survived, so then I became most empowered by my liberation from domestic abuse. I began to concentrate on my NEW LIFE. NO TIME TO DIE, just keep on moving on. So much life ahead it almost seems you feel a bit…IN-freakin’-VINCIBLE! Besides, I had two tiny daughters along for the adventure ahead. Absolutely no time to think of dying. Yet.
My mother disagreed…especially when I rang her up, minutes before I was to climb aboard the aircraft that would take me to 12,500 feet and open the door to allow my voluntary, death-defying, leap out…and the ensuing 50-seconds of idiocy and sheer panic of not being able to breathe, falling thru the blue sky at more than 120 m.p.h. to my potential and utter demise below…Mom chided, pleaded, and scolded, “Please!! Don’t do it, please!! You have LITTLE KIDS HERE that you so carelessly disregard, going off and doing this dumb, dangerous sh*t!! What the hell is WRONG with you!?!?!”
Yeah. WHAT in the blue skies of heaven did I really think I was doing? She certainly made her point. I told her I loved her, not to worry, and that I’d ring back when I landed. I hung up, freshly supplied with a whole new load of Catholic guilt, and proceeded immediately to achieve the appointed, life-long goal of making my first (and last) tandem free-fall skydive…somewhat clouded by visions of her clasping the Crucifix as she set to praying her heart out that I would not kill myself that day.
By golly, she’s good! God saw fit to have mercy on her and I managed to exit-stage-death, sans injury or harm. She’s very, very good!
AND…I certainly got away with it…again! ‘AHAHAHA!!! Go peel a grape, Grim Reaper! How do ya like me NOW?! HAH!’ Cheated death once more. Smug and full of personal ‘I-can-do-anything’ piss and vinegar, I gave it not another thought, D-e-a-t-h would have to wait until…
…later. Lucky for me, it has not recently come knocking for ME. It has been too busy collecting people around me, instead. Good, wonderful friends and relations. I feel worse, even angry, about it when I realize that it seems an AWFUL LOT of ‘bad people’ with true evil in their hearts are slipping past the Reaper man’s radar!
It’s just so hard to accept that good people must be called ahead of the most evil. They certainly don’t work it like that down at the DMV.
I thank the powers-that-be when I awake to see each new day. I thank God for the gift of the magic in coffee beans, my old doggy also here for another day, the family of birds in a nest on the patio, my wonderful man, and my beautiful daughters and my grands, Mom, my sister, good friends, and good health…etc. I am grateful for another day of all that makes life special in my little universe.
But, to take for granted that there will be a tomorrow, we just cannot, simply MUST NOT do!
My flirtations with death have been, at times, like a courtship…I would play close to the edge of sure catastrophe, as a lover plays hard-to-get…just when the Reaper reached out to snag me up in his gnarled and pale fingers, to give me the fatal kiss, I’d slip through his grasp, taunting and laughing at my victory over him…and he tries again and again. He knows it is just a matter of WHEN, not if, he will ultimately claim the game and the victory for my soul.
Now as I peer back, no longer full of smug satisfaction…I think I was spared death on so many occasions, just to be allowed the privilege and opportunity to wear my devout Mama’s shoes…see how they ‘fit.’ Yes, certainly these shoes are a bit tight, unsteady at the heel, and downright uncomfortable as I attempt to trod along now.
Now I am the one filled with worry and prayerful hope that Almighty God would mercifully keep a protective hand over them and keep all harm from evil at bay, for all matters which pertain to those cherished ones I hold dear in my personal and very special universe.
So…what are my feelings about…tomorrow? If by chance it should start without me?
STAY TUNED FOR THE ANSWER in “If I Died Today” –Peace – Part 2
.©2014, C.S. Thompson.