Mortality is tricky. We’re all going to go sometime, but we are hardwired to avoid the very thought of death. And so we should be.
However, when my loved ones die, my life (so far) continues – though significantly changed. Death has ripple effects on the living. This is why we have wills, wakes, and difficult conversations with the elderly and infirm.
My dad was a financial planner when he died. Here I am, 45, with a horrible condition and a little bit of property… As a financial planner’s daughter, I know perfectly well that the responsible thing to do is sit down and make a will, living will, and any other terminal documents I need. So I’ve started that process.
The old man would be proud!
Naturally, the first thing people ask is, in sweetly worried tones, “Are you okay?”
Having begun this process, I’m much better. It reassures me to know that certain important things will be said, certain horrible things will be avoided, and — though there’s no getting around the fact that bereavement sucks — there will be more love and comfort in those ripples than there would be otherwise.
It also makes me think in terms beyond myself. Legislation around CRPS is almost nonexistent, because people don’t think of it as terminal. However, as I remarked in my bio-blog, the diseases it causes most certainly are.
Sound familiar? Anyone here remember the health care terminology changes in the ’90s? (Read the bio-blog for more hints.)
I can do something very important with my death (hopefully many years off) -– I can make sure it’s properly attributed. No disease without a body count is ever taken seriously, and it’s time to start counting bodies with this horrible disease.
Personally, I have been struggling with a panicky fear of mortality because of this disease: each time I have a flareup, my body is never quite the same again; each time I have a lasting attack of the stupids, I have no idea if I will get my brain back; my heart is becoming more irregular. Barring a miracle or an accident, I’m facing a rotten time. With this disease, I look at the end, and all I can do is scream. I hope I have hidden it well!
However, the thought of this final gift — proper attribution, a ripple of awareness, the hope of better care for my compatriots — this tiny thing, this little spark, has had a tremendous effect: I feel the force of my life again.
It’s true: when you’re skirting paradox, you’re close to the naked truth.
Contemplating the end with wide-open eyes, returns my thoughts to getting more juice out of life. There’s a lot of it left, all things considered. My end will not be in vain, and with that in mind, the time until then seems much more promising.