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death Worst

The Worst Illness

Tessa at Weymouth beach, October 2022, photographed by me

I haven’t posted for 10 days because I have been down South visiting this friend here who is in her last days now of cancer. She is more than ready to go and is just waiting. I’ve also been staying with my Mum and her husband. Mum is 83 and her husband is 88 and has Parkinsons and is moving into early dementia. Mum is his chief carer.

I’ve had a few dear messages from people regarding my friend, most of which saying a version of “cancer is the worst”. Then I talk with my mum who is deal with deterioration of her husband and has seen other friends lose husbands to dementia and she is saying a version of “dementia is the worst”.

I think if we worked on it we could all come up with a way of seeing a friend or family member die as being “the worst”. Those poor people who got shot at that Chinese new year party in LA might be thinking that’s the worst.

But from watching my friend who is dying well I would say the worst way to die is to not be prepared and to fighting it all the way. My friend is at such peace, as is her husband and her son, and so that radiates on to the rest of us. She is calmly saying goodbye, tidying up her possessions, doing what she can and sleeping a lot. She isn’t of any faith at all but she has made her peace with the world and is ready to go.

Of course I am going to be sad when she goes but she has set me a good example, in her life as in her death. I don’t know when my time will come, though I am planning to make it as near to 100 as I can get. But when my time comes, whether it is slowly like cancer, quickly like a bullet, or many of the ways in-between, I want to meet it with peace, with knowing that all will be well, knowing that my estate is in order, that I hold no grudges, that I am at peace.

So I would say the worst death is the death you aren’t ready for whatever that is, which is also why I think we should keep short accounts, try not to hold on to anger and resentment, try not to spend our time going over our past and wonder what we could have done differently,trying not to put too much hope in the future, and just be our kind, open and naturally authentic selves.

And for myself to keep as close to the God of Creation as well as I can.

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certainty death peace prepared Prince Phillip

Prince Phillip

Prince Phillip with all his medals smiling at the camera
Cheshire councillors and MPs pay tribute to Prince Phillip www.thenantwichnews.co.uk 9th April 2021

I woke this morning thinking I should write a blog piece about Prince Phillip but what do you write about someone that you don’t really know that so much has been written about – also by people who don’t really know him.

Well it turns out the news of his death was announce on the anniversary of my stepdad’s death, which was sixteen years earlier. My stepdad born two years after Prince Phillip so the Queen and her family have been lucky/blessed to have him about for sixteen years longer than we got my stepdad. I’m sure that doesn’t make the loss any less for them though.

So this got me thinking about loss and death and when is a good time to die and how should one die. All those who’ve followed my blogs and my old site Diane’s Daily Thoughts, you’ll know that I’ve walked through a few untimely deaths. More than some and not as many as others!

We were talking with friends on Monday – our first friends this year who’ve been able to visit and sit in our backyard to eat lunch – and we were saying about dying well. As Christians we believe that we’ll go to be with God when we die and maybe even catch up with those who’ve already gone. [My hope there is too that God will have everyone who’s died with him whether they professed a faith or not. But that is for another blog!!] So if we believe that we’ll be in heaven then surely we should be preparing for it now. How? I believe by living to our fullest,which does not mean being busy all the time but being present all the time. Being here in the moment. Being content in the moment. Being at peace with ourselves and the world around us. And as I said in my last blog living in kindness and grace.

Death is one of the few things we can be certain of; that we are going to die, that those we love will die – and we hope and pray that it will not be too soon. But then maybe even 99 is too soon.

So for me as a ponder Prince Phillip’s death which is a form of public mourning, because, whether we like it or not, like him or not, he was a public figure who has been part of the UK’s psyche for over 70 years, I hope he died well. I hope he had time to say his goodbyes I hope he was reconciled with his regrets. I hope he was at peace at the end.