Preparing to Die… The Final Season
My friend, Elinor is a deep thinker. She doesn’t mind admitting she hit the big “7-0” last year, which is a milestone. Out of the blue one day she said to me: “I just had a bolt of realization! I am preparing to die!!” Sounds pretty morbid, right?
But being in the funeral business, we are surrounded with death and dying and helping those who are grieving. When we can, we encourage people to pre-pay and pre-plan their funeral to save themselves money and extra stress when the time comes. This is all good and something we strongly believe in –
but no, that is not where this blog is going.
What Elinor said got me to thinking about the seasons of most of our lives.
First, we are children. We are gaining knowledge rapidly from an educational standpoint. We are learning how to relate in our small circle of family and close friends. We branch out to preschool, through high school to higher learning, and continue our growth and development. We make lots of stupid mistakes during this phase, but we aren’t aware of too many of them.
Next comes career and creating a family. We work hard to accumulate worldly goods and start building a career. We save for college for our children and weddings and hopefully set aside funds towards retirement. We take vacations and travel a little. We buy stuff we don’t need and are usually wasteful. We develop more of our character during this time, because we also have to impart it to our children. We make more stupid mistakes, but now we are aware of them.
After that comes the season of the empty nest, the grandchildren phase, and all the fun that brings. If one is fortunate, self-evaluation and life evaluation are stronger in this phase. We are becoming quite comfortable with who we are. We really would like to tell people what we have learned from our mistakes, but usually no one listens.
This brings us to the last season: Preparing to die!
Here are some components I want to consider . . .
Finally, naturally being timid in certain areas, I would like to know that I can actually die bravely and with the certain knowledge that as I walk through “my own valley of the shadow of death”, I won’t fear the shadows. You know, shadows are only present when there is a light source. I shall hopefully be focusing on My Light, not the shadow. My Maker is pure light and if He is walking me across the valley, His light will always cast a shadow.
Until that day comes, I plan to be busy doing whatever the days holds. I love the poem “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickenson:
“Because I could not stop for death..
He kindly stopped for me..
The Carriage held but just Ourselves..
And Immortality… “ Click the link to read it all.
A little serious? Sure. Morbid? Nah, I don’t think so. It is a reality that faces each of us and we do have to accomplish what the seasons set forth. From birth to death, it is what it is.
What season are you in? Are you making the most of it? Each season is the building block for the next. Will you end up having the courage it takes for the final season?
Your message was profound and a very good perspective of life here on earth. We live life as we think it is best but as people we never really stop learning and our attitude makes a huge difference.
Every day is a gift from God I think and it does not matter what season of life we are in. True we do like nice things while we are here but the material possesions are only temporary and the best is yet to come!! I always think it is best to tell your family that you love them, as you say in your blog too, because we really do not know when our Creator will call us and it is better to tell your loved ones to their face than in front of a tomb when it is too late!
Thank you so much for taking time to read my post and comment. I do hope you might find my future posts worth your time as well. I agree with you. I know I never stop learning, because my attitude is that I can learn something new from each day, each friend, each encounter. You and I both appreciate nice and beautiful things. They are there in this world to enjoy, and yet the most important are the relationships. The “I love you’s” and the hugs. I will see you soon! Hugs, Anne
Hi Anne –
The season I am in is new parent land! I have been navigating through this mapless journey for the last year plus. I have most all my affairs in order, most! I am ready for my day, not that I want to go anytime soon, yet I do know that if my number comes up early my wife and son are covered. I love this season, everyday is a new adventure with a little one in my life. I wish I could freeze this moment and never move forward, yet time will not stop. I am looking forward to the next chapters in our life as parents. I am thankful for the deep insights you have and share! XO
And a wonderful parent you are. Nothing comes before your concern for your son and that is how it should be. Believe me, I don’t care how many books they write. The journey with our children is mapless. Loved the way you put that. I have a feeling you are taking full advantage of this season, which will surely put you on solid ground for the next and the next. XXOO
Anne, Great post. Thanks for your insightful message. I’m at a point, as in the movie “Fried Green Tomatos”, where Jessica Tandy says she’s “at the jumping off place”. Me too. I look at it as the last great adventure of life. To see the angels, and my Lord Jesus Christ. I’m ready. Fred
Oh Fred, how wonderful to have you take time to read my blog. Thank you! I am getting close to the jumping off place myself. Too bad the Father wouldn’t let you take one of your aircraft up. I know you would make a safe landing on the aircraft carrier called Heaven. Just don’t let the wings crease the beautiful gates of Pearl! It’s a soft stone, you know! Appreciated your post. Anne
I love this post because truly, the last part we can & should try to apply to our lives no matter what season we are in. While I certainly haven’t learned (& never will finish learning) all the lessons God has in store for me, I can take the advice you give on how to properly prepare for the end of life and begin applying those values now. Especially the “saying I love you more” part. I want to practice saying & exhibiting that more in my actions & attitude.
Thank you for writing such an inspiring, challenging, and freedom giving post – I say freedom because the idea of planning this kind of thing takes away some of the fear of it sneaking up. I love your perspective, thank you!
I so enjoyed writing this post because it really made me think. When I actually saw it in print, with the picture you chose, I got misty and was so glad I took on the subject. I need to re-read it for myself often, I think. And yes, I find myself saying “I love you” more than I did before. Thank you for your comments and thank you for the picture. It was perfect!