h2>Dating : 30 Days To Say Goodbye
What if we all knew when we were going to die?
I am sitting outside on my deck with an ice cold beer and my thoughts. The house is empty, the purr of the air conditioner is oddly soothing, the birds are apparently eating their dinner because they are no longer chirping or flying around, and the quiet that only comes at the end of an exhausting day is beginning to settle in.
I came outside with my computer. I have been considering writing an article that has been marinating in my head for the last two days. I say considering because I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to write it in such a way that comes across as anything other than morbid or negative in some way. But now I know better. I received a sign. I believe in signs and the reason I believe in them is because each and every time I have allowed myself to follow a sign or read one, if you will, it has served me well. I just received a sign from my dad, or rather, the beautiful Monarch butterfly I believe him to have transitioned into since his death two years ago.
Really, a butterfly, that’s your sign?…you might be scoffing. Hell yes, that’s my sign. Although there are other symbols in my life that I believe to be signs with specific meaning when they present themselves to me, my Monarch dad is precisely the sign I needed to let me know that I should most definitely write this particular article. You see, my dad died completely unexpectedly from what the doctor said was heart disease. He had been for a full body check-up two weeks prior and had been to see his cardiologist just the week before his death. Although he suffered a heart attack seven years ago, his check-ups resulted in clean bills of health. So I find it difficult to wrap my head around the idea that he died of heart disease.
While I finally came to terms with his death, I continue to find it challenging to come to terms with the fact that I did not have a chance to say goodbye one last time. To be accurate, I was able to say goodbye to him while he lay in a coma as the life support machines were turned off. By the way, I find life support to be a ridiculous name for machines that do anything but support life…at least not life the way I define it. To my point, though…I never had the opportunity to say goodbye in a meaningful way where he and I were both able to acknowledge and appreciate it. For anyone who has ever had the chance to say goodbye to a loved one, you understand all too well that it is indeed, an opportunity. And that’s what brings me to my article.
I attended a funeral a few days ago for an old friend. Although we had not spoken in awhile and had not kept in touch other than an occasional chat in the grocery store a couple of time a year for the last several years, I considered him to be someone I cared for, had an appreciation for, and would greatly miss if I knew I would never see him again. As I sat in the church and looked around at my fellow mourners, I was surprised by the number of close friends and family members who were not in attendance. After learning that many of them lived in other states and countries and due to various circumstances, simply were not able to make it to the funeral, I started to imagine a world where each of us was informed of our death when we had only 30 more days to live.
Similar to the birth of a new baby, why wouldn’t it be helpful to know when someone will die? While a date of birth still involves an element of surprise…except in the case of a scheduled delivery date…I believe it would be much too stressful for people to be told they would die at some point within a 30 day window. Therefore, I am just proposing that we are informed of the exact date, 30 days out.
I also believe it would be much too stressful for people to be informed of the manner in which they are about to die. This may also begin to cause resentment among people if some deaths were deemed “better” in some way than others. So I think it’s more civil if we just stick with knowing the date of our death. Maybe we could be informed via certified mail? Certified letters that require a signature by the intended recipient still seem to be prestigious or special in today’s world, right? Not everyone has a mailing address, though. The same is true for receiving a phone call or text message or IM or Snapchat or Facebook message…not everyone has access to a phone. OK, I haven’t figured that part out yet.
Although it can be amusing to think about, at least to those of us with a good sense of humor about life, it can also be a comforting thought. I could definitely be wrong, but I do think I would have appreciated knowing that I had 30 days left to let my father know how much I loved him. I would have loved the opportunity to cook him a few more of his favorite meals, share a few more…or a lot more…pints with him, and to have a couple more family get-togethers. I would have relished the chance to have a few more discussions about any and all of the random, yet interesting topics we used to talk about. I would have loved to just hang out with him doing anything or nothing, holding his hand, or kissing him on his white bearded cheek just a few more times. I would have felt so grateful to be able to thank him for being the best dad this girl could have asked for.
Logistically speaking, I think many people would appreciate the 30 day notice to take care of issues regarding wills, bank accounts, insurance documents, and other not so pleasant, but important items that many of us say we’ll get to, but end up putting off until it’s too late, leaving our loved ones to manage this burden while grieving our loss.
I have also considered the idea that some people, upon learning of their 30 day expiration date, might decide to end things sooner. Maybe suicide is deemed legal during this time period? Regardless, even those who decide to take their lives sooner would still have a chance to say goodbye in a meaningful way and spend just a little more time with the ones they love. More important, the friends and family members would have the opportunity to do the same.
Maybe this idea of a 30 day notice before our death is disconcerting to you or maybe it actually sounds appealing. Either way, these were just the random thoughts of a sad girl while she was sitting at the funeral of a friend she did not have a chance to say goodbye to…wishing she had a heads-up or some kind of sign beforehand to let her know it was time to say goodbye.