Thursday, March 7, 2019

Thoughts on mortality

It's been a long time since I blogged here. Sorry about that! It's been a full month—of work, of doctor's appointments, of slow but steady healing, of cow kisses and dog cuddles, of births and deaths in my small community.

I am having knee surgery Tuesday, for—at a minimum—bone fragment removal and cartilage repair. There may also be some cartilage grafting and ligament reconstruction. Whether my recovery timeline will be six weeks or six months, I don't yet know. In preparation for the procedure, I was asked to ensure my last will and testament, health care directive (living will), and durable power of attorney for health care were up to date.

This is a safe procedure, and my doctor and I feel great about going forward. I've seen an internist who gave my heart two thumbs up (I have a common and mild heart defect and a history of TIA), and I and my care team are absolutely confident that I'm going to be sitting on the couch Wednesday morning watching House reruns. Nonetheless, preparing these documents made me thoughtful about my own mortality in ways that were challenging and sweet.

I wrote an addendum to my living will, "My values regarding death," from the perspective of a 39 year old mother, for my three daughters just starting out towards adulthood. From the perspective of a daughter, for my healthy, active parents. From the perspective of one piece of the universe writing to another, and knowing full well that these particles will only travel together for so long before they disperse again. I wrote with tears falling down my face.

I hope to rewrite this document when I'm 80, 90, or 100, when my parents are no longer reading and my daughters are no longer young. I wonder if it will be as hard then, or as sweet.

In the words of my beloved friend Hilary, "Is today the day? Probably not. But maybe. Do what you want with that. It's a mystery to me, and probably will always be. Being OK with that is the practice."

I'm glad we're alive on this planet together today, you and me.

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