Monday 24 July 2023

No time to die - are you prepared?

I may have pinched this title from a James Bond film, but it is what keeps popping into my head when I think about death.

I don't think about death in a negative way and I'm certainly, not to my knowledge, going to die anytime soon, but over the past few years I have had a couple of scares with blood tests that have led to a bone marrow biopsy and tests for leukaemia as well as currently waiting for the results from scans for a mole behind my eye to check it hasn't grown or changed shape since the last test 8 months ago. I also had a mammogram last week and a recent smear test. Peter had a prostate scare around 15 years ago and he has had his 'over 65 poop in a tube test'

When you reach a certain age, all of sudden everything is geared for dying. Adverts on the TV for the over 50s for funeral plans and constant reminders we're getting near to the end of our lives. Stairlift and bath aid leaflets through the door. And reminders from the NHS that you might have cancer, let us check you over.

We're not infallible, it's the only certainty in life that one day we will die. I don't know if it is age related, I'm 52, that I think more about death, but it certainly stems from watching my father die when he collapsed at home suddenly in 2017.

We weren't prepared for his death, it was sudden and such a shock, but then as time has gone on, I've realised it was inevitable and with hindsight, it was amazing he lived as long as he did after his heart attack in 2012 and his life style choices. I'm also grateful that he just died, no downhill spiral, no worrying, no waiting to say goodbye.

In a way though we were prepared for his death, he had everything in place we needed to ensure a last goodbye. His paperwork was in order, he'd discussed it with me a month prior to his death. He'd written out his funeral requests, psalms, songs and provided us with a brief history of his life for us to use for his eulogy. He kept up to date records of family and friends so we were able to contact everyone straight away and he had a funeral policy in place. 

So we've written our wills, we've informed the daughter in laws where our paperwork is kept and discussed our funeral plans with each other. No religion, play ELO Mr Bluesky for me, no scattering of ashes, no sitting on the window sill in the downstairs loo and no turning us into pieces of jewellery. 

We've told the kids to do whatever they want with the stuff in the house, take it, skip it, house clearance, unless there is anything they want. We've got the solicitors acting as our executors as our children are far and wide, just don't leave the house standing as shrine to either of us.

As for our old age, the bit before we die, if we need care then we can pay for it, have people in to clean, mow the lawn. We're tech savvy so there's no reason why we can't carry on managing our own lives before we consider or need a care home. But the bit before that, the 'adventure before dementia' where we spend as much of our money as we can buying a camper van, travelling the world, sorting our home for our old age is all underway and we're just not worrying about anything else.

This was one of the stands at the Three Counties Fair in June. My first thought on seeing it was 'what?' then I realised it's exactly what I've been talking about, Death being inevitable. Quite a few parents hushed their children's questions and moved them on, avoiding the subject, missing an opportunity to normalise talking about death.

Is death something you talk about? Are you honest with your children about where people go when they die? 


  1. I think as soon as you turn about 40 everything looks towards dying. I've noticed it more anyway. My dad is 75 and I have thought more about death over the last few years since he had a small stroke but he's having none of it, he sometimes acts more like a 20 year old than an old aged pensioner. He has said he doesn't want us to go to the funeral, just the party after and we all have to get drunk. lol When I die I want to go suddenly, it will be awful for my family but I watched my grandad die slowly and I think that is worse. x

    1. Personally I wouldn't want a funeral either for myself or for my loved ones, just the celebration of life part will do for me

  2. I'm 52 as well. I haven't planned anything as far as my wishes go yet. You've made a lot of good points to think about here.
    Visiting from #3

    1. whilst I have done some planning, I feel the funeral and the goodbyes should be what the people who are going to attend would like to do