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Pensive Thoughts on Mother’s Day

05/12/2013

This is the seventh Mother’s Day that I thought was the last one for my Mother.  It is also the first she has spent in hospice care.  It is not easy for anybody, especially my Father.

She has taught me much about life and death.  But, I have been thinking about the dying process – of being between life and  death.  As an existentialist, I normally view death as the ultimate absurdity.  But, the process of dying is more serious than death.

When a client and old friend died recently, I marveled at his process of dying.  He was athletic and fit, until a month before his death.  When the doctor gave him 2-6 months to live, he passed away 6 days later.  On his deathbed literally, he joked that getting a tattoo of the William and Mary logo on his behind was on his “bucket list.”  That night, he passed quietly.  He had a good life and a good death.

In the meantime, I have watched my Mother wallow in misery for years, needing and demanding more and more of those around her.  It is not enough to have a good life.  It is just as important to have a good transition between the two worlds of life and death.

At a seminar on longevity in Baltimore last year, I learned that men die faster than women and are usually healthier before death.  In other words, men die more quickly and easily than women.  This is partially due to our estrogen-starved hearts and our tendency to “do God’s work” by committing suicide.

Also, being a good and decent person doesn’t guarantee an easy transition.  Saying “the Lord works in strange ways” is just a cop-out.  Earning an easy transition is never guaranteed, but I do believe you can improve your odds by becoming athletic and fit.

Undoubtedly, mothers teach us more than anybody else, even some things they don’t mean to teach, which are probably the most valuable lessons of all.  I wish a pleasant transition to almost everybody, but I’m especially grateful for my Mother and wish her the best . . .

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