Happy New Year! Welcome to 2011. It seems just like yesterday it was 2010. How time flies.
Another year has come and gone, and I've managed to cheat the Grim Reaper yet again. This gives me great pleasure even though, as the poet Thomas Lynch says:
Something's going to get you in the end.The numbers are fairly convincing on this,
hovering, as they do, around a hundred
I know it will happen eventually, but in the meantime, I'll do what I can to stave off death for as long as possible. Which brings me to today's sermon: How to Keep Death at Bay.
If you read obituaries as religiously, as I do, you already know you'd be hard pressed to find a decedent who didn't pass, pass on or pass away "surrounded by his (her) loving family." In fact, this happens so often I'm convinced there must be a causal relationship between the two. Therefore, it seems pretty obvious to me that if you are an old and/or sick person, the last thing you'd want is a roomful of relatives surrounding your bed like Indians circling a wagon train or vultures circling a corpse. So you've got to take steps to avoid putting yourself in that situation.
When you're deathly ill and you figure your days might be winding down, the thing to do is avoid your relatives at all costs, and whatever you do, don't tell them about your illness. Even if it slips out accidentally, before you know it, Uncle Ted, Cousin May and Bob, the brother-in-law you could never stand will invade your bedroom and begin the death watch.
At this point, it's important to note that on occasion some people die, not surrounded by family members, but rather with their family members "by their side," although this is rare. Sadly, statistics do not tell us whether it is the left or the right side. Regardless, it is easily dealt with. If your relatives must be in the sickroom, make sure they stand together either at the head or at the foot of your bed. Not at the right side. Not at the left side. And for Dog's sake, never, ever let them begin circling.
So there you have it. My first post of 2011 has probably tacked on another ten years to your life.
No, don't thank me. It's the least I can do.
*from the title poem in Lynch's Walking Papers, W.W. Norton & Company, 2010