Thursday, May 27, 2010

How I Want to Go Out


I'm thinking about this today. My mother, who is six weeks away from the ripe old age of 70, has just taken a full-time job, and informed me this morning. And my aunt, who has written me letters my whole life, but whom I've only met a handful of times, is dying in a hospital in Pennsylvania. So my thoughts are all over the place, reflective and quirky.

For the record, I don't want to work forty hours a week my last few decades of life. I want to mosey around the globe, read books, play with grandchildren, re-wallpaper my foyer, work a crossword puzzle, visit the doctor, try new wrinkle creams, argue with people, and attend funerals. I want to spend time selecting a suitable burying ground. I already know I want grass, a marble headstone, and a pithy quote beneath my name.

My philosophies on birth are similar to those I have on death. No drugs. Some pain. A day or so to reflect on the momentous change ahead. Then relief.

I don't want my children to have to read scripture to me on my deathbed in hopes that I "get it". Lord, spare me a child who late in life converts to born-again fundamentalism and questions my salvation as a late-in-life convert to Catholicism. I won't have time to discuss theology as I lay dying, just as I don't have time to discuss philosophy as I lay in labor. By these crucial moments, it's much better to have our minds made up. Not that I scorn anyone their deathbed conversion - not at all - but mine took place before the deathbed and I don't anticipate any major changes. Still and all, anyone is free to read scripture to me during my last breaths to remind me of God's power and love. (Which makes me wonder what type of scripture I'd want read to me in labor --- passages of Jesus' suffering? Or poetry from the Psalms or Song of Solomon? Now there's a comical image - verses from Song of Solomon being read to a woman in the throes of child labor. Eesh.)

My friends, it's time to go crank out four cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, so I'll pause in my writing about this topic. I'm sure I'll still be thinking about it, though, so I'll get back to you when I decide for sure about what to include on my headstone.
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