Dying and All That Jazz

I’m at that stage of life, age 72, when dying has to be faced whether I like it or not.   As Woody Allen said “I know we all have to die but I’m hoping it won’t happen to me”.     Recently my brother-in-law, a senior, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.     His decline has been rapid and now he is no longer able to walk on his own, get out of bed or a chair.   His motor skills are almost zero.     He has been placed in a REhab facility and is getting the best care that can be expected given the disease and the finances of a working class man. 

My husband talks with the family frequently and has spoken recently of going to see him before he dies or loses his ability to recognize family and friends.    We live 3000 miles away.     I think about why in our culture it is so common to feel a need to “see a person one last time before they pass on”.   These are people who for the most part have been raised with Christian beliefs and  yet when it comes to exiting this earth there seems to be very little “faith” that there is anything more or better after this life.    I also wonder how it must feel to have all the family and friends parading by and saying good-bye, weeping, wanting to pray when obviously if you are dying in most cases you’re not feeling too spry.    I’ve begun to think that  I would prefer to die alone or at least just my spouse and my dog by my side.    I certainly can’t imagine being in a crowd, family or not, when I decide to pass over. Certainly all the pretenses hopefully will be stripped away and hopefully also I’ve kept my emotional garbage picked  up so that my relationships with those I love will be intact.     At any rate, as of now,the scenario looks very much like a kindergarten class getting their first dose of public education, i.e.,this is not what I thought it was going to be like.



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