The Grudge of the Old by D.H. Lawrence

In the last few years two older men whom I had turned to for wisdom and good stories passed, and the difference between their final years was illustrative.

The first, married to my grandmother, I had known since I was a child. As he got older I learned more of his life before their union, and it was not an exemplary one. He had changed dramatically under the influence of his final wife, but he was, in all ways, a real bastard in his youth to early middle age.

As his body failed and death was near, he held on with ever greater ferocity. He lost his body, his mind, and towards the end in a quiet moment together, he slightly bared his soul when he confessed that what he feared wasn't dying, but what lie on the other side, the inevitable penance for the crimes against god and man he had committed in youth.

The other death, just this last week, was of a good friend and mentor, whose life was lived fully and without regrets. He was married to his first and only wife, his children had children of their own, and he was always gracious and open with friends and enemies alike. In the end, with death imminent, he worked to ensure none would be put out by his passing, and handled the arrangements himself, right down to the catering.

From what I was told, the end was swift and largely painless as he allowed the drugs to ease the pain and his soul to be released.

In both cases, the men who had taught me a great deal about how to be a man continued to teach me to the very end, and as I continue to see and interact with the aged around, I can't help but notice that the ones who have peace in their hearts and mind are the same who believe and have lived as if a reward is awaiting them, and those who display anger, bitterness, and despair are the same who seem to be trying to convince themselves that there is nothing to be afraid of on the other side.

Posted by dan at March 27, 2013 4:35 PM

I have the house loaded with explosives. Forty five seconds after I flatline, the whole neighborhood goes up.

Posted by Lorne at March 27, 2013 4:47 PM


Way to go!

Posted by Frank P at March 27, 2013 5:35 PM

To which you could add:

"Get Off My Lawn"

Posted by USCitizen at March 27, 2013 6:02 PM

Thanks for sharing those two stories, Dan.

Posted by Cond0011 at March 28, 2013 4:29 AM

Thanks for your insight Dan..

I have similar stories in my life. I lost my Dad when I was 13, after a terrible battle with cancer. He was brave and fought hard but never let any of his 4 children see him worry. In his passing his only grief was for his children knowing we would miss his love and guiding hand the rest of our lives. He was 44.

My Stepfather is the complete opposite of what my father was. I think my mom couldn't even bear the possibility of replacing my dad so she just settled for a reasonable facsimile of a man. He is 82 and slowly dying from diabetes and poor lifestyle habits. He is an ungracious, bitter, impatient, resentful old man. Terribly unpleasant to be around and his only concern seems to be why this seems to be happening to him.

I, like Dan am convinced that it is all about quality of life above all else. And the quality of your life is entirely dependent upon how strong and healthy the relationships are within your life.

Posted by Bill Henry at March 28, 2013 7:21 AM

When it is time, go off into the solitude of the quiet wood. Let no one know where you are and carry no ID.

The Government will go nuts when they try to determine your state. Just have someone mow the lawn.

Posted by Vermont Woodchuck at March 28, 2013 9:03 AM