In Dallas last summer, I visited a beer garden with a huge chalkboard. At the top, I read the words, “ BEFORE I DIE.” Below were blanks, each beginning: “Before I die, I want to______.”
From the looks of the crowd, I suspect the answers were chalked in by beer drinkers a lot younger than I am. I imagine they contemplated their bucket lists with a much airier attitude than we older folks do.
But this post isn’t about my bucket list. It’s about coming to terms with dying. Who’s working on it? Me.
My mother’s death last year from cancer at age 90, and the great courage she showed, give me the guts to really contemplate my earthly mortality. The experts promise that accepting death helps us live the rest of our years with gratitude and gusto.
For me, one aspect is finally realizing I can’t control much of what happens after I die (because I’m dead). Who takes my childhood dolls and my grandmother’s china? How many years (or months!) until my husband Cliff remarries? Will anyone remember (or keep) my published books?
What I cared about at 40, I can now let go.
But the other day we had friends coming over. I realized at the last minute that I had NOT gone over the bathroom. Yucky hair festooned the sink. My hair.
What if I weren’t here to clean the sink? What if I were dead and people came to pay their condolences to Cliff and the sink looked like it did last Friday night?
I don’t care if laundry blankets the couch. I don’t care if the sink is teaming with greasy dishes. I don’t care if shoes make a mountain by the back door. Do I care about sink hair? YES!
I told Cliff not to let anyone into the house until he has checked the sink. The sponge and cleaner are underneath. He said okay. What a man! I hope he finds an adorable second wife.
I’m not ready to die yet, but I’m one mini-step closer now that I know my sink’s appearance is secured.
How about you? What have you let go? What do you still worry/care about after you die?
— Barbara Younger
Barbara Younger writers an upbeat, witty blog, Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause and Midlife Roller Coaster. Healthline placed Friend for the Ride on its list of Best Menopause Blogs of 2013 and 2014.