As I move into my palliative reality, I’ve had several discussions with others on whether a sudden death is preferable to one that is expected. What are your thoughts?
Although my timeline may have changed recently, forcing me into fast forward, J. and I have had (the gift of?) time to plan for my impending death. We have been systematically sorting out some of the logistics of my departure. Why, just yesterday, I sold J. my car for one dollar, since I doubt I’ll need a vehicle up there. Then I promptly spent my unexpected windfall on wine gums.
When someone dies unexpectedly, loved ones may not have a chance to tell the person how they felt. There may be unresolved issues amongst the survivors, complicating their grief. Imagine a teenager who commits suicide after a fight with a parent, or an estranged brother who learns his sister has died suddenly, preempting any chance at reconciliation.
Well, there need be none of those unresolved issues with me, folks. Throughout my life, I have tried to make amends with others I’ve felt I have wronged. I’ve always tried to be honest with people, perhaps to a fault, but I’ve never intended to be mean. If I have crossed into meanness with you, and not addressed my behaviour at the time, I am truly sorry.
I have also tried to let those I am close to know how deeply I value them through my actions and my words. If I don’t get to all of you before I die, I’ll trust you have sensed my love and gratitude for our relationship. I have been truly blessed with a richness of friendship and love.
If you haven’t yet, take some time to tell your loved one what the relationship has meant to you. Forgive me for wanting to guide you through this process but I have had some experience with this lately.
If your beloved is dying, consider addressing only the good, and leaving out the bad and the ugly. If that person said or did anything to hurt you many years ago, don’t raise it now. You’ve had ages to address that wrong and chosen not to. I can attest that dying people are frankly not up to the confrontation; they’ve got other things, like hospices and graveyards, on their minds. I realize this may seem unfair, but I’d urge you to stick with the positives in those final exchanges.
When you choose your honest words with me, maybe you too could consider whether they will be hurtful. Now’s the perfect time to consider biting your tongue until it bleeds. Feel free to discuss your longstanding grudge against me with someone else, however. Perhaps therapy might help you resolve your ongoing resentment. Let me provide the name of an excellent psychologist while I still can.
Finally, if you want to tell me what I’ve meant to you, consider your verb tenses wisely. I’d prefer your addressing me in the present tense since I’m not dead yet. If you tell me that you loved me, I’ll wonder when you stopped, for example. Once I’ve died, past tense is fair game if my name arises. For now, I’m still here, and I can still hear you. Thanks.