The Importance of the Afterlife. Seriously. – NYTimes.com

john-lennon-nyc

“Of course, many people are terrified of dying.  But even people who fear death (even those who do not believe in an afterlife) remain confident of the values of their activities despite knowing that they will die someday.  Thus, there is a way in which the survival of other people after our deaths matters more to us than our own survival….our capacity to find purpose in our lives depends on what we expect to happen to others after our deaths.”  an excerpt from the article below.

The Importance of the Afterlife. Seriously. – NYTimes.com.

John Lennon

A real ‘agent of change’, more so in the eyes of Boomers maybe but, nevertheless.  He is also loved by our 5-yr old. Yup.  She heard/saw him singing “Imagine” (via Youtube, duh) and she fell in love.  And can this 5-yr old sing!  So during a recent cruise through NYC I was thinking about what kind of souvenir I could bring back.  Flipping through a stack of NYC ‘souvenir photos’ I came across one of John Lennon wearing a NYC tee-shirt and decided that this was it.  Packaging it up for mailing, I decided to include the lyrics for the song. And then I wondered. “Imagine all the people living life in peace”. “No greed or hunger”.  And how many peacemakers, and innocents, have died in violence? And done so with no remorse.  And I wonder now what my innocent 5-yr old will experience and learn, how she will live.  Here’s link to the video of John singing.

What’s Worth Dying For?

I spent a good part of 3 days in the least expensive Nursing Home in NYC.  It’s not a bad thing to do, especially when studying dying.  It turns out that one of my 1/2 sisters (no relationship to the 1/2 bro who died) wound up here after a bit of life, as we know it.  She had been taking care of her mother (died at 97) and her disabled-abled-since- age 16- sister; in different apartments in Lower Manhattan.  Then, a few ago, she had a bit of a stroke. I think that’s when things began to fall apart.  All three of them were on Medicaid and Medicare and SSI Disability.  They also each had, for various portions of their lives, Visiting Nursing Services and Home Health Aide Assistance.  So when her mother AND her sister died, within a few months of each other, things crumbled for my 1/2 sister.  Sometime into the crumbling, I started getting calls from the Hospital to which she had admitted herself because she knew she was crumbling.  Co-morbidly, her body was also a wreck and when the time came for her to leave the Hospital, she was still deemed incapable of taking care of herself, even with home care services, and had to be placed somewhere.  Enter “The Least Expensive Nursing Home in the City”, which is paid for by SSI and Medicaid for my 1/2 sister.  Needless to say, after living in the same apartment, in Lower Manhattan, for 40 years is Nothing that anyone living in NYC would do without kicking and screaming, only shirt rending and lamentations,  she is pissed.  DSS maintained her apartment for 4-6 months, and then nothing.  She was delivered to the Nursing Home adorned in hospital gown and robe she had been dis-charged with.  Forty years of stuff from her life just disappeared.  She wants O-U-T.  Oh, she’s 79 yrs old and really isn’t getting around very well.

At the ‘Family Bar-B-Que’ – catered of course.

Until now I had not noticed, and this is a known characteristic of mine (that I do not register physical attributes of others very well) that I, my 1/2 sister, a 90 yr old man with severe dementia, and his 83 yr old wife were the only white faces in the rooms.  Even then I may not have noticed but the staff escorted me & 1/2 sis to a table right up front, with the other two.  It turns out that 83-yr old wife lives on the Upper West Side. The Nursing Home is on the even-Upper East Side; different hoods.  She’s the one who KNOWS the $$$ cost of the Nursing Home because she’s paying the whole thing out-of-pocket and she is getting quite concerned that at $200,000/yr (and her husband has been here for 6 months now) that she’s on the Express Train to who-knows-where. And until her resources are a pittance of what they are now (unless her husband dies quickly) she has no other help in caring for her husband.  And you know what else?  It’s not really a pretty place. It’s crowded. It’s old and worn and tired looking.  Yeah, it smells a bit also, but not bad. And my sister wants me to break her out of the place.  Oy Vay!

In Keeping With The Title Of This Post

What kind of Life do I want to leave After I’m gone?  gone, gone, gone beyond.   And in keeping with the Boomer Theme of John Lennon, and Imagine, I hope to leave something, preferably good.  So along this amazing adventure cruising some old stomping grounds I stayed at the most internationally peopled hotel I’ve ever experienced.  One of the things we all had in common was that we all saw our time here as ADVENTURES. And it was fun.  Chit Chatting at Check-out, the desk-guy said “All we can do is take one step at a time and… put a smile on someone’s face whenever we can.”    This was after he had given me a discount because the room I got wasn’t the one with the free martinis that I had hoped for.