What kind of fricken question is that? No one is ‘ready’ to die.
Well there are legal professionals who can write up your last wishes to please those you leave behind with your worldly goods and take their cut and there are spiritual professionals who can guide you on your way to a fantasy fulfilled world of faith after their deposit and plenty of medical professionals who can keep you ticking for as long as you pay their fee, but in the end… you and I and everyone we know will die.
From what I’ve read and understand, we the ‘homo sapiens’ are the only creatures on this planet that logically understands there is an end to our life. Even though we don’t want to talk about it, dying is inevitable.
There are charts and graphs and lots of historical data on how long our time will be, but an automobile accident or a war or just bad eating habits can bring about the grim reaper earlier than intended.
We prepare for our own demise by burying pets in the back yard or attending Aunt Betty’s open coffin wake and cry tears for no real reason other than an acceptable ritual.
Entire industries are manufactured around our death. Listings in the local news deliver announce our passing and legacy, for a fee. Long black limousines and silent guys in black suits assist the remaining family and friends through their grief, for a fee. They will even dig a hole in the yard to drop you in, for a price.
Who knew it cost so much to die?
Memorial services can be held to remember the passing of a family member or friend while dividing up their worldly goods for their personal memories or monetary rewards. Precious items held so dear will wind up in the dump for the next generation will not understand their significance.
So with all that reality, are we ready?
Some may ponder the afterlife, if there is one, as a golden existence with forgotten friends and family up in the clouds. We will relieve ourselves with cards of ‘see you on the other side’ or ‘when you cross over the bridge, I’ll be there waiting for you’.
Others may lean on a faith, for that is why we invented it, to be rewarded with eternal bliss for living a good life. If that is the case, it will be pretty lonely up there and pretty crowded down in the gates of hell.
The youth don’t concern themselves about dying because they are invincible and are exploring life’s adventures and should be free to enjoy. Unfortunately, there is no timetable for death and some are taken before realization of the journey. Others may suffer in pain and misery until death is a welcomed end.
As we age and loved ones go to the great beyond before us, we contemplate death. We think back to our parents and grandparents who were laid up in homes of assisted living drinking water out of straws and just waiting to die. There life had gone from a vibrant person to a feeble stumbling forgetful shell where every morning brought another day of struggling to eat or communicate or excrete their bodily fluids in a somewhat dignified manner. Each day and hour is about survival.
Do we prepare for this fate?
Morbid subject? Sure, but to enjoy life, one must understand it is a blessing and appreciate every waking moment. Taking that extra minute to sit in the quiet and feel the sunbeams or listen to the crickets while watching the full moon or just taking a moment to stop and realize where you are and what you are doing. A kind word to a stranger or an affectionate word to a special someone will be worth the time.
My method is fairly simple. My house, as it is, is in somewhat order. I’ve arranged my priorities and if I don’t get to them, it is fine. The next person can handle it. I’ve not instructed the state or city or powers-that-be on my wishes for my property or personal belongings for there is nothing that needs to be said. As far as spiritual, not associated with any formatted religion structure but familiar with the cause, I stop several times a day to just stand still and look around. Listen to the trees and watch the wildlife that shares this land with us. Look up to have the snow wash my face and giggle. Stand in the rain knowing I won’t melt but will dry off. Sweat in the summer’s heat and shiver in the winter’s cold. Watch the moon wanders across the dark sky while the trees dance.
Am I ready to die? Don’t know what I’ll do when eternal darkness arrives but everyday, before my ride, I stop and look at the plot of land I’ve lived on for almost four decades. I look up into the trees and slowly scan the paths and grass and dirt and pause for this is my legacy. This is the same time everyday that I remember those who have gone before and those I still have feelings for. Sentimental mush perhaps, but the yard I saw yesterday is not the yard I see today and possibly I’ll be back to see it different again tomorrow.
At the end of the day, I draw the curtains closed and tell the critters ‘good night guys and I’ll see you tomorrow; Lord willing and the creek don’t rise’. Silly ritual? Sure but if I die before I wake?