When we are young we think that we will never die. We know that death exists, but it is very remote. I remember being at my grandparents’ farm when I first learned about death. I had never heard of it before. I just thought that we were here for ever. I can see it now – the huge sideboard in the huge kitchen at the farm, and my Uncle stood resting on the sideboard, talking about one of the farm animals that had died. I remember asking what “died” meant, and my whole system felt as if an electric shock had gone through it. How could something be so final? How could something just cease to exist. But then came the question,

“Do people die too?”

I was told that yes, they do. I sat there in stunned silence. So one day I was going to cease to exist. I could hardly take it in. At some point my parents were going to cease to exist. I just could not imagine life without them. Then in time, I too would cease to exist. It was too much to take in, and my child’s mind could take it no more. It was all a long long way away in time, and so I buried the thoughts of death and dying.

How do you ever come to terms with the idea of dying? I guess that most of us just push the idea aside. Until, that is, that we have to think about it. That time came for me in May, 2013. I was 65 years old, and a lot of time had passed since I had been a little girl at my grandparents’ farm, learning about death. Since then my grandparents had died, and my father had died. But now it seemed it was to be my turn. Yet how could it be? In my mind I was still young and I had a lot of living to do.


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