Following the abrupt, unexpectedness of a heart attack three and a half years ago I started to put my end of life wishes in order. You know what I’m talking about, those things growing roots in the back of your memory to prevent them from moving forward and getting done. Those things which claim squatter rights at the end of your to do list and refuse to give up their last place status. “You have plenty of time. Don’t think about us. Go play on the beach.” They call to you.
I wrote before that everyone should have a heart attack at least once, speaking metaphorically of course. We all sometime need a whack to the head to awaken us from the repeating refrain of mañana. This latest CoVid-19 virus has provided that whack. More people are preparing for their end of life while hoping it doesn’t come too soon. I am in the high risk group, Black, male, over 65 so I know if it hits me, my chances of survival are slimmer than most. I am prepared for that possibility. In the meanwhile my housemates and I have agreed to assist one another in the event one of us becomes infected. I do not want the hospital to be the last place I see, but I will go if necessary to prevent them from being harmed by caretaking or the virus.
So my last will and testament is drawn and filed. I have reviewed the terms and conditions with my appointed representative and I have provided her with a email list of people to contact, along with the poem to be read when my ashes are dropped into the river. I established a beneficiary for my meager bank account and I have advised my isolation mates of my hidden cash stash for my going away party. I know it will be a grand time. Too bad I won’t be able to attend.
In some small way I will continue to exist via my website entries which will post for two or three months after I am gone. Modern technology allows such possibilities to exist until the end of my contract period. I don’t do automatic renewals. So when it’s done, it’s done as far as my writings are concerned.
I will continue to live this life I love until I no longer do. Thus far it has been a wonderful experience, life. I have done the things I wanted to do while maintaining as small a footprint upon the planet as I could. I made the changes to my life’s course when my freedom of spirit felt in any way curtailed or contained. There have been ruts but never for long periods of time and none in a very long while. It is in the song *Nature Boy* where one hears the words, “The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” In the end that is what life is all about. Love actually is all that matters.
Many artists have performed variations of this song. Nat King Cole was the first I remember hearing. His music filled our home when I was still in diapers. He was one of my mother’s favorite performers. I included his version along with two other of my favorite renditions of the recording.