On Death

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retiring from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS: I will be giving an author talk/book signing at the Los Angeles Public Library – Fairfax Branch, on March 26, 2015, 2:00pm, address: 161 S. Gardner St., Los Angeles, CA 90036

COMMENTS: I received this comment from a follower regarding my last blog post, “The Health Obsession Spiral.” She got it in a fortune cookie many years ago and never forgot it: “Do not tell your friends about your problems: 80% don’t care and the other 20% are glad you have them.”

Now, onto my blog:

TearsOur own death is a subject that is the proverbial elephant in the room. So many people are in denial and don’t want to talk about it. But, most of us in the Baby Boomer and senior age ranges think about it a lot. Maybe we have our own health issues, or maybe our peers and loved ones have died or are dying. We can’t help thinking that we’re next.

I recently had a long talk with a friend, Janet Maker, about this subject. Janet had breast cancer awhile ago and went through the routine treatments. She’s now in remission. However, it made a permanent impact on her.  She’s writing a book about her difficult experiences navigating the medical world regarding her cancer. Janet feels strongly about preparing and thinking about her own death.

“I want to do it right. I don’t just want to go out kicking, screaming and afraid.”

Janet suspects that people avoid thinking and talking about their own death because they fear the unknown, feel sadness about losing everything they love, and have regrets about things they did or did not do.

“If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you regret not having done?” she asked me.

I had never thought about it. Identifying those things might motivate people to do them. Do you feel like you have done what you came to do?

I realized that one of my needs is to help others–to give back to the community. I use my blog and my public talks as a vehicle to do so. I hadn’t really identified it that way before.

Janet is writing her cancer book toward the same end. She wants to pass along the information she learned the hard way to make it easier for women who find themselves on a similar journey with breast cancer. She also wants to bring as much joy as possible into her life. That includes being kinder to others than she had been in the past. She’s taking steps to do so whenever she has an opportunity. Finally, Janet wants to see the world. She is traveling extensively now to fulfill that desire.

What do you need to do? How might you go about doing it? When?

Please pass my blog along to anyone else who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button.

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2 Comments

Filed under Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

2 responses to “On Death

  1. Dear LGG,
    I think it’s very brave of you to take on a topic that frightens so many people to contemplate. For my part, my wife and I have joined the Neptune Society and have our urns at the ready.
    The reason that I don’t fear death is that I experienced it as a nine-year-old. I was drowning in a pool and when I stopped struggling I experienced a feeling of peace that hadn’t before or haven’t since. I was actually angry when I was brought back to consciousness. Knowing what awaits me has removed the fear factor. However, I do pray to go quickly and painlessly. I don’t want to endure a pain-filled lingering. My wife and I have a pull-the-plug pact, in the event that we’re only being kept “alive” by machines.
    Thanks again for the interesting and daring topic.
    Rog

  2. Roger, thank you so much for sharing your personal information. You’ve talked about several things that can help others struggling with thoughts and decisions about death. It’s important for people to have these conversations.

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