Monday, November 1, 2010

Preparing for the hereafter


I realized I had not written anything about preparing for the inevitable, the end of life on this earth, for a while. Getting ready for the last journey seems even more necessary than packing for a trip around the world. While I was watching the old karaoke party videos I was struck by how many of those dancing around on the video have either moved from here or left the earth. I was particularly haunted by Pierre who was so active in the videos, usually having helped prepare a huge meal for all the residents as well as spending days decorating with a different motif for every single party. I remember one year he insisted on taking down all the Christmas decorations and putting up more festive ones for the New Years Party. Talk about preparation. This man was planning weeks ahead for the resident parties, enhancing as he always had, his then wife's reputation as a manager. (She suddenly and quite shockingly divorced him) No wonder he was thought to be one of the best decorators and party givers ever. In fact, he was so busy seeing to things to a personal Christmas Party I gave for my family that my ex-husband thought I had borrowed him from the Westward Ho to help me give this party. He was trying to chat him up and find out just how I lucked out, which made Pierre nervous so he went outside. Our sons had not thought it necessary to inform their father Pierre and I were now companions or he might have declined to come to the party. And we were hoping my ex would sing. I always had a special longing to hear my ex sing Christmas carols. I never thought any of my singing husbands or BFs could sing Silver Bells quite as beautifully as he could.
He, too, has gone to the other world, quite unexpectedly I am sure, after getting his truck stuck in the desert, getting out to go find help, and never being seen again. I am sure this sudden departure was quite as shocking to him as it was to his family, friends, hometown, in fact everyone who knew him. Where his bones lay nobody knows and the end of November will mark 5 years of his disappearance.
Pierre was not at all prepared for his diagnosis of lung cancer even though he had been in excruciating pain for about a year. He assured me he had had pain every bit as bad as this many times. He had an explanation for all of it. So when he was told there was really nothing that could be done to save him, it was so far advanced, he kept saying, "This is insane." He had a hard time grasping that by the time the month was over he would be gone.
I gave up my evenings of TV for meditation and preparation. It has been about a year and I don't regret not seeing all those commercials at all. I think I have benefited from resting and extending my mind in other directions.
Watching those video party tapes I felt all those people were so close and yet so far. I have been out walking this morning, determining I would get more exercise so as not to make my departure any more miserable than it has to be. The more I walk and the less I eat the better I feel.
It does seem like a good idea to get in the best shape possible for departure. Some people think the idea is to get in the worst possible shape. But I think that is an awful way to go. Imagine starting off on such an important trip feeling about as bad as you can feel either from stuffing yourself or drinking too much or chain smoking.
Some people seem to think you have to kill yourself more or less when you get old or you will never die. But if you are always trying to kill yourself to get it over with you are going to have a miserable old age.
I come from people who lived a long time and were active right up until they died, so I have help from their example. I remember my Grandmother Wilson telling me several times about two of her relatives who when they got old knew nearly the day and the hour of their departure, they were that much in touch with the spiritual aspect of themselves.
I have always gotten psychic messages about important events to come, so I think I will start to receive warnings in plenty of time to get ready. In fact, the urge to write about this is probably a nudge in that direction. A reminder that more preparation and thinking about it is in order.
My sister's 90 year old husband has been in the hospital with a pacemaker malfunction. The battery needed to be replaced which caused some kind of health crisis. He is now in rehab hoping to come home, saying he is not ready to die yet, but I am sure he is being reminded that 90 years is coming close!
My 78 year old sister said she dreamed she was taking him to meet our mother. Mother was smiling and ready to greet him which of course she would be as would other members of his family who have gone on. He seems pretty strong so may be able to come home a while longer, but he is also receiving quite a nudge in that direction. He has probably gotten a little more ready, knowing his time to go cannot be put off indefinitely. But is it now, he is probably asking himself. Has he said all his good-byes.
It looks like he will be the next one to depart in the family circle, but maybe not. In any event, he has lived longer on this earth than any one of us, so it is logical to assume he may leave soon.
Perhaps this urge to write is for him as he has been in the family over 30 years now, being her second husband. Her grandson just came home from a Mormon Mission and he requested that he come to see him in the rehab center since he was not able to go to the airport to greet him or listen to his mission statement, as he has done all the members of his family who have gone on missions as well as in hers. He has been an attending church member all his life so all the Mormon rituals mean a great deal to him.
The day of departure cannot be hurried and should not be, I believe, nor can it be delayed. It is as though a clock is ticking the hours and minutes of our lives away and when the clock has run down, we will go, ready or not.
Floyd has had 10 by pass procedures on his heart, this before stents were invented, so he has struggled hard to overcome whatever has happened to him. Probably his hard work in the fields kept him healthy despite these problems, so that he has always recovered and seemed vigorous again. We have laughed about all the times he has insisted on going hunting even if he had to be put on his horse. He even went buffalo hunting one year when he finally drew the chance to go, and when he did not get one the first few days, he hired a guide to see that he did and was so proud of that buffalo hunt. He had access to a beautiful mountain to hunt deer so he was not going to pass up any opportunities to do it. He loved to talk about the days he and his brothers and his father when he was alive went hunting.
Death is a part of the hunt, so I think that hunters as much as any people do understand that death is a part of life. And when it is time for him to go, he will meet the test with courage and acceptance and peace in his heart.

4 comments:

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

I was touched by your Hereafter blog and tribute to Floyd living and those gone. I listened to the video of Raymond and you singing better than I've ever heard you sing. I give Pierre credit for that. I'm glad you posted your song too. Don't we all wish we could sing...maybe we will in the Hereafter, something to look forward to. I think you talked about all those who are gone that touched your life.

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FrankandMary said...

I sort of don't think I need to prepare...it will just happen..and if something is actually there, then Mom was right & I was wrong...
~Mary

LaRena said...

It was very nice to read your comments about Floyd as well as those about Pierre, I'll bet a lot of the people from the w-ho miss his talent as the leader of parties and lovely decorations. I remember seeing what he had done was Xmas and found it very impressive.

This death business is very interesting. Seems people are always surprised no matter how long they know it is inevitable. Odds and ends keep popping up that you think you need to do before you leave this earth. At breakfast with the Executive group this morning it occurred to me to get the card of the only active Realtor to put in my trust. She and I had so much fun working together. I told her I could trust her to order the boys around as they are used to me doing, and not let them stand ringing their hands.

Another interest bit happened along these lines. A boy I went to high school with wrote me a really nice letter. He said it had been announced at the last reunion that I was among the deceased. Elaine had heard about this and called to tell him no, I was very much alive. I remembered I had a bit of a crush on him. Haven't seen him for 62 years. He said he would love to hear from me so I sat down to write and thought if I am ever going to tell him about my crush now is the time. The whole idea made me laugh so I had fun with it. Just when I think my bucket list is complete something else pops up. When my time is at hand I'll probably be yelling "Oh but I have to do this or that first. We were laughing this morning about the ones who don't want to go without their hair done and their make-up in place. It reminded me that when Terry was born for two weeks I tried to look my best to go to the hospital. When it was really there all I cared about was living through it. Well I can't die this November because Larena is coming and then Gail. And so the process goes on and on.


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