Category Archives: Death & dying

Contemplating my own death…for no good reason

I’m listening to the Six Feet Under theme song. “Why do people have to die?” intones Clair in the background of a kicky instrumental. “To make life important,” responds Nate, in a clip taken from the show and inserted in a kind of rappy-way.

I love that show. Gino and I have been watching the series as a way of passing time while he recovers from his full paralysis. I’m sure when he and Tami (my sister) got the box set for me last Christmas that they didn’t know HE’d be watching so much of it with me.

I’ve seen the whole Six Feet Under series so I know how it ends. Here’s a hint if you haven’t: The tag line for the final season is Everything. Everyone. Everywhere. Ends.

In the brilliant series finale, everything does end. And it makes me think of how I will end.

When Tessa was a toddler, and while we were waiting for Reed, she and I volunteered with a hospice agency. We visited first Loretta and then Edna once a week as they experienced the act of dying. I felt privileged as each of these ladies allowed me to witness this very private process.

As part of the training for hospice volunteering, I was to imagine my own death and write about it. The more familiar we could be with the idea of death, the less freaked out we would be when talking with our clients about it.

I knew that “dying in my sleep” was a cop out. But I wasn’t able to do much better. Here’s my imagined scenario: at the age of 77 (double my age at the time), I suffer a heart attack. I leave a loving husband, a grown daughter, a son-in-law and two grandchildren. Two songs from Rent are played at my memorial service: Seasons of Love and Finale B. And the hymn, Earth and All Stars. Did you notice I said “memorial” and not “funeral”?

I really, really, really don’t want to be buried. It’s not because I’m claustrophobic (I’m not). It’s the bugs and worms and decay. I have less of a problem with cremation (see Stiff for more info on both of these options). It’s the lesser of two evils for me. See how I explain THIS to my children.

Is there anyone else here who allows their mind to occasionally wander to these places? (Or am I just a freak?)

Do tell.