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I See Dead People

"The experience of witnessing the loss of loved ones can profoundly shape the perspective of the elderly, as each departure serves as a poignant reminder of the finite nature of life. It is through these moments of loss that they are confronted with the fragility of existence, prompting reflections on their own mortality and the legacy they wish to leave behind." Unknown

I just attended the funeral of a close friend’s husband. He died unexpectedly. Since hearing the news my thoughts have been on death. I know it sounds morbid, but they have been. As I prepared for my later years my focus was primarily on my finances and my health. That’s what all the articles I read, and all the pundits said were the priority areas which could make the biggest impact on my later years.  If you have significant money concerns in retirement that will most assuredly impact your daily living. You can’t enjoy the activities you hoped to enjoy now that you have the time. You worry about paying your bills, maintaining suitable housing. The list goes on and on.


If you start having health problems, then those too greatly impact your daily life. You don’t feel well. You have lots of doctor visits; you must exert considerable energy navigating the health care system. Medical care is expensive and of course impacts your financial health. Your finances can impact your health and your health can impact your finances. Got it.


I knew all of this and did my best to adequately prepare. However, what I was not prepared for was the impact and frequency of having people I care deeply about get sick and suddenly die. When you are young it is rare that a friend dies. It happens but it is usually a rare occurrence. Even if it happens suddenly, you typically have quite a bit of breathing room before you ever experience sudden death again. You have the luxury of grieving, composing yourself and building up your resolve to go on living.

As you get older, sickness and sudden death become part of your normal life. You see people and a few days later you get news that some catastrophe occurred, and they are either deathly ill or dead. It is shocking and so jarring to experience that. This happened recently and when I heard the news, I felt like I was in a nightmare. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the suddenness of death. No warning. No time to prepare.

It seems like at this stage in life, every week I hear of someone that I know and care about getting sick or dying. I was not ready for living in such an unsettled state. At all. The image I get in my mind to try to convey how I feel is one of someone spinning me around constantly.  The world around me is out of focus and I am unable to stop the spinning. 


During times like these I rely on 2 Corinthians 5:8 which says, “But we are confident, and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Even though I know this, I miss them. Yes, I believe they are in a better place and still my soul grieves; my heart aches.

I miss their smile, their presence, their sowing into my life to make my days easier to bear and infinitely more joyful.


This is the part of life I wish someone had spoken to me more clearly about. Yes of course I know folks die at an increased rate among the elderly. Maybe if someone had told me "Ok Lou, after you reach a certain age death will occur more frequently and you will have considerably less time to digest the news and regain your equilibrium."  This is my new reality and sadly it is the new reality for my cohorts as well. But still, I look to the hills, from whence cometh my help.



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