18 December 2010

Live Well. Die well.

If you were going to choose how and where you were going to die . . . I don't mean engineer it, but if you could have input in the planning . . .

Odd question, but it's instigated by the fact that my grandfather couldn't have done any better if he had planned it. He planned lots of things. He planned travel holidays down to the meal times and places . . . even when they were driving cross country! He was an engineer and liked order.

The evening he passed away, he dressed up for the Christmas party, with my dad helping him and laughing over how hard those little collar buttons were to get buttoned. They even had a handy hooked tool, but with manly fingers, well, it was a challenge.

Then my dad drove him to the Christmas party at which he was an invited guest amongst the big wigs and medical staff of the community in which he lived. They liked my grandfather being one of the residents' representatives and on the board because he was fair and a good thinker.

He knew you couldn't ask for the moon while paying nothing for the trip. He would shake his head in wonderment at those in today's newspapers expecting everything without considering where it was to come from! Do the math!

As a debater on his high school team, he stood up and out. I wouldn't have wanted to argue with him, and cannot ever remember doing so. Whether there was a right side or not, his logic was beautiful and strong.

So, he had a stroke amongst the best of the medical staff at a Christmas party for which he would have worn one of his Christmas sport coats and plaid tartan trousers. He was dapper!

He and my dad missed out on the Christmas lights they were going to see that night, but otherwise, it was a pretty good way to go.

Yes, I've been to a friend's funeral this week, a memorial to a well lived life. I'm not all morbid about it all, it's just that we all seem to think we'll live forever. Why is that? Why do we delude ourselves or live in denial?

It happens. The key then is to live well, to live generously and with purpose. The thing is to love those you can and try to alleviate suffering where possible. The point is to remember that we are all part of a continuum that we contribute to, but which does not hinge on us.

We are not our bank balance, our place on the leader board, our annual sales figures, our trophies on the shelf, our title or the make of our car or phone. In this world, we are who our loved ones remember us to be. In the grander scheme, we reflect the image of God and out to ooze some of that into the lives of those we touch.

I want there to be a party after my death where people tell stories and laugh and . . . in the months after think, "Where is she? She always did this (or that)!"

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