Ravan Asteris (ravan) wrote,
Ravan Asteris

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Death Talking

This post is triggered by several unrelated posts, including one about an accidental death.

I've mourned at least 5 people in the past year, and over a dozen since 2000. Some died slowly, some instantly, some after a long and fruitless struggle to get effective treatment. Some I knew well, some were kin, some were friends of friends or acquaintances.

Some folks are very uncomfortable discussing mortality, either their own or someone else's. Not me, not anymore.

People that I've worked with over the years have been rather uncomfortable with the fact that I openly advocate cross training and documentation to mitigate the "Mack Truck Factor" - the fact that any one may get run over by a Mack Truck and be suddenly *gone*, and the business and people around them still need to survive. But I've seen what happens when there isn't any such thing, and the "essential person" gets a great new job, has a health or family emergency, or simply dies.

I've had the experience of living for over a year with the functional equivalent of a ticking time bomb planted in my head, and no way to find out how much time was left on the timer. The fact that it partially detonated as it was being defused just put a finer point on the situation.

I've had the experience of *knowing*, within six months, of when a person would die of illness/health problems, on several occasions. I've also learned to keep the knowledge to only those who can deal with it.

I will always advocate an annual "review" of your mortality plans. I wrote my first will when I was a teenager. I try to remember to fill out the donor card with my drivers' license. I have a living will and POA. My remains wishes are known (cremate and scatter, or plant something in the urn), my life insurance has the desired beneficiaries (IIRC), and while I have relatively little stuff of value, most of that would go to datapard or my niece.

I commute to work every day, I live in an earthquake zone, and every activity has its risks. I would rather die enjoying my life than cowering in fear. I take calculated risks, and actually stop to calculate.

I don't need the government to tell me to protect myself, just to make sure that the tools I need are there to do so. I think seat belt and helmet wearing laws are wrong, but that the availability of functional seat belts and good helmets should be mandated. In short, I think that the government should protect people from the negligence or malice of others, but leave them free to make their own mistakes, even fatal ones.

In short, I advocate being aware of your own mortality, prepare for it, then go out and enjoy your life to the fullest. When you live each day as if it *could* be your last, you fret over small stuff a little less, and enjoy life just a little bit more.
Tags: death
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