You can escape the cold, the heat, the rainy weather, even the tax man as the Panama Papers revealed this week. But, you can't escape death, old age and sickness. And Yes, they do go together, and statistically, the older you get the closer you are to getting a major disease.
I read, just this week in the New York Times, that living well, such as exercising, eating the right kinds of food in moderation, getting enough sleep, eliminating stress and abusive behaviors, doing everything the experts have taught us to do, all that will not prevent death. They will not prevent sickness and old age. Yes, some people in the mountains of Sardinia have shown remarkable capabilities for staying health through old age.
But, most of us will get sick, and eventually die.
After a major illness or casualty we hope and pray, and look around our environment, for things to do, food to eat, changes to make to achieve that previous state we left behind when we became ill. We are hoping to achieve stabilization, a return to the normal we have been accustomed to for decades. This wish for normalization, for stabilizing, keeps us sane, keeps us relatively happy.
But what happens when what we are faced with is not stabilization, but a status we dread, a continuous imbalance that has to be accepted as the new normal?
What happens when the new normal includes pain, misery and a death sentence around the corner?
Doctors and nurses and social workers have learned a few tricks to deal with such issues. Mostly, they rely on prescribing new, expensive drugs that the patient may not be able to afford, or procedures that cause more pain and more money spent in order to give the patient more hope for achieving stabilization.
How do we plan for these stages?
How do we alleviate our fears that this meal, this reunion, this experience may be the last one?
How do we even sit down and have a conversation about our health issues and ask the question, is this procedure going to make me better so my life can return to normal?
I'm of the opinion that the bravest thing to do, as you age and become more and more infirm, is to live as though everything is just as it should be, great and rewarding. That nothing would make you happier. That you were brave and smart and conscientious in the previous decades of work and child rearing, and spousal companionship, and life was good to you.
Then, keep smiling, keep giving gifts as long as you can to as many people as you can. After all, you can't take anything with you. This will be your way of stabilizing the muddy pavement you're stuck on, the unknown you can't wish for, take, or give.
This stage of life aims at subtracting from you.
Well, you can do additions, and multiplications. Set up a trust fund for that baby still to come; help your poor relative with purchasing that first house. At your funeral, someone will remember that you substituted in their class on the day their child was receiving an award miles away, and that teacher you substituted for was able to attend that event. That's how you stabilize a roaring ocean that aims to destroy the peace and tranquility of your neighborhood.
Stabilization is a human attribute.