Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Considering the circumstances of my demise

No one who believes in life can choose the details of his or her ending.

My parents continue to teach me about the tough reality of growing old. Movement to life's end can be halting, harsh, humbling, humorous and, at times, horrible.

So, I find myself working on a check list of hopes relative to the conclusion of my own journey. Here's what I've come up with so far:

1) I hope I live fully until the last minute, sixty seconds after which I long to fall over dead and gone. Then, let the party begin! I am currently working on a list of friends who will be invited to tell jokes on me at my funeral, that is, if they can rise from their own wheelchairs.

2) I hope to be delivered from long stints in unfamiliar and dangerous hospital beds where the floors around are always too slick for common sense, weak legs and distended bladders. I suppose bugs in the rugs are more of a threat than broken bones on the linoleum.

3) I hope never to be "delivered" to any "skilled nursing center"--since I now know that is simply code for "nursing home."

4) I hope never to be "roomies" with anyone who doesn't remember his name or who insists on singing off key all night long.

5) I hope when someone says to me with a stupid grin, "Well, I bet you have seen lots of changes," that I have the good sense to say, "Well, not nearly enough!"

6) I hope I never need a pill box to keep all the meds straight, morning and night, that I can't keep up with in my head.

7) I hope, if I have to have doctors, that they will have the good sense to talk to one another, at least occasionally.

8) I hope I never end up on some chaplain's list for "rounds" and prayers that I haven't asked for. Why does that line, "May I say a prayer for you?" always make me angry?

9) I hope my running buddy, Dan and my development partner, John and my long-time friends, Edd and Randy, as well as others I won't list here, come by to see me just because they want to and not because they feel obligated. I also hope they sneak in hamburgers and milk shakes!

10) I hope I get sweeter and softer--however, I fear I'm already headed in the opposite direction!

11) I hope I'll be able to communicate to my children, grandchildren and, if I live long enough, great grandchildren just how much I love them in a manner that will make them laugh and understand deeply without feeling any embarrassment.

12) I hope I remember my name, at least every now and again.

13) I hope I'll keep up with technology so that whatever is coming after my laptop will be something I use daily. I hope I can think clearly enough to write something or someone every day.

14) I hope I still read the box scores during baseball season. I hope I can get out to a game or two or 10 every year.

15) I hope that I die before I leave the battle I most believe in.

16) I hope, even if I am forced to sit down, that I never give up.

17) I hope I don't outlive those I love the most.

I'll keep working on this list. You got one?



Anonymous said...

I love Number 11 (I hope I'll be able to communicate to my children, grandchildren and, if I live long enough, great grandchildren just how much I love them in a manner that will make them laugh and understand deeply without feeling any embarrassment.)

Number 16 reminds me of B.B. King's appearance at A Night to Remember. He sat through most of the performance. I am glad he did. He's earned it, and especially if that's what it takes for him to be able to keep playing, no problem!

I am curious about Number 8. What is it "May I say a prayer for you?" that you find offensive?

DJG said...

I don't have a list but yours is a good start! Thanks for sharing it!

Larry James said...

Anon 10:24, I guess it is just me, but ministers or hosptial chaplains who come to rooms with their pre-set agendas really make me uncomfortalbe at best and angry when I'm tired. Recently, during one of his hospitalizations, we enjoyed getting to know the head chaplain. He visited my dad every day--he never mentioned prayer or religion. His actions made it clear he was simply there to see my dad and to check on him. He had no other agenda. Had my dad asked for prayer, no doubt he would have received it. But the focus was my dad's health, recovery and well-being. No artificial, magical, predetermined plan. I always find it presumptuous to impose my prayers on the ill or the wounded. It just doesn't seem authentic. I'll confess to being judgmental here. Sorry, but when I want prayer, I'll pray or possibly ask you to pray with me, if we are friends and if we are connected to one another. If you feel differently, I understand.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute -- aren't you supposed to be on vacation?!??!

Number 18:

Blog less. Fly-fish more.

Stacy Peters said...

I've got a friend who lost his Dad a few years ago. It's the best "last days" story I'm aware of. His Dad was in his early 80's. A brief summary of his last two days in this life:
On Wednesday, he was on the water at daybreak with his best friend. They caught crappie all day, came in at sundown and cleaned fish until 10:00.
On Thursday, he went over to his small hometown for his cousin's funeral. Saw all his extended family. Came home after lunch - made love with his wife, then decided to take a short nap. Passed away in his sleep. BRAVO!