You’re divorced, the kids are gone, your best friends have moved away or expired, and you, like them, drop dead. So who cares?

This happened to a dear friend of mine in the past week. She died in bed, and was found a few days later. The disconnect was sudden, surprising and a shock. She will never see the brilliance of the sun on a golf course, or relish in the latest gossip, take a trip to the seashore, or visit me and do my bookkeeping while we catch up on what’s going on with our friends and family. The artery that flows between us, that transmits our emotions, and the other frameworks that make a relationship, no longer pulses.

Concerned friends found Susan. I received a call soon afterwards.

I live alone too and if I dropped dead, it could be a while before someone drops in. I live in an area where neighbors have been replaced by businesses operated by employees who drive here from there. My best friends live out of town. And I don’t pick up my mail regularly.

I do have a backup.  My sister-in-law stops in every so often and I immediately say to her, “I’m not dead yet!” and we laugh.

She is important. if I were cold on the floor,  she would notify the authorities that would cart my body away, call my children who live thousands of miles away, and tidy up the mess I am leaving behind. She would alert the newspapers and my lawyer would set to work.

Loose ends. I have so much to do, so little time to do it. What will I miss? The sun and the beautiful light and color I capture with my camera. The map of humanity I see in a face. Time I spend with my friends and children. The smell of fall, the crispness of a winter day, losing myself in a spy novel, drinking a cup of coffee in the morning and dreaming up a new project, reading something I wrote or a photograph I have taken and being pleased with what I created—momentarily.

But you know, when I am dead, I won’t give a damn.

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