I am at the age that I realize my parents are old, that I am getting old, dear friends and beloved family members have passed, and death is becoming like that ex-boyfriend who dumped you back in high school, the humiliation you almost buried, until your reunion email arrives, and brings back all the old angst. You would do anything to get out of going to the reunion and running into that ex-boyfriend, but that is not how it goes. Sooner or later, you have to face him. That is where I find myself, lately, facing death. The prospect, the inevitability, the reality, the good, bad and ugly of it.
The Bad: After we got married, my husband talked me into getting life insurance. I put if off as long as I could. “What good is any money going to do me if you’re gone?” I had asked him. It was heartfelt, but having worked in “Wills and Trusts” in my first paralegal position, and then into trust splits and probate, I knew the answer. He knew I knew the answer. He was just waiting for me to quit being in denial and get with the reality program.
The Ugly: Now, the push is to get our own Living Will in order with a DNR. “Do Not Resusitate”. I am shaking my head as I write this because the thought of it makes me uncomfortable. No, the truth of the matter is, the fact I have to even think about it makes me uncomfortable. My parents did all their final paperwork a couple of years ago, told me about it, so one of us, (there is only two of us) would know. I squelched my distress during the conversation, because, the reality of life without them was too much to process.
Recently, I reunited with a cousin, who lost her mom not long after we saw them. I know because our mothers are sisters, I am especially sensitive to her loss. She and my other cousins, her sister and brothers, are still processing their grief and will for some time. Today is the anniversary of the loss of a beloved cousin. I feel we haven’t even recovered from the loss of our beloved Karen a year ago in January. I won’t even touch on our most recent loss. It is still too new. In preparation for the funeral tomorrow, my stylist said something to me today, that has stuck with me… “was it family or someone who was so close they were family?”. I couldn’t answer him for the huge lump in my throat, because that exactly describes the relationship… so close he was family.
Life has a way of gut-checking you into facing your fears, making you take your better angels by the hand and looking straight into the eye of the reality. Death is a part of our life. Whether you are in denial, as I tend to be, or brave and face matters, as others do, does not make easier the loss of our love ones. It doesn’t lessen our grief… it makes us own it.