Monday, August 31, 2015

Old Folks, New Love

There's a nice older song, "Love is lovelier the second time a
round." It's heart warming to see an older widow or widower find new love.  I like to see it but I don't envy it.  At this time in my life I need to be alone. That's another one that goes in the category of  "We are all different and there is no right or wrong way to deal with death."

Friday, August 28, 2015

Do it now!

The tadrn address stands for "Talk About Death Right Now."  I am quite passionate about taking care of as many end-of-life details as I can before it happens.  No doubt there are friends and family who are, to put it mildly, uncomfortable about that.  I am not depressed.  I do not plan to shuffle off to Buffalo (that's an old song) or anyplace else very soon.  It's just something I need to do. And I would be happy if more people did it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Old Guy Mortality Musings

If there is anything at all that's different about this blog and other four that I hope somebody stumbles upon, it's the age thing.  At 87, I could be the father or grandfather of  most internet users.  It would be real nice if that made me wise  It just puts me in a very different place from anyone who reads my geriatric ramblings.
I am a widower as of four years ago.  My parents, aunts and uncles, siblings and all but a few possible cousins are long gone. How could someone half my age or younger possibly relate to anything I say about death?
There's not much I can tell them. So I talk to myself.  Isn't that what many bloggers do? It's good to see your thoughts on screen and be surprised at what you wrote. You think, " Did I say that?  Is that what I've been thinking?"
That's a pretty good reason to keep a journal or diary or write a blog about life, death and everything in between.  If you need comments, put it on facebook.  If it's your personal diary, do a blog.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Famous Five Stages

Ever since my wife died four years ago, I have had  questions about the five stages of grief that the counselors talk about. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  They came from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.  Her 1969 book, "On Death and Dying," made her name a household word.  We still hear about her today.

I was thinking, is there something wrong with me?  If I experienced those stages I got them in the wrong order and I'm not sure I went through any of them.  Except maybe acceptance,  which isn't really a stage for me.

This is one reason why I have so far avoided the various grief support groups. There's one at a church not far from me, moderated by a professional grief counselor who shows a video and leads the group in talking about it.  That kind of presentation can be very effective, but it doesn't work for me, no matter the subject at hand.  Just another of my quirks.

Be sure to read the comment below from a person who worked with Kubler-Ross.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Me Boy. You Girl.

Do guys deal with death in a different way than the girls do? Are men and women the same as long as we keep our clothes on?  I am old enough that I don't fear popping off about gender related issues.  That can get you in a lot of trouble. Yup, I'd say maleness is one of the big things that makes me what I am about everything.  Including death.  The number of women who write and read about death and attend grief support groups is far greater than the men.  It might be argued that women live longer so of course there will be more of them dealing with death.  Is there more to it than that?


Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I don't know how many blogs about death and dying there are.  I tried to count them... got to a hundred and stopped there.  Most bloggers are probably realistic enough to know that we're lucky if we can get 2 or 3 close friends or family members to read our stuff.  We do it anyway.  Maybe for ego, sometimes for therapy.   It's pretty good grief therapy that I write mostly for me.  With a title like "Death Happens,"  I can't imagine many surfers who stumble on this one looking to see what I have to say.  Death is pretty far down on the list of things internet users want to read about or think about.  So I keep grinding them out for me.


 Sure there's  that hope that some little thing I say might accidentally be of value in a way that I never thought of.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dream burial car


That classic funeral car is a 1940 Caddy. I wouldn't mind taking a ride in it, either now or to my final resting place.  But if I were going to be buried in a favorite car, which does happen sometimes, my dream burial car would be a mid 80s Chrysler Fifth Avenue.

 I can't explain why, there is just something about that style that has tremendous appeal.  Maybe it's "your grandfather's car." I think that's it.

And it does look a lot like a Cadillac.  Maybe a poor man's Caddy. But it wouldn't be cheap today if you can find one.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Widower's lament

 I did it...cooked 2 eggs over easy.  I had been scared of trying anything but scrambled. If Midge was watching from heaven I know she was saying "I could do it better."  To which I can only answer, "You are so right.  I do the best I can without you but my best is not all that great."

Friday, August 7, 2015

Those Cheeseheads are pretty smart

My previous post opened with, "Do I think about what happens when you die?  Not a whole lot." That's right.  I don't think about what happens to me but I think a lot about what happens to my family during the days and weeks soon after my departure. I think about the stuff they will need to deal with. Those thoughts do not make me happy.
I will probably leave them with a physical mess.  I am a widower.  A real poor housekeeper.    To counter my breast beating and guilt about that mess, I have become somewhat of a fanatic about what the morticians call pre-planning.   I don't mean just the "final arrangements." I do most strongly believe in setting that up before you die but I refer to the mountains of legal and business things a family must deal with, especially when a last parent dies. The estate must be closed.  That can be really hairy and complex. You need a lawyer to draw a bunch of papers that spell it all out what happens to your assets.  Don't let an older loved one get away with 'I don't have anything so I don't need all that.  Just bury me in the back yard."  If it ever was that simple, it isn't any more.
There is a town in Wisconsin that  might be the most prepared-for-death city in the whole country.  The good people of  La Crosse probably have a classier way to describe what they do.  One writer headlined the story "The town where everybody talks about death."
They spend less on end-of-life related health care than anyplace anywhere.   Just short of a hundred percent of La Crosse residents have  an Advance Directive.  That's a paper that spells out what kind of treatment and life support you want if you get seriously ill and near death. That saves a lot of money and I'm sure it prevents  some family arguments about what the loved one would have wanted. My family members might not all be happy with my Advance Directive but at least they can say "That's what the old man wanted so I guess we're stuck with it."
I must visit the Badger State. I will show up in La Crosse, shake a few hands and whip out my Advanced Directive before they ask me if I have one.  I'll bet those Cheeseheads will welcome me with open arms.