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Posts Tagged ‘dying’

I have to tell you that hunkering down around here is almost a joke compared to other places I’ve lived: Montana, Alaska, even Kansas and Oklahoma. More than anything else, a local storm warning around here makes me feel more grateful that I have been “delivered” to this mild climate for my golden years.

Our worst weather would be a winter rain storm, those only in the winter, and the worst of them would mean being without power for a few days. Three days without a shower does test your sense of humor. But it never gets too hot or too cold for comfort on the coast. Of course, there is wind. We’re right next to the Pacific Ocean.

For the most part though, we just hear of horrendous weather elsewhere and feel a little guilty that we have it so good. Today was a perfect example. Heavy storm warnings, so great that friends offered to pick me up and take me to their generator equipped home, I filled vessels with extra water (toilets don’t flush without power) and I’ve even known the stores to run out of bottled water.

This warning, once again, turned out to be the kind of rainfall you’d call a soaking rain. Gentle, occasional, not asking any more of us than to wait a few minutes to “take out the trash” or “make a dash for the post office.” Strange as it sounds, I swear that it usually rains at night on the coast. In fifteen years here, I have yet to get soaking wet … well, there was an exception.

I still practice real estate because I love it and I can’t quit. One day I showed property, two units in town, in a pouring rain. Both my client and I got soaked. That particular day did not offer the “breather” between downpours. No, no sale came out of that one. Very, very few property showings result in a sale. So you gotta love it. And I do.

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This is all so completely new to me and so out of my “territory,” I can’t believe that I’ve actually missed blogging for the last few days. But I have. And that’s that. I’ve been unreasonably busy at other things, mostly fun things, but also accomplishing a great deal.

For several years of my life, I came home to somebody to talk to, to share the day’s events with. That’s been missing in my life for decades now and somehow, crazy as it seems, being connected to the rest of humanity with this blog sort of replaces “someone to come home to.”

It’s OK to laugh or to think I’m weird. This is NOT what I expected from the  internet a few years ago when I toyed with the possibilities of this new “gadget” in my living room and where it might lead. It was quite evident to me, from the very beginning, that the internet held the possibility of bringing about “the brotherhood of man”, a method of connecting so easily that we would accidentally stumble upon the fact that we’re all more alike than we are different.

That it should happen this quickly and this easily comes as a complete surprise to me. It gives me one more reason, possible the best reason of all, to be grateful that I have been allowed to live this long and still be independent, resourceful and comfortable.

I hope the day will come when all of my fellow human beings will know what I mean by that.

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Every Tuesday evening the local bridge club meets for a friendly competition. It is competitive because duplicate bridge just is. It’s also a pretty good measure of your skill because other tables of players play the exact same hands that you play. A record is kept. My partner is one of those younger men in my life and we play to have fun, not to win. We’re always pretty much in the middle as to scores. I feel so lucky to have Gary for my partner. He’s really special.

Because I got there a little late last Tuesday night, I had to park all the way across the paved parking lot from the entrance.  When the game was over, it was dark and having to walk that expanse of black under-footing to get back to my car was a bit daunting.  I jokingly stood at the curb and called to my Sebring to come to me.

It got a couple of chuckles, but no car.  And then this lovely woman offered to go get my car and bring it to me.  She actually meant it and believe me, I didn’t hesitate for one moment to take her up on her offer.

For an independent ole girl like me who spent most of her life unable to ask for help, I always have to smile at how welcome help can be.  It’s one of the little treats that comes with being over eighty.  You can no longer deny that you could use a little help.  Sometimes more than a little help.

People like to help other people. How come I didn’t know that? How selfish of me to deny others the satisfaction of helping me all those years.

I don’t know about this karma thing, but I do have to ask myself,  “How come”? For example, do you think it’s possible that for every mile I walked faster than anybody else on the street, I now get to walk a mile at a snail’s pace–lagging behind everybody else? My mind is still way out front there, putting everybody else to shame, but my body rebels in such a way that I really can’t argue with it.

I’m sure that if they hadn’t slowed me down, I’d be dead by now.

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That’s why Nancy gave up nursing. After years of working at hospitals, she could no longer tolerate watching vain efforts to revive, rescussitate, or further diagnose teminally ill patients.

It was one thing if there was the slimest chance that the patient might live. Quite another when the poking, probing and gurney rides to take another test were making the patient miserable. 

Nancy could no longer bear to see frail, old people who were trying to die being dragged from their beds and taken for yet another X-ray or another MRI.

If people have the right to live, why shouldn’t they have the right to die? No amount of denial will change the fact that the human body is not going to live forever. It’s going to die. The person in that body may very well know when that time has come. 

Does anyone have the right to interfere with that process? Nancy didn’t think so. Neither do I.

My Do Not Recussitate order is in place. Right now I consider that  correct and even partiotic. Keeping people alive who are ready to die, gobbles up most of the insurance money paid out each year. I hope none of it prolongs my life when I’m ready to go.

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YOU GOTTA LAUGH

It was another cold day on the Mendocino Coast with patches of rain. I found myself in town following a one o’clock class with time to kill. I impulsively decided to go to the gym.

When I passed the fabric store in the same shopping center, I realized that they would be open because it was only three o’clock in the afternoon. I made a U-turn and pulled in near the door. A lovely young woman offered to help.

Two years ago when I was eighty and anticipating hip surgery, I had, for the first time, made some preparations for dying. I had a will drawn up and purchased and filled in MaggieWatson’s, A Graceful Farewell to save my heirs a lot of frustration, time, money, and maybe sanity. I had checked out the local crematorium, but I had not yet made my shroud although I felt strongly about what I wanted to wear for my cremation. It would be a simple white gown.

I asked the clerk what she had in white, 100% cotton fabric. Synthetics don’t burn cleanly. She walked me directly to a section where she found three white, cotton fabrics. We decided which one of them was less sheer and then she directed me to the patterns. There was not a vast selection, no caftan pattern at all so I spent quite a long time finding one that would work. It was a long dress pattern.

When I took the pattern over to check out, she helped me decide how much fabric it would take and started measuring out the four yards. As she did this, she attempted to make conversation and, so help me this is what she asked, “So are you going to some nice, warm place where you can wear this?” There were other people in the store or I might have told her the truth, but instead I quickly replied, “Yeah, I’m going to hell.”

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