Every night before I go to sleep, I mentally say that old prayer from childhood:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
And every night, I tell myself, this may be the night, for surely death will eventually come as a surprise.
I'm 60 years old now. I've had a very generous slice of life. Compared to most people over the millennia, 60 is very long lived indeed. And though in our generation, we have come to expect to live, on average, at least a decade or two beyond 60, there is no assurance for any of us.
"No assurance of tomorrow."
The other day, I was in Krogers. A young woman who works there, Tracy, told me that Ellen, another cashier, aged 47, had died in her sleep. There was no apparent reason for her death....it just happened and to many of her coworkers and friends, and probably to Ellen herself, her death came as a surprise.
Last Friday night, Bob and I went to a reception for the death of Richard, aged 50, son of our friends, Jack and Marie.
And then, there are the 58 souls who have already passed from my high school class of 1970.
Death is inevitable, and indeed, dying is every person's duty....our last duty. I pray to face my own death with grace and serenity, and frankly, not to use up resources in prolonging life unnaturally.
I wrote a song, Death May Come As A Surprise, last March, as I approached my own 60th birthday. No one has heard it other than my husband.
Now, I think, is the time for me to release it publicly. And yes, I know, it will not be to the liking of many. After all, who amongst us enjoys contemplating our own death.
But, I think the contemplation of death is a good thing. And no, I don't mean in a maudlin or obsessive way. I mean in a way that makes one 'carpe diem,' seize the day.
The only true wealth is time. I don't want to waste a moment of mine, for who knows when Death will come, to me personally, as a surprise.
I am posting my song, "Death May Come As A Surprise" on my Music page, ironically under the heading "Writing From Life."
Be well, good luck and seize the day!