Random Thoughts on Dying

I’ve been busy as heck lately and not having much time to collect my thoughts or write anything which is frankly getting to me a bit.

I was talking to my mother after my grandma died and she was saying,  “this makes me think about my own mortality… I guess I’ll be next”.

My response, “I HOPE SO!”

It just kind of came out.  Looking back it was kind of a stupid and insensitive thing to say, but I did have a reason.

That reason is that I make jokes and say inappropriate things when I’m dealing with a subject I find uncomfortable.  If you keep reading I’m sure I’ll do more of that.

No, that’s not really why I said it, though that was part.

I remember we went to a church in Yugoslavia (this was sometime in the 80s so that country still existed).  It had dozens of stone carvings at the top of the columns that surrounded the church.  The guide there pointed to one in a particular.  I can’t remember what it looked like but my mother has told me the story so many times I remember (or “remember”- who can tell?) what he said.

The sculptor who carved it was asked by the bishop what it was supposed to illustrate.  The sculptor replied “Grandfather dies, Father dies, Son dies.”

The bishop was taken aback and said “what did you carve that for?  I wanted something a bit more uplifting.”

The sculptor responded, “Would you want it any other way?”

The feeling of I would die for my child sounds frankly silly until you actually have a child and then it doesn’t sound crazy at all.  Thankfully this kind of choice doesn’t happen much in the real world (you or him, I’m killin’ one of you!), but I’m pretty sure I could do it.  One thing I would know is, I wouldn’t want to live in a world that my son didn’t.  So that’s what I was thinking when I said that and it just came out.  Now that I know what that feeling is, I hope for my Mom’s sake she’s next.  And then I hope I’m next after her. 

And so on forever and ever, Amen*.

At the funeral for my grandmother I felt the worst, obviously for her husband (my step-grandfather?  Do people say that?).  He was having a rough couple years himself and wasn’t always very lucid at times.  He’s gone now too.  I’m kind of happy for him in a way.   Against everyone’s advice he had decided to stay in his house.  I can sort of imagine doing the same, but he must have been lonely.  I don’t know what his last day was like, but I’d like to think he was relieved to let go.

My real grandfather is still alive.  I really hate giving status updates on people’s continued living, but you have to do that when someone is in their 90s.  He’s one of my favorite people in the world and kick myself all the time for not seeing him more.  A few years ago I told my Mom that for my birthday I just want to get lunch with him, so we’ve done that every year and with all the elderly people in my life dying I’m really glad that is going to be soon.


*Where did that come from?  I don’t know, I was talking about churches and I think I had a flashback.



  1. There is an order to things, an order to the generations. It’s why it’s so awful when children die before their parents … it isn’t supposed to be that way, not the natural order of things. I get it.

  2. After my grandmother died, my mom started thinking that she would be next. It must be strange to realize that you are next on the conveyor belt of life.

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