Death

Fear it or accept the inevitability?

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else.

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Re: Death

#21  Postby Agrippina » Oct 02, 2021 6:25 am

mindhack wrote:Thank you for sharing. I feel for you.


Thank you.

I'm not the most patient of people, sometimes more than just a little difficult to live with. There are things I'm rigid about that would irritate ordinary people, which is why I don't have real life friends, and when I do, I lose them because I accept I'm hard to love. For instance my son will put the mayonnaise bottle on the wrong shelf in the fridge, and he doesn't get why I ask him why it's so difficult to put it where I want it. Most people can't stand this kind of obsessiveness.

This thread came into my mind last night when I heard that someone in my extended family died this week. I suspect the person was depressed but not getting help. The signs, now with hindsight are a little obvious. The person went off away from home, something they've done quite frequently, as a "time out". The family couldn't ping the phone because it had run out of battery power by the time the person was found, dead. We're terribly sad about this, if it was suicide I wish I'd known about the depression, I'd have been there to support and possibly help it not happen. We don't know yet, will hear when the autopsy results come out.

The thing is that we don't expect people that age to die suddenly, and it's shocking when it does. I know this because I've lost a nephew and a niece (siblings) this way. The action caused my sister, their mother to lose her mind, and now she just sits waiting to die. She's almost 80.

People need to talk about death, as Piper explained about his dad. If you're aware of it coming, it makes the slow downhill process easier to handle, yet difficult at times when you think about the person they were before. On my Barry's birthday, my kids all said they can't get their heads around it. And to make it worse, no one believes he's 80 because he doesn't look like it. He's still tall and handsome, his back stoops forward a little and his walk is slow but he walks faster than I do, possibly because he's never fallen and broken his face.
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Re: Death

#22  Postby Agrippina » Oct 02, 2021 6:39 am

The_Piper wrote:It reminds me of my dad, he's 86 and has been on his last leg for 7 or 8 years, but still hangs on and is pretty sharp. But he doesn't get out of the car on errands and stuff. There's a hospital bed in the living room that takes the place of his couch. I think I've said this before, but he told me that if he died today he would be satisfied with his life, which certainly helped me a real lot. It will be devastating to lose my parents though. He remarried and his wife is in her mid-70's. She's sharp too and still able to help take care of him, thank goodness. He'd be at a nursing home otherwise.
I hope the rest of the way is pleasurable for you at times, as much as is possible. :hugs:


Yes, Barry also has a "sharpness" about some things, sport for instance. The man played professional football (soccer) as a youngster, won several prizes for cricket at school, and in his late teens, and has won loads of them for bowls, which he's played since he retired in 2003. He's also been a talented actor, and singer, can still sing, hasn't lost that ability, but we've both lost the ability to dance now. Ballroom dancing was something we enjoyed together, right up to dancing at the two formal weddings of our children in the 2010s. Now neither of us is strong enough on our feet to waltz, or to bop to our old favourite rock 'n roll tunes, but even with our aged voices, we'll break into a duet if Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' Islands in the Stream plays in the car. That was our song. When we were doing amateur dramatics in the 1980s, one night at an after-party, the pianist started playing the tune.We stood at the piano singing along, and received a huge round of applause from our fellow actors. Then it became ours and my kids say they can't hear it without thinking about us. So it will cause tears in the future. Music, is gone now, unless we croak it out, acting definitely, we can't remember what we had for breakfast let alone learn a whole script, so all he has left is bowls. I've often said that he would've been a professional soccer or cricket player had he been young in this time when playing for the country is something children are encouraged to aspire to. Not in the mid-1950s when he was at school, it was something he did for fun. So he watches football, is obsessive about watching his favourite team's games, Chelsea, and even though I really don't see the point of it, I've sat through world cup cricket and rugby games, keeping score and recording results to predict who'll play in the final for him, just because he likes me to do that.

When we get back to active World Cup matches again, I'll probably watch some of them with him just because he likes my commentary when stupid mistakes cause us to lose a match. So yes, I will still find some pleasures we can enjoy together through the rest of our lives.

(Our movie, that's Grease. The first movie we watched together with the little boys sitting on the living room floor with us on the day they met him in 1985).
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Re: Death

#23  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 02, 2021 6:56 am

This is the truth of old age


An old London saying: if things round here don't change... then they'll just stay the same!

While I think these changes can be disconcerting, it is just the result of life being change. I found my peace with it by coming to appreciate that even if I don't get it, even if it doesn't make much sense to me, and even if it's not my world - the world I grew up in - it's not like the next generation can do much worse than mine did, and mine almost certainly did better than the one before.
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Re: Death

#24  Postby Agrippina » Oct 03, 2021 1:46 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
This is the truth of old age


An old London saying: if things round here don't change... then they'll just stay the same!

While I think these changes can be disconcerting, it is just the result of life being change. I found my peace with it by coming to appreciate that even if I don't get it, even if it doesn't make much sense to me, and even if it's not my world - the world I grew up in - it's not like the next generation can do much worse than mine did, and mine almost certainly did better than the one before.


I totally agree with you. I'm sad about this virus coming now at the end of our lives. It didn't have to be as bad as it is if those who could jumped into action in November 2019, still it is what it is. Life is starting to feel a little more normal now, even though we just wear masks everywhere. Also I don't bother with the news and all the insanity that happens in the world anymore, I can't do anything except make donations where I can to what I can, otherwise I just enjoy the little treats the kids give us, and take each day as it comes. At least I can still hang out the laundry and do the ironing, although I stretch the work across the week now. I can't deal with cleaning every day the way I used to 20 years ago.
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Re: Death

#25  Postby jamest » Oct 09, 2021 3:35 am

What is there to fear about death? It's like going to sleep and not waking up. And being asleep is precisely the state you were in before being born. Did you care about being born before you were born? No. Will you care about being dead after you are dead? No.

The key to a carefree human experience is in accepting that you are on a journey with a beginning and an end. I am very much entering the latter half of my human experience now.

My only regret in life is that for too many decades, the fear of death haunted me throughout the prime of my life. However, I genuinely don't think that I care about my death any more, only the negative effect it will have upon my loved ones, especially my wife. I just don't want to suffer prolonged pain.

Time passes so fast, which with retrospect seems like the blink of an eye.

As many of you know, I'm into philosophy and have pondered 'life' for much of my own; yet, for all that, I have yet to come up with a better mantra for human existence than the one I heard in the Shawshank Redemption movie, over 25 years ago:

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Positively embrace that mantra, whatever stage of the journey you are on, and death will not haunt you, ever.
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Re: Death

#26  Postby Agrippina » Oct 09, 2021 4:33 pm

Oh it doesn't haunt me. It's just that I'm aware of its approach given how quickly time passes when you're old. One day it's March 2020 and a pandemic is announced, the next it's October 2021, and you've had vaccinations what seems like 5 minutes ago, but is actually three months. Then the numbers go up because the lockdown level was lowered again, and you start thinking about a booster vaccine. This while tens of thousands are delaying your booster while the government contemplates making vaccinations mandatory and there are still hundreds of thousands waiting for the first vaccine while you're thinking about your booster being six months overdue, and the fear of getting sick for a third time is a real concern. You see it's the manner of my death that bothers me. I don't want to be bedbound which I virtually am now. Two attacks of Covid have taken their toll on my health, and this isn't what I wanted the end to be. I know it is what I have to accept but I wanted to be well for as long as I can, to be on my feet, able to take road trips, to walk on a beach again, to sleep in a strange place while I travel to a loved destination, but that's not happening again.

After our trip two weeks ago, and six hours of game viewing, I realise long road trips are behind me. That's what makes me sad, not the idea of being dead but of a stupid respiratory infection having robbed me of the ability to take a trip down to the coast to take my dog for a walk on a beach.

I'm really not being haunted by death, I'm just angry that my dreams have been smashed because of something that could've been handled faster, and better, having robbed me of my dreams.
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Re: Death

#27  Postby Macdoc » Oct 12, 2021 8:03 am

Buck up Aggie ;)...change the dreams and make the best of what you have ...spilt milk n'all.

Partner and I are pretty capable of travel ( me less so ) but we both agree travel via hidef is a viable and sometimes preferable journey.....I'd surely struggle on Macchu Picchu but love the travelogues and the tales younger friends have of their travel and climb there.

We'll take a shot at our interrupted Chile trip still wanting to see Torres del Paine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torres_de ... ional_Park

But aside from New Zealand and maybe revisit Lalani Estates ( volcano ) our bucket list has been edited drastically due to both risk of covid and financial considerations. We have instead a growing and almost endless list of hidef journeys to enjoy from the safety of home.

We'll road trip Australia later next year and hopefully New Zealand. Do what we can and not worry about diminishing capability tho younger partner is a bit in the denial stage about that aspect.
I'm happy I can still ride motorcycle and that is a diminishing arc...I can't do 10,000 km motorcycle trips anymore and really don't miss that tho damn happy I snuck a solos cross Canada in at 71. It did hurt tho.

When we were little the back garden was the whole world....still is. You have a birdfeeder?
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Re: Death

#28  Postby Agrippina » Oct 13, 2021 8:03 am

We used to have one (a bird feeder) in our old place in the retirement village, but we can't here. Firstly Johannesburg is pigeon territory. If there's food, pigeons will hang by their toenails to get at it. And it they don't, it invites rats. For South Africa, this part of Johannesburg at a little more than 100 years old (our house is 100 years old), is rat country. They live in the old sewers and under the floorboards of houses built on the rocks used to create their foundations, so there was a place to store coal before there was electricity, I'd hate to think what sort of wildlife lives in the 5 ft tall space under the house. So no bird feeders here.We have birds, they just stay high up win the trees away from feral cats, and the rats they feed on. Sometimes if I'm lucky I get to see them outside my window on the neighbour's roof. His house is lower than ours, having been built on a subdivision of what used to be the adjacent open land area of this property. It's a newer house with a 1950s style foundation.

We still do go out, but we keep ourselves away from crowds as our vaccination percentage is not yet high enough to make mingling with crowds a good idea. Having already experienced Covid, and now three months past the second vaccine, we're worried about possible exposure before we can get a booster. We're still required to wear masks, except to eat in socially-distanced restaurants, and our public places are opening, so we'll be able to go to markets, and we've been promised a trip to a lion park in the near future.

The problem is my health. I have heart issues that cause my feet to swell if I sit in a car for too long, and too long, being two hours. Even sitting outside on the patio without elevating my feet, means I am in horrible pain while my heart gets blood flowing smoothly down to my lower extremities. He just gets really tired if he sits for too long, so while he also keeps his feet up, he moves around the property every few hours, while I tend the garden and do work around house - a little every day. On top of that, I'm going blind. It's not cataracts, it's something else I need to get treated, and I will, when I'm ready.

Financially, the virus has made things too expensive for us now, especially travel. We can't afford to hire a car to go off on a trip we can't afford to pay for anymore. And I don't want to ask the kids to fund us. They have their own families and finances to budget. We have enough to live on, to pay for our online entertainment, and our expenses, but not enough to spend 10G on a weekend away from home.

I'm actually fine. Not unhappy. I've achieved what I wanted to with my life. I knew I'd never be able to afford more than one trip abroad, and my home is paid for and is comfortable. We don't want to do alterations that will over-capitalise the property meaning the money will be lost when my son sells it to do what he wants to do in his retirement. The area isn't one that attracts investors. It's now just convenient for the two high schools in the area - the girls and boys' version of again Boer War era tradition in education, so parents will pay to live near the schools, then sell again when their kids leave to move to more glamorous apartments that are being created from unused office buildings now that most admin business is being done from home.

An interesting fact about Jo'burg is that in the 1980s, they moved the CBD to Sandton, all new developments for banking, and the stock exchange, and major shopping malls, with housing complexes - very upmarket. Now a lot of the office buildings have been empty for over a year while admin is done remotely, and it's relieved traffic congestion making travel in peak time necessary only if people are working, doing necessary work that can't be done online. It's an interesting development. Now Ii see online schools and another university are emerging from the convenience of not having to leave home to get education.

At the start of this thread I was in a bad place. Something had happened that made me want to get some things off my chest, but now it's been resolved, I've been through the process of letting go, and acceptance, and I'm feeling better, psychologically than I have for possibly 10 years. I'm not an angry, uninformed, and easily triggered into rants anymore. Which is of course a good thing,

Also I wanted to talk about the thing we don't discuss: end of life issues. Of course you can't deny you're approaching the end of your life as you approach 80, and especially when you're not physically (and in my case, at the time mentally too), not well. Maybe it was Barry turning 80 , and now having lived with diabetes type II, since 1996, seeing him become weaker, so terribly skinny without a muscle strong enough to open a bottle of mayonnaise for me, and remembering him as he was in 1985, dancing till dawn, drinking down loads of wine at home when the kids were away, while we swam, and just enjoyed each other's company, it made me think that the day that one of us will leave forever isn't that far away. Again, I'm not speaking from a negative point of view, but from acceptance of reality.

Time passes so quickly, as I've just said, one minute you're skinny-dipping with a firm healthy body, drinking wine in the shade and living in the moment. The next you're riding out a pandemic from your comfortable bed where you play computer games all day.

This isn't meant to be negative. It's really an attempt to speak abut the unthinkable - a world without us in it. People don't do that. Most old people shy away from new technology, new ideas, new television shows even. I'm looking forward to the next series of the Targaryens in April next year. My grandkids are playing sport now, at levels they enter just before going off to high school. One swims competitively, the other is on a cricket team, and it seems like it was five minutes ago when I held them as newborns in my arms.

I also want this to be an encouragement to enjoy life while you still have it. Don't worry too much about the things you can't change, but change the things you can. Travel, as much as you can afford, and as often as your can get away from work to do it. Save money if you can. You'll need it when your car is 20 years old and you've been retired for 20 years, or when your 15 year old washing machine needs replacing. Embrace new technology. Make friends with people younger than yourself. Expect your friends your own age, and older, to die. So enjoy them, while they're still interested in leaving home to visit you and to admire your new devices that are unthinkable to them when they still play CDs rather than just listen to Apple Music or Spotify.

Party hard, while you can, but not hard enough for it to become a problem. The day will come when a bottle of wine tastes like what it is, rotten grapes, and fruit juice keeps your bowels functioning. Make sure you get your prostate checked every year, so you don't become unable to enjoy the best fun humans can have when a baby resulting isn't a problem anymore. If your prostate fails, so does everything else. For a woman, take hormones if you find your interest flagging. When the kids have left home, and it's raining, in your 60s and 70s you can still enjoy a midday interlude. Don't worry about not being able to wear a bikini anymore, you don't want to invite skin cancer anyway, so enjoy the chocolate cake before it begins to hurt to eat it. Enjoy the hot peppers before they start to keep you up at night, and never underestimate the thrill of chocolate. If you don't want to eat meat, and animal products, it's your choice, but if you're doing it because you think the one last steak you enjoy is going to stop the world from farming animals, you're misguided. That one steak isn't going to stop animals dying, but it will make you experience the feeling you get from eating the one thing you enjoyed before you joined the band that became a religion about veganism.

Now before someone says I shouldn't be promoting meat-eating, or drinking milk, or eating chocolate, I know what I'm talking about. I've been eating vegan since the late 2000s, over 10 years. On my last night ever in a campaign ground, I went out to dinner. There was a menu of vegan options, but I've never been a lover of vegetables. If I could live and thrive on jelly sweets, that's all I would've eaten all my life, especially now I can get them made from something other than boiled hooves. So I had to decide what to eat. One thing I've missed since I stopped eating meat was a steak with creamy pepper sauce, and chips (or mashed potato). I had to choose something, and a mixed salad was not going to make me feel orgasmic with delight in my meal, so I had the steak. And I enjoyed every single bite of it. I'm not eating meat now I'm back home, but my mother taught me to cook fish, and most especially hake which is cultivated for the fish 'n chips which are a South African flavour delight. So once a week I buy some fresh hake, and I thoroughly enjoy the meal. if this makes me a hypocrite, I don't have to apologise for eating something that pleases me now my body is beginning to let me down.

This is what I wanted with this thread. An opportunity for other old people to confess their weaknesses, to bemoan the lack of being able to see the future beyond 20 years of retirement, and too little money, or to confess that they've given in to things they've denied themselves but enjoyed perhaps one last time, and that wasn't illegal, or harmful to anyone, including the cow that was already dead when I ate a small piece of its flesh.

Sorry, it's a long post, but I need to get all of this off my chest. And I wanted to do it somewhere I felt safe from being judged, or getting into a fight because I called the Duchess a narcissist, or the Republicans "idiots" for falling for that fat bastard's lunacy, again. I'm getting there sometime. Just not today while I'm sitting here loving being able to stay in bed until 10 am.
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Re: Death

#29  Postby UncertainSloth » Oct 14, 2021 6:07 am

some very heartfelt, deep posts here - thanks to those who have shared

will add my own thoughts when i have a chance
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Re: Death

#30  Postby Macdoc » Oct 14, 2021 6:52 am

Great post Aggie... :clap:
My weakness is KFC ...at 9 pc for $9 that makes me four or five small lunches. I've found that despite mostly vegetarian diet and lots of fake mince and even very tasty fake fish I feel better with more protein. No better pick me up when working late across time zones than fresh bread and piece of chicken....yeah hate the poultry industry but damn it tastes good. :oops:

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Re: Death

#31  Postby Agrippina » Oct 14, 2021 7:17 am

Thanks. Sorry about the typos. As I said I'm having eye trouble. Black things 'floaters" block my ability to read carefully through my posts, and then when I do I spot the errors. I have glasses but they annoy me. When I had the cataracts done, I was still driving, so I got bifocals that allow me to read with my head down, only. If I wear them all the time, I battle with depth perception on stairs, so I prefer to use them only when typing, and then try to see past the black dots in front of my line of vision. Sigh! The joys of getting older. I've discovered Britbox. It's lovely seeing all the old British tv I missed in the past. Also the true crime stories are great. Yesterday I learnt about the people who killed their own kids (see I forget their names) and also Lord Lucan whose story I didn't really know much about. Mrs Bucket is fun, and One Foot in the Grave, although his bumbling can be a bit annoying, as his wife found out until he wasn't there anymore. I can identify with that, which is why I put up with Barry's obsessions about having more toilet paper than one family needs, and extra coffee whenever there's a special deal goofing. Great fun. Have a nice day guys. Now I'm off to deal with the mountain of ironing that's watched me walk past pretending it's not there.
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Re: Death

#32  Postby Macdoc » Oct 15, 2021 1:50 am

BritBox is brilliant - Have you seen Prime Suspect 1973 ...fantastic lead.
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Re: Death

#33  Postby Agrippina » Oct 15, 2021 4:52 am

Macdoc wrote:BritBox is brilliant - Have you seen Prime Suspect 1973 ...fantastic lead.


I actually watched it c1990s. It's on my list. Himself has watched all of it. He's loving Spooks at the moment. I've been watching shows about murderers, like I knew there was something about Lord Lucan disappearing. I didn't know why, now I do.
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Re: Death

#34  Postby Agrippina » Oct 15, 2021 5:11 am

KFC used to be a favourite with the kids. In the 1980s we were pretty broke with four hungry early teens to feed, so a bucket didn't go very far. It was a rare treat. Now it's dodgy. For some reason, the quality of chicken they use, I think it's big bags of pieces that have been frozen, defrosted and refrozen so I wouldn't touch it. I'm not a big fan of chicken anyway, I guess I ate too much of my mother's home-slaughtered and plucked chickens in my childhood. She was a farm girl so going out and choosing one for Sunday lunch wasn't a big deal for her. I wasn't keen, seeing I was made to do the plucking, but I must admit I did enjoy eating the rooster who used to kick my butt when I went to fetch eggs. I've always loved chateaubriand. In the early romantic days of my second marriage, I had to learn to cook it to perfection for a rather pretentious, and fussy, man who drank himself to an early grave. I've never mastered pepper sauce from scratch though, not the way the steak houses do it, and beside fillet was the last thing Barry and I could afford in the days of stretching frozen chicken and mince as far as we could to feed the four boys.

It seems like so long ago and ancient history now, being a child in the 1950s, starting out trying different careers in the 60s, and then 30 years of raising children, and trying to keep our heads above water in a small house where the boys had to double up in the bedrooms. Then leaving one by one until it was just us. Next year it will be 20 years since my first breakdown, and moving towards my mother's death in 2003. Like a dream, almost ¾ of a century of a life full of stories overcoming failure and heartbreak, dealing with in-laws who always hated me for some reason, and still do (the JW lot anyway). Now I've just come in from outside, watered my pretty garden, moved a fuchsia into the shade, swept the debris from the kapok tree's spring flowers, and I'm exhausted. Back on my bed to spend the day playing the new upgrade I bought last night. I'm going to spend the day refurbishing old mansions and reselling them.

One of the men can go wandering down/up the road to fetch the bin back in after the truck's gone, my hips don't want to walk anymore today.
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Re: Death

#35  Postby Macdoc » Oct 15, 2021 7:00 am

I actually watched it c1990s.


1973 was just done 4 years ago and provides the prequel to the 1990s version with Mirren which you watched then and I discovered more recently. The attention to detail is simply astonishing.

BBC does a brilliant job with both the 1970s sets and mindsets as a newly minted police school grad has to navigate the horridly misogynist London poice force. The role is played to perfection.


Damn, I think I need to watch it again. Her eyes are mesmerizing.

....

The 50s and early 60s do seem a long ways back in time and culture, the Cuban missile crisis still scars me.
The late 60s vibrant still in my mind as I escaped to a wider world and the music still relevant.
Tennisons own escape from family resonates. They may indeed have been the best of times.
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Re: Death

#36  Postby Agrippina » Oct 16, 2021 5:59 am

For me the 1990s was the best decade. I was newly married to a man I chose after living with him through financial struggles and my youngest child starting school. My mother came to live with us after a fall made independent living impossible for her, and I had achieved senior management status at work. However in 1996 things started falling apart for me. The company was returned to management by the bank that owned it. Someone I detested, one of those PC worshippers who were like religious fanatics about the need for a "server" managed by them with the password known only to them, took over the computer network I'd set up on Macs, and my job was absorbed into the bank's personnel department with me getting the company's Macs as part of a retrenchment package.Also the 1990s were the golden years of South Africa's return to the world of sport and politics. We won the rugby World Cup on our first outing, had Mandela as president, and were living under what was then the world's most progressive constitution.

The retrenchment was both difficult, and advantageous, from the point of view of me having a year-old Mac for each of the kids, and both a colour printer and a laser b&W one on the office desk I still have in my home, plus a nice wad of cash and an invested retirement fund in my retrenchment package. This allowed me to live for a few months working on private projects for which I was paid, from home, but I eventually had to find another job. I did, but then was put, in 1999,t on early retirement through the bad health that I was warned would plague me in my old age. This is what I'm experiencing now. The computers have long gone to a museum, and I collect my annuity from the invested pension, and a retirement policy I bought when I was working. It ended with me being able to have a little money that helped us to sell the family home for a nice price once the kids started leaving home, but the decade ended with the loss of my favourite sister to breast cancer, and the husband she'd been married to since 1957 and who was like a brother to me, dying on the way to her funeral. My mom lost her mind as a result, the shock was too much. So when we sold up in 2003 to prepare for Barry's retirement the next year, we moved hr to frail care, where she died 6 months later, and ourselves to a small townhouse that was a good investment that we sold to move to the coast, for twice what we'd paid for it 18 months earlier.

Almost 20 years later now. How the time has flown! So much has happened in the meantime. Now we live day to day. We're lucky to have my son with us. He has a small independent pension because of his own disability, and he takes care of me. He's a really kind and loving man. Eventually he'll inherit all of this and have the funds to do whatever comes next. And so the decades pass.

When I was a child in the 1950s, 2000 seemed like a million years away. I didn't think I'd live 20 years and more into the new millennium, and even now, will I make it to 2030? I hope so,

I've closed all my photo-hosting accounts, so my photos go on Facebook for a while, then I take them down again. I don't want to leave the job of shutting me down on the internet to my kids. I definitely don't want my birthday to appear on there like some ghostly reminder with people making comments about "so sad she went so soon". My nephew and niece's accounts on FB, tragic people, the children of a psychotic mother, remind me on their birthdays every year of the tragedy of their lives when my crazy sister disappeared with them for two years. I'd rather leave the happy memories of them present in my life, than see those sad "happy birthday in heaven" posts on those days.
A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation. - Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BCE - 43 BCE)
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Re: Death

#37  Postby The_Piper » Oct 16, 2021 4:51 pm

"and even now, will I make it to 2030? I hope so"
Glad to read that, I was a little worried that you were apathetic about living. My own mother tells me that she doesn't want to be alive anymore.
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Re: Death

#38  Postby Agrippina » Oct 17, 2021 7:36 am

I'm sad that your mother feels that way. I have my moments as well. It's something that happens when you feel you're no longer relevant.

My now-oldest sister is almost 82. For a long time she and I have had a close relationship, once we outgrew the older sibling/younger sibling bullying that went on especially after she married and had her first child when I was at the end of my school career. The bullying ended when she realised I was an adult, and for a long time we used to travel between our town and the city to go to work, not in the same company, but within walking distance of each other's offices. Then I got married, had my kids, and when my dad died, she made my mother go to live with her so she wouldn't be alone with my youngest sister then at teacher's training college, and spending weekends with me, rather than going home to my mom.

During the early 80s we used to travel to visit my mom for about four years, until my sister's husband grew tired of the family coming to his house every weekend, eating his food and making him make small talk with people who wouldn't tolerate his racism. So he told my mom it was time she went to live somewhere between the two so that she could bear the cost of entertaining her family. It was cruel as my mother was then about the age I am now, and beginning to develop bone problems, especially with the stump of her right leg not being exercised. One night in 1989 she fell, and wasn't able to wear her prosthesis anymore - even with the titanium "bone" they'd used to replace the crumbled bone in the stump. This meant she could no longer live on her own, so we invited her to share our home.

This meant that our house was a little crowded. Four teenaged boys plus an old lady needing a whole bedroom to herself, and space for a commode so she wouldn't have to cross the passageway to the bathroom at night. We diid some conversions on the outside buildings, so the two older boys had their private space, and the two younger ones continued to share space. Then this sister used to visit us, with the husband who now ate our food while using the boys' bedroom and them having to steep on the living room floor. As I saiid, it was a crowded house. She and I were friends, we got on well together although she didn't attend our wedding later in the year, 1989, she used to come to us for a weekend about very three months. Then my eldest sister died in 2000, and my mom now approaching 90, lost her mind. I decided to put her into care without consulting the remaining family, I thought I'd earned the right to make decisions for my mother, but it annoyed the sister that I'd done that without consulting her, and slowly over the next almost 20 years, the bullying started again. With my mother's death and me respecting her request not to be buried (remember the titanium prosthetic bone i wasn't leaving that for an archaeologist of the future to ponder over, or an urban authority deciding to move old graves, for that matter too), this drove the whole family who wanted a religious service, and display of reverence they didn't show her over the 12 or so years I'd taken care of her. So I had her cremated and invited the extended family to join us in scattering the ashes at my dad's grave that I visited last year. It's looking so badly neglected now. An enormous amount of land given over to 100 and more years of burials. She was angry, and so were her family. One in-law did the Jesus thing even though my mother detested him, and then afterwards, they went on their way.

We moved to the coast in 2004, when this sister's husband saw our place as a holiday resort he wouldn't have to pay for, and free food for a month while he took over my chair, and our television to watch his daily soap operas, and demanding a cooked breakfast from me every morning. She was distant, I think possibly he was abusive to her and she was embarrassed, but the friendship wasn't the same anymore. We had a huge falling-out earlier this year over politics, when I told her I wasn't her little sister to be abused anymore and that I'd rather she didn't contact me again. I've relented now. I want to be the better person, but she's depressed, not able to walk without her oxygen device and, as I said, approaching 82. I doubt she'll make it to the end of next year. She's lost all interest in life. She lives with one of her daughters, who I must admit I'm surprised is taking good care of her, but that could be because the Jesus-botherer of my mom's ashes being scattered died, leaving her with a sizeable income.

My other sister is in care. She's turning 79 on the 80th anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Hawaii, so 80 next year. I haven't spoken to her in years - can't she's schizophrenic and off her head insane. I can't deal with that, so I avoid even speaking about her, it's like she died the day she left my home at the coast, leaving my dogs without food and water and us on the road home from a long trip. She just walked away, leaving all her junk for me to dispose of. So that relationship is gone. Her kids visit relatives in my suburbs without making an effort to visit me. But that's what families do. We drift apart. Even the one living in Canada who's now approaching 70 is looking at retirement and not really interested much in my life anymore. I think it's more to do with the boring husband she's going to be forced to live with every day that's the problem more than anything else.

God, I really do talk a lot. But this is my thread, and it's meant to be a "this is the reality" thing about old age, winding down, becoming irrelevant, sometimes just someone who is there but who you need to live separately from to make the losing them easier. I think it's more about this that young people neglect old relatives. And it's understandable. You don't weep as much for a mother-in-law who's been on the periphery of your life for years as much as you do for the sudden death of an aunt whose death came too early, and who was part of every Sunday's lunch. I think it lessens the feeling of loss when people die when they're old and not the Queen in the news every day.

To get back to your mom, yes, she's probably feeling aware of the approaching end, and while not actively wishing to just die already, she's accepted the inevitability of it and it's like when you know something unpleasant is coming, like a surgery, or Trump becoming president, you just want it over with. I still have life in me. I know that, even through the pain I have to deal with and treat with drugs, every day. How I know it, is because I try to get the work needing doing in the house, over with, so I can go back to my computer game yacht I'm refurbishing with the most expensive facilities I can think of: a sun deck for two lovers, a shady spot for an afternoon sundowner, and another bigger, shady, spot for guests who want afternoon tea, and a large sundeck for guests who want to drink the day away. On the top deck I'm going to set up a lovely dining table with gold cutlery before guests go below decks to watch movies on a big screen, before spending the night in one of the glamorous bedroom suites.

That I have that all planned while mending old expensive homes and buying and refurbishing smaller houses to flip for money. See I'm not done yet, Just sometimes a little more sore than I would like to be. Now I'm getting up to water my garden, and have something to eat before I come back to my yacht. (II'll show pictures when I'm done).
A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation. - Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BCE - 43 BCE)
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Re: Death

#39  Postby Evolving » Oct 17, 2021 2:11 pm

Feeling you're no longer relevant. I've been thinking about that several times recently: wondering what it's going to be like when my small one is grown up and doesn't need me any more, or at least not like she does now. Frankly I'm worried about it. It's a bit stupid, because I've always been aware that this is, so to speak, typical mum syndrome: not knowing what to do with yourself when the children are out of the house; and I used to think that it couldn't happen to me, (a) because I'm forewarned and (b) because I have plenty of other things in my life. And yet here I am: my child really is the centre and hub of my life, it feels like being her mum is what I'm supposed to do, what I'm for, and I wonder what I'm going to think I'm for when she's gone.
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Re: Death

#40  Postby hackenslash » Oct 17, 2021 7:02 pm

UncertainSloth wrote:i'd love to reply more but i'm in a terrible mental place at the moment


This. Wish I were in a place to comment, but this is a bridge too far for me at the moment.
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