Dying Young

When I was a little kid one of my worse worries was that I would “die young”.

I learned too much about death at too young an age, or at least I was conditioned to fear death. Death was bad. The ultimate separation from those you love, the final farewell to those things in this world with which we become familiar and comfortable.

My religious upbringing didn’t really lend much comfort in many ways either. I was taught about hell, and how I would be going there to burn for eternity if I didn’t repent of my sins. The problem was, this was imprinted on me so early in life. Eight, nine, ten years old. Happy potential childhood became scary times of ultimate decision making. In my opinion that kind of pressure, that kind of tactic…is unfair to young children, and I now reject scaring little kids with the visions of a ghastly hell in order to “bring them to Jesus”. If a person is going to follow that path, they will follow the light…not the dark. But…all that aside.

I think I missed my appointment with an “early” death at age 49, with heart attack number one, and again at 60 with heart attack number 2, and quad bypass surgery. Being sixty six and a half now, I am no longer young in years, although I feel better now than I did twenty years ago.

Age 46 was when nurse Betty Stone drew a vial of blood from my veins, and then called me to her office later on to show me the layer of fat…triglycerides..which were floating on top. My reading was over 1000. Genetics…my Dr. said, and gave me pills…which I still faithfully take. But, even so, I have lasted longer than I thought. Longer than a number of my classmates with whom I graduated. I think about them at times, and wonder why. I’m guessing it’s just the tide of life, which carries some of us further in its foamy wake than others. That’s all.

The other night I dreamed about my Grandpa Jervis. That doesn’t happen often. He and I were driving around hunting bargains at yards sales, and got lost. I was concerned, but he just said: “keep on driving and you’ll eventually come to somewhere you know”. And we did in the dream. We ended up on Rossville boulevard. (Who knows with dreams? You just gotta go with the flow).

All I know now is that every day I wake up is a good day. As the old song says: “Even the bad times are good”. I’ve had a good life, good family and mostly good friends. So, I’m just going to keep on driving, until I get to where I’m going, or at least come to somewhere I know. And when the tide of life deposits me there, I will know….many things, or perhaps none…what will matter will not be the date and time of that arrival, but the fun and quality of the trip.

Thanks old Grandpa, for the advice, and the cameo appearance in my dream.

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