I once heard someone say that something like: “It’s not the sentence of life that scares me’ it’s that period and the end.” Death is one thing that is certain to come and if you are at least 50, you most likely have more years behind you than ahead of you. And if you are a Boomer you are at least 53-years-old, so reconcile that most of your years are bygone.
So, what do you have planned for the inevitability of Old Man Death aka, “D-Man”? For unlike ‘Ol Man River—who keeps on rolling alone, death ends your journey. I know this may be morbid to write about, but I would be a part of the problem in our culture if I didn’t at least remind us that death is an important part of life. And if you’ve ever been with a person as she/he transitioned, you know that death is not an enemy. So let’s embrace it and prepare for it.
Our avoidance, I believe has to do with not the fear of the unknown but the induced fear of the unknown. There are many things we are ignorant about, but we aren’t afraid of them. But the narrative around death, at least in American culture, is that to die is bad and to live is good. But there are some who beg to differ.
Shockingly, (or not) the Boomer suicide rate is higher than any other group in the US. And since the age group between 40 and 64 has been traditionally the lowest, one source attributed the increase to the 2007 recession. I imagine that for those who opted for death, chose it as being a better alternative that living a life of lack, perhaps torment. So for these brave souls, death was the only answer to the hell that they believed would be the fate of their lives had they not opted for dying, i.e., losing money, jobs, and homes among other material things.
Another reason we avoid discussing or preparing for death, which is connected to its negative narrative, is that many think that if you talk about it we might invite it. Or to prepare for it means we are about to meet it. Well, maybe but it seems somewhat illogical to avoid preparing for an appointment that you know you will have to keep, without choice.
Everything surrounding death is bad: If you are tired of living, you must be depressed or psychotic in some way; in the US, if you talk about taking your life, someone comes, takes you away, and detains you for at least 48 hours. In this case, you can’t be “well” if you’d rather die than live. You are expected to wear black to funerals and to cry and/display an acceptable amount of grief or others will question your devotion or love—so it’s expected that you mourn in a socially acceptable way and an acceptable amount of time. Of course, what’s “acceptable” depends on your cultural background, so pay attention to what you see and hear when someone dies.
But if you want to “fight the power” as we Boomers do then consider the following:
1) Prepare a Living Will
2) Prepare a Land/Property Trust
3) Plan your own funeral—what you do and don’t want—from who cannot speak to where and if you want to be buried (i.e., cremated)
4) You can make a recording of yourself talking and share with those who attend. I did this myself. I can wait to see how people respond, but I’m sort of anxious to be looking on.
Finally, leave all of this information with someone your attorney, a family member and in a safe deposit box and/or a P.O. Box.
And of course. let others know to check these places for instructions.
Finally, O Boomer, let’s leave this journey having changed how the world views death. We can make this our final protest to show our world that death is not the monster we make it out to be. And if it is a monster to be feared then “we ain’t scared.” And since we know death is going to visit us one day, we’re so bad (as in good) that we will we sitting by the fireplace smoking, all mental and physical faculties in place, listening to something cool, and welcoming this not-so-mysterious friend, who will join us on our final trip.