The hush-hush subject
I am going to now touch upon a subject that few people like to talk about, or are even willing to admit that it can happen to them. Be warned, for I am going to talk about death and dying.
Did anyone else notice that around six weeks before the end of the year the TV increased the advertisements (at least on the channels I watch) that keep asking ‘Do you know how much a funeral costs these days?’
What’s more, the speaker would then tell us that we can expect to pay between £5,000 and £7,000 (in Britain) and if we left these costs to the family then they would suffer terribly.
All one had to do, it seemed, was to take out this or that funeral plan or this or that life (?) - don’t they mean death? – insurance. And when we did this, all would be well and our family would be safe and happy. Yeah, right! First of all, what about people like me who do not have a family?
My friends will tell you that I have the awful habit of asking questions usually about subjects that are ‘hush-hush’. My articles exist mainly because of the input of many people. (And to those that I have shocked with my directness, I apologise profusely.)
One has to admit that these coastal areas of Spain are mainly made up of retired people - that’s polite for elderly.
I have realised that it is good to be elderly; for after elderly comes death. I want to stay elderly for a very long time!
But we all have to die eventually. And, personally, I would like a good death.
The adverts got to me and so I have made a will and issued instructions in the event of my, err, demise.
Most people around my age and older who I quizzed, all said they did not fear death; what they feared was an end involving some type of physical debilitating illness that prolonged the process of actually dying and oh so many feared dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease.
A surprising number of elderly people that I talked to had made no plans for their death and I should stop talking about it for it might be bad luck
Well, the head in the sand method is maybe not the best way to consider your own death; someone does have to sort of ‘clean up’ after you. And mostly that would be, after many years of legalities the government which would eventually take over your estate.
Some might think that they have no estate; that an estate is a big house on a large piece of land. But if you own a house – big or small – or an apartment or have money in a Spanish bank, you have an estate.
And if there is someone who you would like to give your ‘things’ to, you have to make arrangements for that now, while you are alive. It is not good enough to just tell a friend or neighbour.
However, this article is about dying, not what you do with your ‘estate’ afterwards.
I have a surprising number of friends who want to leave their bodies to science; therefore saving on costs, and that’s great if you have made arrangements for this (Generalitat Valencia, I think).
Even better if science actually wants your dead body.
However, the last I checked, the bodies are piling up in the corridor in Valencia and science does not need any new old bodies, thank you.
Even I have a plan for my own death but life does not always turn out the way we think it will. Think here about fatal illnesses and vehicle accidents or even falls in the home.
A few years ago, I made a promise to a friend that if she wanted to die with dignity and it was being denied her, I would help her and take her to Switzerland to a clinic where they practice aided suicide.
I will always honour this promise but quite honestly, I cannot understand why a person does this when they are still able to reach out for a bottle of pills. It is well-known that a surprising number of over-the-counter medications are fatal when taken in overdoses.
The main thing is we should plan for all eventualities. And, yes, we should do this to aid those we leave behind, not because some TV advert tells us to, but because it is necessary. It makes our death tidy.
When the voice of Freddie Mercury cries out ‘Do you want to live forever?’, I say ‘Yes! I do!’
But none of us can do that...