I have updated my Factoids Page
Death. Not a morbid topic, but one that came up in conversation last week.
The older you get, the more of your contemporaries die. It starts around age 50. before then you hear of Real Oldies who die, people such as Stalin, Winston Churchill and so on. But after 50 it is people roughly your own age.
It starts with a trickle – a pop star or a movie star you adored in your teenage years steps off the conveyor belt at age 65, but they were a youthful 20 when you adored them. Perhaps a writer dies.
At age 60 the pace picks up, and by age 70 they are dropping like flies and the natural thought is “Well, I might be next ...” and so we started discussing how we’d like to go.
Peacefully in my sleep, since you ask. But I’m not ready yet – today’s schedule reads “Ryerson University for newspapers, Drop off a pair of pants to be shortened, Canadian Tire for lubricating oil (for my fans), City Hall branch of the Toronto Public Library to drop off books, Service Canada in City Hall for a fourth attempt to get my Pension Cheques deposited in the correct bank, Bell Trinity Square for email, Holy Trinity church for the 12:15p concert, Bay street food court to meet Osmedo for Spanish//English coaching at 6p, St Paul’s for ESL café 7p-8:30p, NoFrills (Huntley Street) for prunes and a bag of dried apples, then home by 9:30p”
Death is a fearful thought for many of us as we get older and look back, wishing we could have our life over again, make fewer mistakes, forgive more mistakes, love people more, think about ourselves less, and so on.
We are all too unprepared for death, including not keeping our will up to date right down to what pajamas we will be found in the next morning (or the next week, perhaps), but if death comes quietly while we are asleep what will we know?
There are enough reports of spouses waking to find their partner dead in the morning, so death can be as peaceful as drifting off to sleep at 10p and not waking up – no violent thrashing about in bed to waken the partner; just drift off and never return.
Here’s the good news: If it happens that way we will never, ever, know about it. We will put down the book, turn off the light, go to sleep thinking of tomorrow’s plans, and just not be there to execute them.
It is as simple and as easy as drifting off to sleep; real sleep, not a euphemism.
And by age 70 we have had about twenty-five thousand shots at getting that right, most of them successful.
That means that we are pretty good at drifting off to sleep.
And that means that we are pretty good at dying in our sleep.
And that means that we are pretty good at dying.