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I’m Too Young To Die

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I always have a hard time finding titles to blogs, but as I was typing this, I’m watching an old episode of 21 Jump Street on the Roku, and there’s a song playing with this title: I’m Too Young to Die, and it seemed fitting to me, since I’d been staring at this blog post for a long time, trying to decide what I wanted to talk about today. Sometimes, if I just start moving my fingers, words start coming out, and I find a direction. I was hoping if I just typed what that song said, I could then start the blog post and find a direction. I could edit later. So let’s go with that impromptu prompt: I’m Too Young to Die.

I learned from my mother that a man who was once my counselor for a short period of time had died a little over a week ago. It had been literally twenty years probably since I’d seen the man, or close to it, anyway. I was shocked to hear he had died. He was so young! So I went to look up his obituary and it said he was 75. Seventy-five years old. He couldn’t possibly be 75. Then I realized, damn, I’m 42. I was just barely in my early 20s when he was my counselor. I will remember him perpetually as a man in his mid-to-late 40s. In my mind, you see, he will never be 75.

Then again, in my mind, I have a hard time believing I’m 42. My mother is in her early 60s. She’s young for her age, and she looks great for her age, and she’s in great physical shape. We are a weird family and we joke about things that others might find morbid or strange or mean. I was lucky enough to get to have lunch with her and her husband the other day at Steak & Shake (great burgers, btw!), and when we were leaving, she told me about this man dying. She told me also of a friend of hers whose husband had died and left her a wealthy woman, and then her parents died, leaving everything they had to her. She’s not much older than me, and she’s now set financially for life. I joked and said to my mother, “It’s too bad you’re in such good health… I’ll probably die before you do!”

It was truly, honestly, a joke. My mom gets that, so she laughed and said, “I always told you girls I was going to live to be 100 and that meant you would be 80, so you better not plan on getting rich on my death!”

And truth is, she probably will outlive me, especially considering my health. And that’s not fair. That’s not right at all.

But what bothers me even more than that is my kids. I’ll have my mom my whole life; it’s very likely they won’t. My daughter is 25 and my son is 18. They aren’t baked yet. They aren’t ready to not have a mom yet. And when I think about being sick, THAT is what bothers me the very most: My kids. They deserve to have the fabulous ME around forever!

So yeah, I’m too young to die. But then, I wonder if we don’t feel that way all the time.

My mother’s second husband died from lung cancer and bleeding ulcers they couldn’t treat because of the cancer. When he was on his death bed, she cried and looked at me and said, “It’s too soon…” and I told her it would always be too soon. He could live for another ten years, and then die, and it would still be too soon.

It’s always too soon.

I could live for another forty years and still think that I was too young to die.

The hardest part about living with a terminal illness isn’t the knowing that you’re going to die. Everyone dies. We know from a very young age that death is the ultimate end to living. It’s a matter of when and how. The hard part of having a terminal illness is more the knowing how–barring any surprises–you’re going to die. There are worse ways to die than my condition, but slowly suffocating to death doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me. Good news is, they dope us up really good at the end–so chances are I won’t remember any of it.

But the end is still a ways away for me. I’m actually, all things considered, doing pretty good. I’ve been having more good days than really bad ones recently. The bad days are pretty bad still, but they don’t seem quite as bad as they have been. I can sometimes stand for a time now, without too much windedness, and the pain is a little better overall too. The fluid retention is not completely under control, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had the glassy stretched skin. I’m breathing okay and even can go without my supplemental oxygen for short periods during the day to give my nose a break without de-satting much. I’ve also managed to stay out of the hospital for five months now! Woohoo! THAT part I love.

I’m feeling optimistic. I’m still not anywhere near being able to live a normal life. But within the confines of the life I must live, this is pretty good right now.

And I’ve found there are some things that help too. I love having Conner the Conure now. It helps me get out of bed, because he needs me in the living room in his big cage–if I don’t come in there, he’ll screech and holler for me until I do. He gives me a reason to get up out of bed every morning and walk in the living room even if it’s just for a little while. I’ve read others who say their pets give them something to do, a purpose, the feeling that something needs them… and Conner definitely does that for me in a way the other animals didn’t. Jake, on the other hand, my baby dog, he’s such a good boy, and he makes me feel loved. My pets, they are special to me. Very special to me. I don’t know how anyone lives without our furry and feathered companions.

Okay–that’s my ramble for this morning. I’m about to go take a shower. It’s been super humid the last two days, so I’m sweaty and icky after tossing and turning all night. Time to rinse off, cool off, and see if I can’t pound out some words in my current writing project.

Love you all!

Love and stuff,

Michy

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Comments

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2 Responses to “I’m Too Young To Die”

  1. Derek Odom says:

    Yep, it’s always too soon, you are right about that. I’m glad you like that darned bird! 😀

  2. Jessica says:

    Hey, just stumbled upon your blog through the a-z blog challenge and your writing is very moving. I agree that the idea of facing our death leaves us thinking no matter when, it will always be too soon. And I understand how you feel about leaving your kids, that would be the hardest part for me in leaving this world.

    But, I love that you have a conure, they are sweet, cuddly, wonderful birds! I love that he gives you a reason to get up each day! And I think you have a pretty healthy attitude towards all that you’re going through.

    Best of luck with the a-z blog challenge and thank you for the touching post. I hope every day is a great day for you 🙂

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