Let’s face it; aging is difficult for all of us. My knees creak, my back is tired, and some days I simply need an afternoon nap. But the upside is, I am alive and well, and have a very long “Bucket List” yet to be completed. Life is good. Why am I telling you this? Well…….
I was walking down the hallway yesterday, only to be stopped by the visiting Chaplain. He was visiting those on hospice;offering Scripture readings and prayers for the sick and infirmed.
“Jessi, if I ever reach this stage in life, just shoot me. I would never want to live like this”…..his words trailed off as I gave him a look of surprise.
Hey, I get it. I understand Heaven is a real place, with streets of gold, walls of Jasper where the River of Live freely flows. Our church hymnals are full of songs about “going home”, “when we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing it will be” and I’m just passing through”……..but hmmmm. Life continues UNTIL that happens……..regardless of our ability, disability, challenges or physical ailments.
I listened to the Chaplain as he explained his advance directives;choosing not to have any “heroic” measures performed should he stop breathing;no advance life support should he not be able to function without “machines”…on and on he went. I found the conversation depressing. This fella had to be no older than sixty, yet he was prepared to cut the rope at any sign of trouble…..choosing not to “live like that”.
Well, that’s cool. But I too have advance directive. I have clearly stated that I want every possible thing done to and for me that is possible to keep me alive. Hey, hook up an emergency power generator just in case the power goes out! I want to have a fighting chance to survive……not just calling it a day and pulling the plug.
We all have the opportunity to choose how to “Cross Jordan” unless an unforseen tragedy strikes instantly, taking that choice from us.
I know that nursing homes, assisted livings and dementia units can be very sad, depressing places. I believe people are uncomfortable visiting because it forces them into a reality of knowing that none of us will live forever. So we stand in the halls and discuss how we don’t want to “end up like this”…… Let’s weigh the choices…..get run over by a Mack truck at age 60…or live to be a ripe old age? There is LIFE remaining at EVERY age…
When I am 90 and in a facility, I hope I can still kick up my heels, cheat at Bingo and smear acrylic paint all over the art table…..I hope I will be able to scream at the top of my lungs and sing every song I remember, off key, out of tune and way off pitch….But most importantly, I hope I am surrounded by people who will love and care for me, meeting my needs regardless of my abilities, challenges or physical ailments.
If I suffer from dementia, I hope I will be in a happy place in my mind……full of mischief….even if I forget the names of those I loved, I know they will still know mine…..
I refuse to live my days on a countdown to death….there is too much life to live…that’s my plan.