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Death - as useful to be afraid of as life!


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05-Nov-2004, 10:21 AM #1
Death - as useful to be afraid of as life!
Howdy All!

Shocking stuff, I tell ya . . . I'm actually starting a thread in CivDeb.

I'm doing this because I think the topic is an important one to discuss, and one that a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about.

Death!

Do we shy away from this topic because we are uncomfortable with our own mortality?? Let's face it, we are all going to die, in one way or another. Not talking about it is not going to change it, and talking about it is not going to invite it. It's a simple fact of life. we are born, we grow older, we die.

Because most societies treat talking about death as a sort of moral taboo, many of us do not know how to cope with the loss of a loved one. We do not grasp anything more than that someone we know will not be there anymore, but heck, that could simply mean that they moved to another country!

Death by old age we can all readily accept and grasp. homilies such as "he led a full life" assuage our own fears of our mortality. but how do we deal with the untimely ends that abound in our world? Soldiers dying on the battlefield our brave and heroic, right?? frankly, most of them are scared stupid and only want to go home. they stay because they are brave and courageous. they aren't brave and courageous because they die, but because they stay even though they MAY die.

death isn't something to be feared by the one dying . . . it is feared by those surviving, as they do not know how to cope with the loss of someone.

So, what are we talking about here?? I don't know, but what i do want is to invite anyone who has lost someone close to them to share their experiences, and how they coped with the loss.

As some of you know, My Mom took her life in August, and I am actually OK with that. I supported her decision, and still do. I am not a proponent for suicide, as many of the reasons people decide to suicide are selfish and due to depression. A mental imbalance would be appropriate to say, just not very politically correct, I suppose.

Was my mom selfish and depressed?? yep, you bet. She decided that she had had enough, and saw no other way to get out of the life she was in other than by ending it altogether. Do I dislike what she did? Nope, not one bit!

Now how in the heck can I not believe in suicide, and yet agree and support my mom's decision to commit suicide? I don't think I'm a hypocrite, despite the seemingly incongruous statement.

My Mom made two selfish acts in her life . . . 11 years ago, she decided she no longer needed the emotional parasites that she called her family, so she informed them that she was having nothing more to do with them. Even on her own Cremation application (which she filled out in December 2003) she listed only one next of kin, and that was her own deceased brother. She did list my brother and I. She "divorced" her blood relations because she was always there for them, and they were never there for her. they were jealous of her success, and disparaging of anything she ever did, rather concentrating on anything negative they could find about her.

her second selfish act was to take her life. She did this at a time when both of her sons (in her mind, her only living kin) were well established in there own rights. She had no bills, no pets, nothing that she was responsible for. Her body was failing her in many ways, and she never wanted to be a burden on anyone, but found she could no longer work. So, she selfishly took her life. Of course, that is not the entire story, because she selflessly gave everything her entire life to her sons, family, friends, work, pets, house, plants, clients . . . you name it. This was the one thing that she wanted for herself, and she took it.

Mom, you deserve rest and Peace, and I hope you got it.


So, that's a portion of my story, and how I can actually cope with my loss. It's not a loss, because of the wonderful memories I will always have of the glorious person who was my Mom. I would actually not label my Mom's death as a loss, so maybe that's why I can accept it so well.

I'd like to think this thread could be used as more than an outpouring of sad stories, but maybe a listing of loss and how we overcame that loss.

I will miss hearing from my Mom, and the things she used to do, but I will never MISS my Mom, because she will be with me always.

Peace!
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05-Nov-2004, 11:46 AM #2
again, my respect for you mom. and i actually admire her courage. and yes, most people are afraid to discuss death because they are well aware of thier own mortality.
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05-Nov-2004, 01:40 PM #3
my condolences, and my respects also.
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05-Nov-2004, 01:51 PM #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyG
....death isn't something to be feared by the one dying . . . it is feared by those surviving, as they do not know how to cope with the loss of someone.
i agree that much of the taboo that surrounds death is our inability to face the loss of someone we're close to...but, while it is true, perhaps philosophically, that "death isn't something to be feared by the one dying", it is also often the case that death is not something that the living can presume with any certainty, vis a vis whether it is feared by those who experience it (it just happens, without warning, or we, the living, just don't know, as the dying are in a coma)

but my dad's death refutes both suppositions...the exception perhaps, that proves some rule....a kind hearted, courageous, and tenacious man, my father simply refused to acknowledge that he was dying (it's apparently a not uncommon male thing, as i've learned by talking with others), and, sadly for those close to him, it made his prolonged decay an extremely difficult passing, leaving much unsaid for many...or rather, forcing it to be said, and said, and said again, between those who survived him, just compounding the burden.....

it sickened me, my family's choice to "avoid" the simple truth in his presence, and so i chose a path closer to my heart, and my dad, (i am the black sheep in my family, ya know...) and just pushed, first through the admitted barrier i was feeling surrounding his inevitable death.....

and then through the percieved barrier he had constructed towards it....

and ended up doing most of the talking, which was pretty scary at first (the look in my father's eyes when i first mentioned HIS death was abject horror...upon reflection, telling me that he HAD given it significant private consideration)...but in the end, it became a genuine mourning between the two of us for our failings as father and son, and a true celebration of our love, and, for lack of a better description, a kind of philosophical loom for the tapestries of those last moments......

that fabric that we wove rivals the finest gift my dad gave me.....life.
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05-Nov-2004, 03:17 PM #5
Condolences to those of you that have lost your loved ones. My mother pased away at the age of 96. She refused nourishment because she was tired and ready to pass on. (She was a diabetic and knew the consequenses of not eating.) I tried to hold her hand, but she pulled away. At first, my feeling were hurt. When I analyzed it later, I recalled the peaceful look on her face and came to the conclusion she wanted me to let go of her and move on with my life. I feel she is in heaven and I will see her again.
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05-Nov-2004, 03:58 PM #6
My Mom died at 45 suddenly from massive bilateral pulmonary embolisms in 1978 and my Dad died at age 57 of congestive heart failure in 1988. I find their untimely deaths so unfair! To tell you the truth Randy....after all these years some days I just can't stand their being gone! My Mom kept all our relatives together with holiday dinners and the like....when she died things changed. The families hardly ever get together...today it seems we only get together for funerals, graduations or weddings....far and few between! Holidays are bad for me still...I want my parents here! I wanted my parents to know their Grandson...my son William. Out of their 7 grandchildren my Mom only got to know she had two....my Dad 5. And now they have 2 greatgrandchildren and another on the way. I miss my parents so much still! My maternal Grandmother passed away at age 63 just three months before my Mom of an unexpected heart attack! I often wondered how my Mom coped with the loss...three short months later I had an answer....this is all for now...tears coming on....
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05-Nov-2004, 04:48 PM #7
Angelize, I also cried when I wrote my message! Just let it out.
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05-Nov-2004, 05:13 PM #8
randyg ( and others ) sorry to here about your respective losses .

something i've noticed , which has always helped deal with bereavement , is that those who know their time is short aren't worried about death or dying
- they're always more worried for those they're leaving behind , and without exception everyone becomes completely self-less at this point .

i think that's why , after the death of a friend or family member , we all seem to take stock of our lives , what's important , the things we've put off - and very often this leads us to rebalance our lives in positive ways .
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05-Nov-2004, 10:17 PM #9
Condolences to those that have lost loved ones Losing a loved one is sometimes more than one can bear. I lost my fiancée just months before we were to be married It really makes you raw inside and turns the world upside down. I have since leaned that death ends a life, but not a relationship. A good book to read (or movie to watch) about life and death is called “Tuesdays with Morrie” It is about a professor who is dying of ALS. One day one of his students named Mitch (played wonderfully by Hank Azaria) sees his old professor as he is watching Ted Koppel's "Nightline” on television. Mitch realizes that this is his old Sociology professor, Morrie (played flawlessly by Jack Lemmon). He goes to visit him once, then twice and then, gradually, on every Tuesday. They talk about life, love, marriage, commitment, death, etc. in ways that will make you think. It is sad how we don't understand things like life until it's too late, and that if only everyone had the same dose of wisdom that Morrie had, I wonder what the world would be like. Morrie often told a story about how people are like waves, and how when they hit the shore they ceased to exist (die) - unless you realized that, in truth, they weren't really waves at all, they were part of the ocean. It’s a great movie and everyone that sees it will learn something from it.

Last week, while I was waiting at a red light, I saw an old woman die in a car accident not more than 20-30 feet from me. This old couple must have been around 60-65 and they just drove full speed into the side of another car, much like driving into a brick wall. I was right there and it all happened so suddenly. By the time that all the air bags had gone off, and the front of the car had disappeared, in a matter of a second or two, two peoples lives were changed forever It happens just that unexpectantly and fast. I immediately dialed 911 for help but I think the woman was so old and fragile that it was too much for her. It was a horrible thing to witness up close, but it wasn’t the first time that I had seen something like that, which is why I tend to appreciate all of the little blessings in life. Things like the smell of fresh bread baking, a child's laughter, or the wagging tail on a puppy, they’re all big things to me
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05-Nov-2004, 11:40 PM #10
Wet Chicken, you have a good heart!!
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06-Nov-2004, 12:05 AM #11
Shhhhhhhhh!!! Not so loud. Some of the republicans might hear you
















By the way - THANKS!
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06-Nov-2004, 06:28 AM #12
I HEARD that!!! Tee hee! Hey, Chicken, that completely convinces me that you are a young one! It's funny how 60-65 seems OLD when you're 20. At 49, it really doesn't seem old anymore!

My boss is 66. She is still a pretty woman, thin with big, blue eyes. Frail? Hardly! We have to lift heavy fabric bolts (not the little ones like you see in the dress fabric stores, but the 54" wide ones with 50 or 60 yards of fabric on them) and she can STILL outlift me! She was athletic when she was young and despite a bout of hepatitis as a teenager, she is very strong.

Nowadays, life expectancy for an average woman is around 80 years old. Men live 5-7 years less, but due to stress factors on women in the working world, the gap is closing. Here in Florida, I regularly see the ages of people in the obituaries at 90+ years! I read them once in a while because I like to read the testimony of their lives. Often when people die, they are the only ones left and they are soon forgotten. I like to think about the lives they lived. (It's funny, but it seems when I DO read them, there is inevitably someone I knew listed! It's like I'm drawn to it! I only do so occasionally!) Most people aren't that frail in their 60's anymore.

One thing I find annoying is how people are categorized. You are "young" from birth to age 40, when you suddenly become "middle aged". Then, after just getting used to not being young anymore, AARP and the banks turn around and tell you that you're a "senior citizen" (aka= OLD) as soon as you hit 50! So, basically, you have a ten year transition from young to old. STUPID! Our society is so youth oriented that it can't mentally deal with the concept of aging, let alone death!

My Dad died a few years ago. He would've been 98 this year, had he lived. He was one month shy of 93 when he died. He was a builder- contractor/master mason, and worked up until he was in his 80's. He could lift two huge cement blocks in each hand, and he was a small man. His strength and fitness played a part in his longevity. He drove up until he was quite old and his vision went, and his reflexes were better than mine when I was young!

My mother is 80. She is now frail and weak, although she is still mobile and very mentally cognizant. She does crossword puzzles and reads her giant print books. She watches the news and stays informed. Her memory is just starting to get fuzzy. (Mine has been fuzzy all my life! [*stress*])

Aging is a very individualistic thing. Angel's parents died young. Mine are long lived. Some people seem to age quickly and even look much older than their years, while others seem to sleep in pickle juice at night to preserve themselves! My baby brother is now 41. He had to grow a beard to look "mature"! Except for an occasional grey hair creeping in, he looks about 30. his wife is also the same age and looks and acts young. I am 49. (UGH!) Still, I think I've been blessed with good genes. Most people think I look much younger, and I don't limit myself to doing what middle aged people do. I believe how you THINK gets you through things when how you FEEL doesn't match up!

So sorry to hear about your fiancee, Chicken. I've lost a few, but not to death! Can't imagine how much that would hurt...Life is precious. You have to appreciate people while you have them.
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06-Nov-2004, 07:48 AM #13
The idea of death doesn't scare me and I don't recall that it ever has. As a matter of fact it has always been a topic that intrigued me and I never have shied away from it. The problem with that is there is rarely anyone that wants to discuss it as I eluded to in Randys other thread. Like others that have passed their 50th year I know people that have died as a result of cancer or other horrid disease and I consider it to be quite (for lack of a better word) unfair. I left home when I was 15 and as they say " grew up on the streets of Vancouver" so have had the misfortune of seeing mans misdeeds against others. I have also witnessed horrific traffic accidents during my 3 years + as a long-haul truck driver. And then the "easy ones". Someone goes to sleep and never wakes up. I have seen people that have accepted the fact that they are dying and one or two that refuse to accept it. They themselves for the most part don't want to discuss it nor do their friends or families, pre or post death. What does get my attention is the process of death. To have to lay and wait in agony for months is not something that I look forward to, if of course that's how I'm going. Again no one likes to talk about it. I have known religious people that will talk about it while they are healthy but after being given the dreaded " can't do anything for you cancer talk" clam right up and don't want to discuss it. I have been at deaths door twice and have not run from the topic if and when it came up. If and when I raised the issue most didn't want to talk about it. So I throw this out to you......... For those that don't like to discuss death how about telling us why the topic is so taboo.
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08-Nov-2004, 08:07 AM #14
Hiya Everyone.

Marlene - I cried writing mine as well!!

Thanx to all of you for sharing. I also think it's good and healthy to talk about this, no matter how recent it a loss was. Because death is such a topic of Taboo, the majority of folks look at those who grieve as a sort of Pariah. At the time of their loss, it is OK to allow them to grieve, but once you get past that uncertain, but very real timeline, where it is no longer considered appropriate to grieve . . . well, now you get the " It's time to move on" or "you need to get on with your life" or "it's not healthy to grieve so long".

I happen to agree with those sentiments, but I think of them more in lines with the psychological impact that dwelling on loss can have to you. A lot fo people just feel uncomfortable and don't know how to deal with death, and they just want the grieving person to stop, or to at least not do it around them.

Life is about blinding yourself to reality, and shaping reality to conform to your own sense of comfort.

Wimpy - believe it or not, that was my intention for this thread, but somehow the logical portion of my mind was sidetracked by the evil and insidious emotional side

Death was a topic i discussed with my mom many times, as we also discussed just about every other aspect of life. It's why i knew what my Mom wanted, and what she would also have liked. Her version of Hell would have been exactly the way she was living, but in addition, she would have lost the ability to choose to end it.

Although I did not grow up on the streets, i did my 8 years as an Air Force firefighter, and have seen fatalities in Aircraft, fires, as well as auto accidents. I always pictured suicides as ugly and sad, as well as pathetic and a waste . . . I still think of them in that light. I do not feel pity for someone who achieves it, as they do not deserve my pity.

I am a firm believer in the work Dr Kevorkian (SP?) did. Funny, there was a book written by Piers Anthony called On a Pale Horse. It was the first book in his Incarnations of Immortality series, and talks about Death, Fates, Time, War, Evil, good, etc as human beings who do a job, and while doing it, take on the aspects of that Immortal power granted them. The first book is about Death, and at one point, Death decides he will not kill nayone again, thinking in his mind that he is doing people a favor. Of course, his limited understanding of Death was based on the ugly parts of taking a newborn, or one in his prime. When he did not allow people to die, he recognised one of the most important gifts in life . . . the right to die in peace and dignity.

I am outraged by Doctors (or families) forcing a body to be lept alive by machines, for no other reason than to allow the relatives to have a living shrine to mourn at, or because the Law has determined that people no longer have the right to have a choice about the quality of their lives.

Death can be the greatest thing to visit a person, as it was for my Mom, or it can be something that breaks the heart of the people who have lost their loved ones in tragic accidents or illnesses, but it is a fact of life, and one that should be discussed.

I believe it is healthy to discuss it, and debate it, as long as you don't dwell on it. Too much of anything can be detrimental.

Anyway, I hope I got some sense in the midst of this rambling.
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10-Nov-2004, 12:45 AM #15
I hear what you're saying about the grieving part. I had a friend, Ruthie, whose mother died a few years ago. They were very close despite having had an estrangement when Ruthie was younger, and lived together at the end. It took her a very long time to overcome the depression she felt at her mother's passing. The sense of loss was overwhelming. Everyone started telling her to "get over it" after about two or three months. I did not agree. Grief is different for different people and some need more time. She was terribly troubled by the coldness others displayed because they didn't want to hear or talk about the topic of death.

Within a year or two of her mother's death, Ruthie disappeared in Yosemite while hiking. Her body was never found. Now her sister grieves for HER! I went to two memorial services for her, the last being a final memorial of a headstone that her sister purchased to give closure to her grief. It was next to her mother's and although it was in a beautiful place, it still seemed eerie that someone so full of life would be cut down before a full life was lived.

As a Christian, I don't fear death. Sometimes I fear the dispproval of God for the things I've done wrong, but not death itself. I believe I will be in a better place not because of MY goodness, but what Christ did for me, and my apprehending that faith in Him. It brings peace.

Although I come from a family that lives long, both my grandmothers died at 50 of cancer. I am now 49. I have always felt that I wouldn't live a very long life for some reason, but I'm not bothered by that except that I wish I could've accomplished more and done more for others in the time I had. Whatever time I DO have, I regard as a gift and desire to give back to God. I know if I live like that, I will have no regrets in the end.

As for suicide, I don't believe that people automatically "go to hell" by ending their lives, as some think. I suffer from migraines and the pain causes me to literally pray for death! Yesterday, a cold front came through which triggered the worst one I've had in a long time. I couldn't even get out of bed until 6 pm except to throw up three times. I DO understand how excruciating pain would cause someone to end their own life. I don't believe it is right, but I completely understand it. Also, because I understand pain, I would never sit in judgment of someone taking their life. Only God knows how much a person can handle, and only He is qualified to judge them.
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