Services on Wednesday for Barbara Younger

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I’m glad the above Barbara Younger isn’t me, or I’d be dead.

And if that Barbara Younger were alive, she’d probably rather not be me. The obit goes on to say that Barbara Younger opened her home to students, faculty, and visiting scholars at UVA for forty years.  I’m not that great of a cook.  She might have been embarrassed, if she were me, when some of those visiting scholars tasted the pie crust.

I post this obit not to be silly or flippant.  Have you ever googled your name and come up with an obit?  Sobering!

Sobering, yes, but I am practicing dying.

I don’t mean that to be flippant either.

I have a feeling that accepting death will make the remaining years of life happier, and so I’m trying to make peace with the concept.  Before age fifty-five, there was no way.  But something hit me that year that made me think, well maybe, maybe it’s okay you don’t get to live forever on earth.  (But only maybe.)

And so I want to work harder to appreciate the years I have left.

And I want to work harder to accept the terms of life.  I didn’t exactly sign up for them, but fighting them seems of little purpose.

I wish I could ask the other Barbara Younger how it feels to be dead.

Maybe I’ll get to at a Behind the Pearly Gates Girlfriend Gathering.  “Hi Barbara Younger!  I’m Barbara Younger!  What do you think of our name?  A little plain, or nice and easy because people can usually spell it?”

But back to earth.  How about you?  No matter your age, how do you feel about departing this world someday?

Photo:  You can read more about this lovely woman here. 

18 responses »

  1. We helped my mum-in-law through the last few weeks of her life in hospice…it was the way death should be…a fitting end to a wonderful life. We are now helping 98-1/2 yo dad-in-law with his diminishing life force and it is very difficult…a long, slow death…it isn’t that easy no matter which way it happens.

  2. this is a very heavy topic!! i do have a hard time wrapping my head/heart around people being here one day and then they are gone. my own mortality….some days i think i will be fully ready no matter how or when. but other days, i can’t imagine it.

    • And when someone dies, I often think they will wake up again. It took me a whole year to realize my father was really gone, I think because he was so vibrant one second, gone the next.

  3. We recently closed on some property and at the closing they had to determine that there weren’t any liens against us, tickets, criminal records, etc. It was sort of amusing to see how many Lisa & Matthew Winklers there were! I haven’t checked for my obit..yet.

  4. A few weeks ago in church, they prayed for the repose of the soul of Karen Rizzo. Mmmm, I did not think I was dead and thought maybe it was a sign that I would soon be dead. I googled the name and checked out legacy.com, but could not find any recently dead KR’s. So, I figured it was supposed to be an eye opener and decided to sort of pare down on my “stuff” just in case. And try to take life’s roadblocks with a lighter heart…..just in case.

    • Love it! I wonder if you just heard it wrong? Did you husband hear it too or wasn’t he there? Yes, it could be a sign but let’s hope not. Too fun seeing you at the gym (among other reasons!)

  5. Oh, my. I have to admit as soon as I saw the link to this post in Google Reader my heart stopped for just a second and I thought, She’s dead?!? Whew!

    I’m very nervous about the thought of dying, and therefore avoid all thoughts of it as much as possible. I think it’s my midlife crisis. Kind of wish I could go back to feeling invincible like I did in my teens and twenties.

    • I know, those were the days… Years and years stretched ahead of us.

      Can’t die yet. Got to sell some manuscripts with our wonderful agent,but thanks for your concern when you saw the obit. Cliff is hoping I live to 99 and look that good.

  6. Having lived 99 years is remarkable. With your genes and since you seem to live a healthy life maybe you are only half way there!

    As far as acceptance and making the most of your life… it’s a double edged sword. While I want to do fun things now (and do in moderation), I try to be cautious because I want to be able to enjoy retirement and be comfortable then so I feel it is necessary to work hard now and be frugal because pensions, Social Security and Medicare might not be available in my senior years and the cost of living surely will be very inflated. Oh, wait a minute, you didn’t say make the most of your life (that’s my mantra), it was happiness. I suppose I equate the two because a wise person explained to me that, “Money cannot bring you happiness, but lack of it sure can make you unhappy and be a difficult life.” Therefore, I am working very hard now while I am capable, and then hope my body will have some stamina left when I am retired to be able to travel and enjoy myself and have the basics for a comfortable life. I find myself happiest when I am in the garden on a beautiful day…which I have been doing a lot in the past week because I have had some free time…and I am happy. However, even a beautiful garden adds up.

    I don’t believe your comments were at all flippant, as we age it is natural to think about life, your mortality and beyond life. Especially, when people around you die… no matter what their age. One thing I remind myself of and find myself repeating out loud to others is to make the most of your life because you never know when your number is up. I recently went to a reunion of a class of 52 people and six have already died. You just never know. But in the meantime, I try to make the most of my life AND try to prepare that I will be many comfortable in my senior years to come.

    When I first read your post I was wondering if you were related, but then remembered that is your married name. Possibly, she was distantly related to Cliff. At some point, most of us are related in some way. A great, great, great, great, great cousin twice removed or something. 🙂

  7. Gulp. THAT was unnerving, I must say.

    Very deep thoughts there, Barb. I remember when my grandparents and parents started getting older and the thought of death bothered them less, and less, and less. It seems that there comes a time when we just don’t think it would be that bad to say our goodbyes. I don’t WANT to die now but I do see how it would be OKAY. I mean, I’ve seen what happens after the people we are closest to are gone. It’s hard. Damn hard. Then life keeps moving on, changing, and we go on. And, they’ll go on without me eventually, too.

    I have thought many times through the years how my Mom and Dad would hate to see some of the things in today’s world. So, yes, at some point it’s like; “You know what? I’m outa here.” And that’s okay.

    Thanks for the deep thoughts today, Barb.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Patti. It’s good to hear that folks in your life have come to terms with dying. It makes me think we all will grow more and more comfortable with the concept (well I guess, sadly, it’s more than a concept). I’m not there yet though…

    • A different slant on dying was the first time I thought about and considered my children’s mortality. It occurred when I first heard the phrase that “Kath will soon be 30”. We spend a good deal of our lives watching our parents age and contemplating their deaths. Then they are gone and we start considering our own deaths. It was a surprise to me when the thought hit me that Kath and Laura are aging and climbing into middle age, no longer “youth”. And this thought was extended recently when Kath heard her future baby’s heartbeat for the first time and I thought someday my grandson’s heartbeat will be silenced too. … Now back to that other sure thing in life, preparing my taxes.

    • Kath, if you read the longer obit, you see she moved to Baltimore in late life. But I bet she would have loved the bakery! Delish!

      Cliff, and think about that baby’s grandchildren. Boggles the mind.

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