The Legacy of Dying

What a title!  “You think too much about dying, Martha,”  folks will say to me.  Well, I’m living in my 80th year. The certainty that I will DIE, the universal Master Teacher, returns my focus back to the fact that I still have time to LIVE.

A recent memorial service for a neighbor in my senior residence touched me deeply.  A small glimpse of a portion of the legacy this woman had left behind was inspiring.  Carla’s service reminded me to get busy with a few of the legacy tasks over which I still do have some control.

Her son referenced the wonderful memoir his mother wrote over her two year participation in our writing group.  Consequently her family is in proud possession of her life story…in her own words.   Three months before she died, she had shared part of that story about her life growing up in World War II Germany with fellow residents. And, the paintings she created in the art group are in demand by members of her family.  Her grandchildren related powerful stories about being with “Oma” which will live forever in their memories.  The beautiful music accompanying the service reminded more than one of my neighbors that they wish to carefully make their selections now and communicate their choices to their families.  Attendees were reminded that flowers were not requested.  Preferred was a donation in her name to the Legacy Fund of Providence Place where we all lived.

The way she exited the earth represented a powerful choice and potential option for members of her family.  After being in and out of the hospital several times, she finally said, “OK, this is it.  It’s time.  I am dying.”  She went on hospice and chose to stop eating. Her last years, her dying, and her celebration, thoughtfully ended a life well lived… and left some models for others.  

A legacy, indeed.

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