I have been thinking about death. Not because I'm ill, depressed or morbid but because I've recently read Death Matters by Sally Petch. It had been brought to my attention by Ceri at Fab After Fifty. She had done a blog post on Petch and it piqued my interest. The book as the title infers is about the importance of death and dying. Her premise is that we need to accept that death is a part of life. She recommends embracing life and the ageing process and accepting that we will die as will our loved ones, our pets and indeed all living things.
Death and dying aren't new ideas to me or even a new preoccupation. When my father died in 1966 I became obsessed by death. My father was a hypochondriac. He had spent years being ill. He'd had various aches and pains which had come to naught. He started to experience pains in his chest and difficulty swallowing. My theory is that because he'd had mystery ailments for years the doctor fobbed him off and by the time he was taken seriously it was too late. They opened and closed him up without removing the cancer which we were told blocked his oesophagus. He never properly came out of the anaesthetic. We were all stunned. We'd laughed and joked by his bedside the night before. He was only supposed to be having a biopsy and he was dead.
As a twenty one year old mother of two it was my first experience of death and I was just devastated. I spent several months thrashing about dealing with it as best I could. I tried various tranquillisers all of which didn't work. I was demonstrating symptoms of anxiety and depression but really I was mourning. I was mourning a father I didn't really know or respect. I did love him but I don't know whether he knew that. I had been brought up to see him as the cause of our family ills and I believed it. It took me years to suss out what was really happening but that's another story.
We didn't talk about death in our family but we talked about it in terms of a particular person being lost. I did think that was a bit peculiar. It made it sound as if they'd been mislaid? Later when my mother was in her eighties she talked of there being things 'worse than death' or 'having had enough'. I'm afraid I wasn't very sympathetic. I thought she was being dramatic. Now I have more of an understanding.
This morning I suggested to my OH that he create a file with all the relevant papers in and that we should talk about music etc for our funerals. He literally laughed out loud but when I explained my reasoning he's agreed that it's a job for next week. As I said not morbidity just common sense.