Monday, April 6, 2015

On Death and Dying

Usually with Easter comes thoughts of rebirth, new life, springtime, and beginnings, but my grandmother on my mom's side passed away early this morning at a hospice center in Austin, TX. They moved her from the hospital yesterday, and she got to see all her children and their spouses, her husband, and her dog one last time. My uncle and the dog were there overnight when it happened. She's been sick for a couple weeks, and we were lucky that she came to a couple times and was actually able to talk to people. I talked to her on Saturday, and she couldn't respond, but my mom said she was listening. She was a very special person in my life and I have so many good memories with her! She touched so many people and was such a kind and thoughtful person. She was an avid reader of my blog and I will miss her but I know she lived a good life and I am grateful to have known her. 

This is from an e-mail my mom sent me yesterday:
"Last year when Carolyn was taking her freshmen seminar on Death and dying, she had an assignment and interviewed Grandmother.  This is what she said:

How has religion shaped your view of death?  

I think it definitely has shaped my view of death.  I feel there is a purpose in life and
 that someday I will be with God in his loving care.  I don’t fear death for this reason.  Maybe it is separation that I fear.  I feel thankful for each day of my life, even with 
pain of arthritis or allergies or back pain or neuropathy, or whatever.  I am lucky to
 have lived as long as I have and have been been fairly productive with my life.  Unlike some people, I have been fortunate to be able to watch children grow up, followed by grandchildren.

Do I have fears of the future?

Sometimes I worry about getting a horrible illness or that I won’t get good care when
 I am unable to care for myself.  I sometimes worry it will it will be too sad to leave my home someday.  I think of possible difficulties in transitioning into an assisted living situation:  What if I am not content with my choice of living quarters?  What then?
I don’t wish to have a long painful death: sometimes I worry about that.  I often think
 how nice it would be to just fall asleep and not wake up when I die.  True peace.

Have you experienced the death of anyone else that particularly struck you or made you think?

I can think of several newborn babies or classmates or relatives (8, 12, 15, 16 21 years)
 or young people in the prime of their life, not having the chances I have had or the 
joys or adventures, die too young.  This makes me appreciate my own extended lifetime, and also appreciate more each day that I can enjoy the lives of those I love and each 
day I have had them in my life."

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