I am Dying

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Photo by Jon Bunting

I am dying.

Scary words, until you realize that from the moment we are born, we begin to die.

I am dying. So are you. Dying is a part of living.

As Benjamin Franklin possibly said,

…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

In most circles, death is not an oft-discussed topic, at least publicly.

I’m a bit of an odd duck when it comes to picking friends; most of mine are eligible for the senior coffee discount at McDonald’s.

With age, I suppose, comes a certain awareness that while the end may not be near, it is inevitable. At least once a week, one of my silver-tressed friends tosses out a phrase like,

if I’m still here next year,

or even,

we both know I won’t be here much longer.

Recently, a close friend confided,

I came across a picture of a family reunion. Of at least forty faces, I’m the only one in the photo who is still alive. The realization shook me. 

I often wonder whether other people my age feel the imminence of death in the same way, or if my musings are influenced by the input of my elders, their consistent reminders of mortality.

I want my life to count for something.

I wish to leave my children with good memories.

I hope Hubby can honestly say these were the best years, the most fun he ever had. That he could always tell I love him deeply with every bit of my soul.

I’d like to accomplish something amazing before I die.

All of this is constantly in the forefront of my mind. 

Also, I really don’t want anyone to hate me because they end up with my unfinished business…all the things I was going to use “later,” millions of papers to scan, the mess of notes on my computer, the parts of the house I always plan to clean but end up forgetting they exist (like wiping the top of the refrigerator or under-the-couch dust bunny removal).

Speaking of the mess of notes…will anyone even read them? Maybe Hubby, or the kids. But unless I buckle down and finish a book, they don’t even make sense. Will they think I was crazy, or just disorganized? Maybe I should create a “destroy computer upon my death” note to save everyone from embarrassment (ok, mostly me).

I want to do something. Something real. Something big. Something that matters.

It’s not like I sit around and do nothing. Today, I worked a half-day for my job, changed the sheets on my bed, washed laundry, steam-cleaned two couches and the carpets in two rooms, made meals and helped the Boy organize his room. (He has picked up my “but-I-might-need-this-later” habit…we are both striving to overcome hoarding random objects that might be useful for creating.)

But of the list above, only two of those items have any real meaning (although it’s nice to be clean…and it’s also nice to eat). I am a recruiter, so the time I spent talking with candidates could ultimately pay off in a changed life if they find a job match. And most important of all, the time spent with my son helped solidify a bond.

While we worked, we talked about trust and how Hubby and I work very hard to keep our word even when it means we’re not happy (think promised consequence for certain action). The Boy expressed how difficult it is for him, even after five and a half years, to trust.

Later, when I put him to bed, he hugged me hard and—with a fervor I don’t often see—thanked me several times for helping him. Definitely time well spent.

Especially since I’m dying.

Only one breath stands between me and eternity. One distracted driver. One stray bullet. One disease. One heart attack. One robbery gone wrong.

It’s probably better that I don’t know how I’ll go, or when. I read a story once in which the characters all had a time stamp to let them know when they’d “expire.” If I knew, I might obsess about it (will it hurt? how long will it take?) instead of living. If the date wouldn’t arrive for another 50 years, I might not live with urgency or try to make each day count. After all, 50 years is “plenty” of time.

I just read an article by Ray Stedman called, “How, Then, Should We Live?” encouraging us to “live supportively, live generously, live thoughtfully!” With Georgia mortality on my mind, his writing resonated deeply. The article tends to wander, but I highly recommend you read it—if you do, let me know what you think.

Since I obviously don’t have info regarding the Big Date, I’ve decided to live this upcoming year as if it were my last, with the goal of living supportively, generously and thoughtfully. 

I want 2017 to be the year thinking about death causes me to make a difference, live fully, love absolutely.

Am I crazy? (Wait, don’t answer that…)

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Take the poll.

About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'll give it to you straight. Success, failure, truth.

Posted on December 22, 2016, in Adoption, mental health and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Happy New Year!! We’ve miss you at Survivors Blog Here. I changed everything back to Casey Alexander, reading a post, I noticed your going Hypervigilant.org. I can change and show you as Hypervigilant.org, I look forward to see your work, now more than ever. We’ve added two guys with very interesting backgrounds. You bring knowledge and excitement when boredom sets in. I want you to stay in the group, How often you post is up to you. If you’re posting less often thats cool with me. Let me know what’s going on in you’re life.
    🙂
    M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for always staying in touch. I’ve been praying for your health to continue to improve! I’m sorry I don’t always remember to reblog to Survivors, but I’ve been trying to do better. 🙂 Feel free to post the link anytime you comment; maybe that will help drive additional traffic to the site. I love what you’re doing, getting everyone together and involved. Yes, I’m branding the blog Hypervigilant.org from here on out, thanks to some advice from a speaker at a WordPress event…gives readers an idea of what they’re dealing with right off the bat, haha. 🙂

      Like

  2. All too easy to drift through life, assuming you have years left to accomplish things, that eventually you’ll get round to doing everything you wanted to. I suppose most people think this way – right up until the moment they aren’t here anymore. I’d like to reach a moment of acceptance before I die – I’ve seen people, even the elderly, fighting death, being fearful. I hope to just ease into it when the time comes.
    Don’t ever think of having your work deleted – even if you never complete it. Just think, even if we don’t get published, the wonderful gifts we have to leave our kids – all the stories, the characters, the evidence of how creative we were, the side of us our kids don’t really think about. What a wonderful thing to discover about a parent.
    And yes, through much of daily life – the chores which make life better but which are so easily taken for granted – you’re not creating a legacy. But in a way you are, because everything we do defines us and your loved ones will remember how warm and welcoming you made your home, how there was always food and comfort there.
    Lovely, thoughtful piece, Casey

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Casey, have you heard Jon Foreman’s “Learning to Die”?
    (If not, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rZ8w1QSlXY)

    “All along I thought
    I was learning how to take
    How to bend not how to break
    How to live not how to cry
    But really
    I’ve been learning how to die”

    Mortality is a gift. I wouldn’t want to live this life on this earth forever.

    And yet we cling to life; we find it difficult to let go. Why? Because there is a sacredness to life. It is not supposed to end.

    We live between the tension of these two realities.

    “Learning to die” (as you know) means more than just our physical death.

    Greatness (that which we desire to leave behind when we pass), “making our lives count“, is found in dying to self.

    And, Casey, your “masterpieces” are the places where you sacrifice yourself for others, which you do daily with your kids. As you allow God to work through you to touch and shape their hearts and minds, as you lay down your own desires to meet their needs, you are participating in a divine work that has eternal consequences. The things of this world will fade. Treasures in heaven are eternal. You have already left, and will continue to leave, a legacy written on the heart of God. You will hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” There is no higher calling.

    (Hope this is not too preachy. I am at the end of a long slog with accreditation — two weeks to go and no “Christmas” in sight for this girl — and I am hungry for more meaningful discourse than policies on policies on policies ad nauseum.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is beautiful, and thank you for the reality check. Hubby and I were just discussing…his dad accomplished so many things before he was even our age, and it’s easy to feel…less…but we reminded each other that we have two bright accomplishments in the back seat every time we go for a drive. Thank you for your faithful friendship and reminder of a higher purpose.
      And nope, not too preachy! I thought it was beautiful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Far too many people I know have died. Just this year two co-workers, a cousin, and my sister in law. All before their time. Scares the crap out of me. I’m always wondering if I’m next. Every ache and every pain is the big C. But it’s not, at least not yet. And that my friend is not living. So every day I wake up and I live in the moment and I try to think positive to get to that next moment and for now that’s about all I can do.

    Thank you for sharing this. I like it because it’s making me think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I already have Lupus, so try to take care of myself, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the “what’s THAT pain” train of thought. Thanks so much for joining the conversation! Your comments make me think, too, and I love that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm..it is a valid question….your first sentence was enough to stop me from not reading. I do think if I know, I would change the way I live. But I admit that it’s not something I think about that often…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, something to really think about…I’m also from the school of thought to try to make a positive difference while you’re here

    Liked by 1 person

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