I was watching a Sports Center Special this morning and heard this question: “What would you do in the last hour of your life?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about death recently. One might think my focus would be my Mom as Alzheimer’s very slowly takes her. But it’s much more mundane than that. I’ve been thinking about our cat, Cas, and how my daughter, who is in loving obsession with her, will handle it when Cas inevitably dies.
I know, I know: don’t borrow trouble. I’m a worrier, a condition would could via psychology be traced back to events in my life, but which is more likely a property of personality. I was reticent to get a pet. I remember how painful the death of my childhood pet was and wanted to protect my kids, my overly sensitive Sweet Girl especially, from that eventuality. But here we are, in a place where she is so completely attached that I fear Cas’ death will overwhelm her.
At this point, I think my Mom might die before Cas. Strangely, this doesn’t worry me as much, perhaps because we have time to prepare. Perhaps because she will go so slowly and in such a painful way, for us anyway, that we will be relieved when she goes.
Or perhaps it’s because Cas’ death is smaller, more manageable. Her death will happen, be managed, and pass. Whereas Mom’s death will linger, for the rest of our lives. I remember where I was when my Father told me that our cat died, but the aftermath is lost. The aftermath of my Grandmother’s loss still lingers. And that’s the difference.
The question this morning struck me: “What would you do in the last hour of your life?” If given a choice, I’d be with my kids, doing anything they wanted. Unfortunately, we usually don’t get to know that it’s the last hour of our lives. We may know with Cas, but we may not with Mom. In either case, I’m not sure it will matter. Their losses will be deeply felt, possibly with relief, in both the short term and the long. And whether in the longest hours or the last of my life, I will be there for my children, helping them through.