Tuesday, November 20, 2007

So fragile


We all know life is fragile. But, unless we are sick or in pain, we don’t really think about it. Our bodies might be sturdy, our armours and yet at times they feel like rice paper that the smallest thing could piece.

Last week was a rough one for some relatives. They received bad news. I feel sad for them as well as somewhat guilty because I’m planning my Christmas list.

I feel bad to be happy and joyful when some people are dealing with the fact that this might very well be their last Christmas. We all know that we are going to die, one day, but knowing that you may have only so much time left, that’s something else. We often hear “Life is too short”, “We only live once”, “Make the most of this life”, it might be true. We don’t always choose how and when we’ll leave this world (except for people like my dad). We don’t choose to get older, it just happens. We can choose how we aged though. We don’t always reach our goals or get what we deserve. We do what we can, but what about what we believe?

Hubby and I talked about it and even if it’s only “theoretically” we both agreed that we would try to do as much as possible to enjoy the time we had left, especially if we’re able to, physically.

What about you, if you were facing your death or your spouse’s, how do you think (we can only assume here) you would want to spend that time? Would you want to travel, see the things you never did or stay home with those you love as much as possible? Would you let yourself go and await death, or would you try everything possible to fight this? Would you choose to die in peace with yourself and those around you, with dignity or would you let the medical system prolonged your life by medical means? All these questions are hypothetical, because none of us knows how we would really react when facing our own mortality… But at the same time, I believe that those are questions we should ask ourselves before we are actually facing that time. I know I did.

14 comments:

Nicotine Jones said...

That's a tough one. On one hand, I'd like to catch up on all the TV I have on the DVR. On the other, I'd like to take my kids to lots of places, take lots of pictures/videos so they'll have the memories since they are too young to remember most of that. I'd probably start a video diary so they'd have that part of me...And say to hell with the diet, bring on the pasta, steak and gelato...

Marius said...

I have asked myself this question many times, and I just can't get my brain around it. The thought of death is so utterly terrifying to me that to force myself to actually admit that it's something that could really happen to me is difficult. I can honestly say that I have no idea how I would react to a certain death sentence. Probably with an initial panic and withdrawl, then, hopefully with a new resolve to be as positive as I could be for those close to me. On the other hand, I might just say 'screw the altruism' and spend my last days in a heroin-induced haze while indulging in a hedonistic orgy of food and young girls that would have made Caligula blush. Who can say?

Kim said...

It is hard to know what you'd do in a situation like that until you're in it. I think if it were me I'd like to travel a bit with my family and then spend the rest of the time at home with family and close friends...making more memories and making sure they knew I loved them.

Brave Astronaut said...

First of all, I'm sorry for your relative's bad news. There is no good time to receive news like that, but it is especially sucky at the holidays.

None of us likes to think about death. When my mother arrived there a year and a half ago, my siblings and my father all had a chance to be with her and say good bye, a week before she left us.

Both my parents have made it clear that once they are both gone, they want to be cremated (we're half done) and then we children are to take their ashes to sprinkle them across the waters of Bermuda.

I have not given that much thought to my own end. I have more than one friend who get nuts when I tell them I don't even have a will. Where my wife once worked there was (and still is) a benefactor who is over 100 years old. She doesn't have a will. She believes if you have one, you die. So that's working for her.

I am not a big cemetery visitor, so I don't see myself as spending my eternal rest in the ground. I do like fire, so I might go the same route as my parents.

I realize that I have skipped ahead from your original question. But I agree with the others. Give me enough notice and I will certainly not remember my final weeks. And I certainly will not shrug off the mortal coil at home. Max out the credit cards baby, I'm outta here.

lizgwiz said...

I think, as tempting as it might be to "do everything I ever wanted to do," I would really rather just spend the time with my loved ones, and not make myself all crazy crossing things off some "to-do list."

If I were diagnosed with a serious illness, I'd fight like hell. But if it comes to the point where my quality of life is gone, then I want to go peacefully, and not prolong things hooked up to a machine. I have a living will made out to that effect, and have given copies to family/friends. Which everyone should do, to avoid those horrible Terri Schiavo-like family struggles.

Lara said...

Wow. This is something I really don't like thinking about. There are just too many things I'd want to do!

LaraAnne said...

PS, I'm sorry to hear about your relatives.

Annake said...

Last Christmas my uncle received the news that he had 6 months left to live. The doctors told him he had until May and he joked that he wanted to make it to June just to be able to say "Told you so!" We knew it was coming but it still sucked when it happened. I hope when my time comes I'll be able to face it like he did but I'll be honest, the thought of dying scares the crap out of me. I don't know how I'd react if someone told me I had only a limited amount of time left. This one is a toughie!

Stinkypaw said...

nicotine: Hear! hear! on the diet thing! ;-)

marius: What scares you about death?

kim: I like your outlook on this...

astronaut: Interesting thought that lady has; hey, if it works for her! And I like the maxing the credit idea...

lizgwiz: Never thought of giving copies of my living will to friends, good idea. Quality of life is important to me, more than duration.

lara: Thanks, it's not easy.

ananke: I like your uncle's view. Did he make it to the limit?

kim said...

sorry about your relative ..that news especially bites at holiday time

to tell you the truth i think id spend my time worrying about how everyone else was handling it lol
and squeeze in some guiltless comfort food ohhh and cheesecake and chocolates :)

simplypink said...

I would spend time with family and do nothing else.

Stinkypaw said...

kim: The timing sucks for sure. But there's never a good time for that, is there? Cheesecake and chocolate now you're talking! ;-)

pink: If I had kids, I might do just that... max out my time with them.

Ananke said...

Stinkypaw, he made it to mid-June so he really was able to prove the doctors wrong. Even if it was just by a couple of weeks. He was a good man and is very much missed. But he had lung cancer and he was suffering so it was better that he be able to move on. Still sucks though. :-(

Stinkypaw said...

ananke: There's nothing worst than watching those we love suffer. Sorry for your loss.