Death is not the enemy

Death is not the enemy; let contemplating our mortality focus our choices about how we spend our remaining days.

On a slow day of a winter storm, I sent out my occasional “musings” newsletter to friends and family and interested others. Now 77, I find myself increasingly playing with elements of my own aging journey and commenting on it. In that February “musing”, I invited folks to pay attention to the losings and the losses that occur as we age. I suggested considering them a “part of initiation” that helps us contemplate the new age stage we enter.

While I sometimes worry that folks will be discouraged about later life, as opposed to  considering the invitation to reflect and choose among all kinds of possibilities for the future, I am pleased when I receive affirmation. I was delighted by this response from my 66-year old friend, Lynda Overlock.

Martha, thank you so much for your latest “musing”. I always knew that more friends and associates would pass away when I reached this age…but I was unprepared to lose 14 in the past 12 weeks! Those deaths brought into sharper focus what we’ve been exploring, since some had good deaths, while others did not have people around them to ease their transition.

I’ve redoubled my efforts to complete some paperwork, make my wishes known to ALL my family (not just immediate), and I’ve given my pastor a copy of my end-of-life directives.

Personally, I’m continuing to weave baskets, and have joined a study group that’s reading Jim Wallis’ America’s Original Sin, that deals with social justice issues. I’ve been substitute teaching, but limit it to one or two days per month. I still tutor on Wed. afternoons at the library. So I’m keeping busy.  (end of note)

I thank Lynda. It warms my heart to remember the days we spent in our open discussions at the senior center during 2014-15.  How much those conversations seem to help all of us focus on the variety of issues that require our attention in later life..the living fully, the graceful aging, and the dying well.


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