My recent post on my volunteer work in hospice sprang in part from the fact that the subject of death is so much on my mind these days. There are several reasons why.
First, the pandemic. Well before the end of February, more than 500,000 Americans will have died from covid-19. The press reports this horrifying figure with such nonchalance that I begin to see that the U.S. is accepting a half million deaths as perfectly okay. No big deal.
Second, my partner of many years died last March. That brought home to me the naked facticity of death in a way nothing else could have.
Third, I’ve now lived well past the average age of death for American males. I’m in excellent health, better than any contemporary I know. And while I’m determined to live to be a hundred, I have to accept that the likelihood of my death grows greater by the day.
We Americans shun any discussion of death as being in poor taste, just as we avoid menti0ing sex and the ways that the human body relieves itself. It’s as if not talking about these facts of daily life will make them go away.
Meanwhile, the prospect of death haunts me these days. I know it’s coming. I just don’t know when. I haven’t accepted the inevitability of my own death. I still struggle with the very idea.
It would behoove me to come to terms with death. I don’t know how to do it.