Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I was about 10 when I first started thinking about death, not in the abstract, but my own death. I wrote a will, I told people what sort of memorial I wanted. My parents thought me morbid, I was just being practical. I have never feared death, despite the best efforts of Catholic churches and schools. ( Thank you Confirmation classes!!! O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.)

I was about 12 when my grandfather died--- my first experience of the death of someone I REALLY loved .
I remember how incredibly angry I was at all the empty words and euphemisms--- I got in lots of trouble with my parents for saying to some adult "he didn't 'pass away" he bled to death because the cancer destroyed the arteries to his lungs Dead is dead. just say it;" (yeah, I was that kind of kid. Even at 12. But that's a story for another day)
By the time I reached adolescence, my friends and the friends of my older siblings would die in Vietnam, Some came home breathing,but destroyed. A teacher would suddenly suffer a heart attack and die. A classmate would suffer a cerebral hemorrhage. By the time I was 18, my grandmother would die while I was away in college. A favorite colleague of my father's would commit suicide. I had parents older than most of my friends parents. As their youngest child, I fully expected them to predecease me. I never expected my sister to die before my 30th birthday. Still the same empty words, still the same euphemisms. I am in my 60's now. My brothers are in their 70's. Nothing ever change

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