woman umbrella in shallow waterRecently I’ve been bringing up the subject of my eventual death around my adult disabled son. It’s time to redo our wills and set up a special needs trust so that his health care benefits will be protected when he inherits whatever modest amount we’re able to pass on to him, if any. He really does not like me to talk about dying; he thinks my attitude is too casual. But that’s the reality here—all bodies come and go, and we have no control over that. We cannot foresee when, how, or where the body will slip off.

It’s also true that many female members of my family have lived to be very old—into their mid to later nineties. But I could just as easily be snuffed out tomorrow by a texting driver, or a falling tree. I’ve grown much more interested in quality of life than duration.

Or we could outlive my son. He told us last week that he hopes he goes before we do. He’s exhausted from living with chronic severe pain, and he can’t imagine living without our support.

I’m much more interested in speaking the truth than in making him comfortable by avoiding the topic. Besides, I no longer believe bodily death to be the end of life. It clearly isn’t. Life will barrel along just fine without us. And when what we recognize as life is done–such as planets, suns, and universes–awareness will still remain: pure, still, and awake.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit: Panhala Poetry

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