Thinking and coping with your own death. Have you really thought about it?

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For those that haven't read my profile, I'm an only child and my parents immigrated to this country, where I was born. I know that we're all going to die but growing up I wasn't exposed to the aging process. I heard of my friends' aging loved ones breaking their hip, having memory problems, etc, but I never saw it. And I'd never buried anyone or attended a funeral.

My father was the most important person in my life. When he became ill with advanced cancer, I dropped everything to move back home to care for him while also caring for my mother, who had her own set of issues and couldn't step in to do the normally accepted spousal caregiving role. I was it. All me. Taking care of both parents. I was a 24/7 machine - and still going. When my father was alive, we didn't talk about his death as everything was done to save his life - he refused to be a DNR and what happened to him was a real mess. I'm still having nightmares from seeing and vicariously living through his suffering while I was advocating for his medical needs.

Now that he's gone and it's just me and Mom. I still don't know how to really process that he's just a skeleton buried six feet underground. You know I mean?? I don't know to process that once he was here and now he's not. I know Mom will pass someday and I have the same thoughts regarding her passing. Now I'm in a rush to not only care for Mom but to also get my affairs in order so I can purse my goals and dreams after Mom passes away. I view taking care of parents was the speedbump-from-hell in my quest for living a full life.

I'm just wondering have you all thought about what's it like when you're actually "gone". Are you scared? Sometimes I am and sometimes I'm not. My greatest fear is that I won't be able to experience life and won't have anyone to share this experience with.

7 Comments

Yes, I have thought about dying. If it can just be floating out of my body after some form and going into the light, it would be fine. I don't want to be tortured to death by myself or anyone else, though. What I've watched my parents go through is torture done by their own bodies. I guess the most we can hope for is a fast and peaceful death.

I believe most people are afraid of dying. I believe that fear may keep people pushing away from death when it gets uncomfortably close. People often say they don't want to live in misery, but will go to the doctor or hospital to be fixed when things start failing. Of course, we as caregivers don't have the heart or power to let them die if we can prevent it.

I wonder if many people fear death so greatly because of their religious beliefs. Have they been good enough to escape the lake of fire? Every person knows the evil that dwells in their own souls, so are we going to burn or die the eternal death? We can have faith and hope, but really we don't know, since we haven't died before.

Wouldn't it be nice if the angel of death came to us and asked if we were ready to go. We could just lay it all down and fly off to whatever is on the other side. The other night I had a thought and a silent prayer and asked God to please not have my mother meet me at the station. ACCCCHHHH! (Sorry -- I had to end on a light note.)
careisgiving, it sounds like you are afraid of dying without having finished your living. And you are taking sensible steps to see that you are not stuck just waiting to re-start your life. Good for you.

I worried more about dying myself while people were depending on me. My husband has died. My children and stepchildren and even grandchildren are grown and independent. There are people who would miss me -- and many will be left to still miss me when I do die. But nobody will be orphaned or devastated by my death.

I've had a good career, a great family, lots of challenges, lots of pleasures. I plan to have a lot more life, but, really, I've had a good life.

So I am no longer worried as I once was of who I will leave behind. And I am not in the position you are in fearing that I won't get to live by life.

I do not believe in hell or heaven. I'm not worried about what comes after life, if anything. I'm more curious than scared.

So, while I am hoping to live a few more decades, I'm not really afraid of dying. I hope you are successful at seeing that your mother has great care while at the same time you get on with your living. I hope that when it is your time to die, you will feel that you really did use your time to live.
I have a seven year old son and my biggest fear is dying and leaving him and my husband alone. We have tried to prepare (wills, college savings, etc) in case something happens to one of us, but we are also focused on getting all we can out of the day - enjoying each other, working hard at careers we love, I guess living. I do believe in the afterlife so I'm not scared of death. I'm very scared of two things: 1) dying slowly and painfully 2) dying and leaving my son with out a mom. Good luck to you - it sounds like there are things you want to do in life - start now, and enjoy the ride. Let us know how you are doing.
I was so lost - for a very long time - after my father died. I just was shelled up at home while caring for Mom. It's only been in the last six months that I've started to "re-awaken" and realize, "Damn...I get on with my life! There's a lot I want to accomplish!" For so long, my thought was I'll begin my life - after Mom passes away. My goodness...she's the Energizer Bunny! Seriously. She isn't passing away soon but she also has absolutely NO quality of life. It just churns my stomach so slowly to see her pretty much non-exist. And then I feel guilty for wanting to have a life when I see her not having one. So, I recently decided enough's enough. I need to get on with having that passion for life. I miss having a career, having friends, having relationships, etc. There are times when I feel my mother is the elephant in the room. You know what I mean? I don't regret - one bit - taking care of both parents because their quality of life was a thousand times better under my watch. I just wish her death will be soon - and quick and painless as possible. And of course, I'll be sad and lonely after she's gone but I'll also feel some relief because she's no longer suffering in the present. At this point of my life, I'm agnostic and open to changing my views as I gain varied life experiences. But I just have to believe there's a reason why Mom's still here with me. Maybe after I get things going and established for me, then it will be time for Mom to go. I've just had a little bit too much wine lately, hence the reason why I posted this topic! :-)
I have reached a bit of peace with how my life is going. Before I thought about how my life was on hold and how I was missing out of all the things out there. Then I realized that this is my life here, and that I don't really need all the things I was conditioned to think I needed. It is like when we're raising kids. We give up the night life to stay home with them. It might not be as fun if you think of it in the way of freedom, but it can be fun if you build your life where you are. The problem with that is figuring out how to build a life when you live in the equivalent of a NH for one.

I was sitting on the steps yesterday, thinking about I could hop in the car and go to St. Simon's. That would be fun. But I knew I was tethered to the sick woman in the house. That was a depressing thought. But maybe it is enough to walk up the street and hope to bump into a neighbor to share a few words.

Sometimes I watch things on TV about all the exciting things people do and think of how boring I am. That's okay, I guess. Probably most of us are pretty boring. Sometimes I sit back in the rabbit room and play poker with the rabbit. Sad thing is that she usually wins. I don't know how we get so isolated. Life can be that way for older people. At least we have a lot of practice of how to be old.
I think it depends on the family around a person. I am an only child who had no children. I am a senior who is trying to deal with much older seniors, who have drained me physically and emotionally. If they had a crystal ball, they probably would have made better decisions as they aged.

My life had been put on hold for many years and now I don't care about retirement any more. I will keep on with my career until I drop. Thus, I don't fear death at all, in fact there are times I would welcome it but let's wait until my teenaged felines have passed on first, so I wouldn't need to worry about them.
Yeah too much wine can make you morbid. But I hesitate to talk about God on here cause I always get flack. But I am a believer. My Mom who recently passed away was a true woman of faith. So I know she is happy. I miss her terribly though and of course still have moments of panic imagining the whole future stretched out in front of me without my best friend. I have to believe that I will see her again one day. The alternative is too devastating for me.

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