Now that my “Love of my Life” series is completed, I want to end this week’s posts on a related topic.
Almost everyone knows the old saying
Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die to get here
I read that to say that we are afraid we won’t stack up to the qualifications to pass the pearly gates. Or maybe, it just means we are afraid to die. Take your pick.
My father and my wife were two of the ones who greatly feared death. Neither one wanted to talk about it, and would most likely leave the room when the topic came up.
I, personally, have another take on this subject
I can’t imagine living for an eternity! In fact, I kinda think I have just about lived enough years now. If my family genes rule the day, I have at best a handful of years left. That thought is soothing to me in a bizarre sort of way.
Now that I am living with so many people who are significantly older than I am, I can imagine what my remaining time on earth might look like. Truthfully, I hope they are short and merciful. I live in a “continuous care retirement community”, CCRC for short. That means when the time comes I will automatically move from my independent living one-bedroom apartment, to the assisted living wing studio that I see thirty feet away when I open my bedroom curtains each morning.
By living here, I am constantly surrounded by walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters. On a side note, I know that you never see them in any of the website photo galleries for retirement communities. All you see are always smiling older people enjoying a luxurious dinner meal on cloth covered table tops. There is not a walking aid in sight.
Getting back on subject, being constantly around this flood of mobility devices makes me more aware of the frailty of human life, and how it can sometimes unmercifully go on until we are totally incapacitated. That feeling struck me head on during the first few months here, but has subsided somewhat since then. When the unusual becomes the usual, it’s easy to just ignore the underlying thoughts.
I often wonder why I am here in my retirement community at all. I really don’t want someone to try to keep me alive beyond where no meaningful quality of life is possible. So, why am I paying over $40k a year to make that happen? The feeling has crossed my mind that maybe I should just get an apartment by myself for less than half the cost? Then, when my time comes, there will be no one there trying to extend my life. These are deep thoughts that I can’t ignore. But, I would not take that path until I am sure it is the one I really want.
Or maybe I will turn into one of those who are afraid to die and hang on to the absolute end? Who knows…
4 thoughts on “Without Death, Living Would Be Unbearable.”
It’s hard to know what we will think or feel until we get there, isn’t it? I volunteer for Hospice and visit many facilities with the elderly. I think the CCRCs are a great solution for those who can afford it. Not everyone has family that can take care of them, and many people have enough health problems that family simply CAN’T care for them at home. My mom is 90 and lives in the independent area of that type of development. I feel better knowing she has a “red pull chain” that will bring someone to her door quickly should the need arise. She pulled it multiple times while her husband was alive. She’s talked of moving to an apartment to save money, but I think as she has aged, that ship has sailed.
Thanks for your insight, Laurel. I have the pull chains in my CCRC apartment as well as a fob that can be worn anywhere in the building. I have been here a year and never used either, so I often wonder if I am here too early. My health is good, much better than the vast majority of those I see around me. I, like your mom, am thinking about moving into a regular apartment which costs well less than half what I pay here. But then again, I’m not 90 🥸 Decisions, decisions, so late in life…
Good luck with your decisions, as difficult as it is to be in the process of making them.
Something happened this week to make be realize my future path. I’ll post about that in the next week or so.