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4.10.2013

OF DEATH AND DYING and how we get there


I read the obits daily.  It's yet another sign of me aging and turning into my mother. I have, as of yet anyway, not started reading them verbatim out loud though as she loves to do. One begins to see glimpses that you are aging when you see people in the obits your own age. 

This morning I had an inner dialogue over a 45 year old (as I pen this I am presently 46 years old) obituary I saw in the paper.  [45.  It says they died unexpectedly in their home of natural causes.  Natural causes - shouldn't that be what eventually happens to us in our 90's, you know the warranty has run out, there are too many parts that need replacing.  What is natural causes?  I am 46.  Should I be worried about natural causes?  Wait a minute!  For me natural causes would a blessing to die from instead of the long lasting effects of the chronic illness I deal with.  I mean at 45 you are in the middle of life - some behind you but some more ahead of you.]

While recently in Arizona, we visited my aunt and uncle.  They are respectively 80 and 88.  My aunt is a beautiful woman with gorgeous skin still at 80 years of age.  She has relatively few wrinkles and that enviable milky even texture of skin that we women long for.  Her mother, my great-grandmother, also had beautiful skin which she retained until she passed onward in her 90's.  I don't think I got that full gene:) 

I did though get the vanity gene from them.  Kudos to you Aunt Dee and Great Grandma Marie!  My great grandma, with only days left on earth, ran out of her very expensive wrinkle cream she slathered on daily (right there might be evidence that those creams do work - or evidence in genetic disposition as well).  She wanted my aunt (her daughter) to get her more.  Now logic and science were showing death was near.  My aunt, not wanting to disappoint her mother or withhold something from her that brought her some sort of comfort about her looks (that will be me on my death bed too!), took the empty bottle and refilled it with cream - just not that expense wrinkle cream.


If you were to look in my drawer in my bathroom you would also, much like my great grandmother, grandmother and aunt, see presently around 24 tubes of lipstick.  Yes, you read that right - 24!  Mind you though, some are almost empty and a new tube of the same color is there waiting to take over.

This week in the newspaper I saw a man's picture in an obituary who appeared to be in his 70's.  The picture his loved ones had chosen to post with the blurb of his life and death was him with silly string hair and a pipe cleaner moustache.  I laughed, hard!  What a great mental image it left the reader with about him - full of life and energy - someone who didn't take himself too seriously.  Death is somber enough.  Maybe facing it by smearing wrinkle cream on days before you cross the life to death threshold, or posting an obit picture of the deceased in silly string hair makes death not so somber, not so serious.  It makes it part of life.





I still don't know exactly what "natural causes" means for cause of death.  It sounds rather delightful.  I am though going to fight the urge to read the obits out loud verbatim.  But, I am planning to carry my vanity right into the crematory - wrinkle cream and new tube of lipstick freshly applied.

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