Waiting to die

In my 60s, a clairvoyant told me that I had a long life-expectancy. While I had gone to consult her out of curiosity about Western ‘fortune-tellers’ (as the Asian ones were known during my boyhood), I had (perhaps subconsciously) expected her to confirm my expectations of death by about 68.

Why 68? Because of my family history. My father died at age 47, and my maternal uncles in their mid-60s. I had also ignored the statistics which said that federal public officials who retired at 65 (the official retirement age) lived less than 4 years; while those who retired (after 30 years of work) at 60 (as I did) lived up to 12 years, on average. So, when the clairvoyant told me that I would live until age 82 or 83, I asked her what good news she offered me.

She was exceedingly surprised at my attitude, because a long life is generally expected. Almost all of the senior citizens I have spoken to, even those who attend church every Sunday, fear death. Who is to blame for this ridiculous fear? They say that they do not know what will happen after death. My response is ‘What does the Bible say?’

A friend of mine, who was dying of an untreatable and inoperable throat cancer, took a while to die. His wife told me that he was, as a retired psychologist, experiencing the dying process! Well, one has to experience the unavoidable, hasn’t one? From my point of view, waiting to die is like waiting in the departure lounge at an airport when one’s flight is days overdue because of a natural disaster! All that is required is patience, and (possibly) pain control.

However, there is some merit in looking into the future. Thus, as a metaphysical Hindu, I have the satisfaction of ‘knowing’ (as taught by the only religion which covers this arena of non-existence) where I am going; that I can continue my learning there; and to expect a future Earthly life reflecting the totality of my past experiences. Looks good to me!

What of the rear-vision mirror? Well, it does offer patterns of relevant history, of current behaviour at many levels of human conduct, and a filtered insight into the human condition while awaiting Earthly extinction. Since all existence is seemingly cyclical, this is not a scenario of despondence. Perhaps this is akin to reading one’s magazine of choice while sitting on ‘the throne’ of excretion. We shall arise yet once more, will we not?