"Wildness...It is perennially within us, dormant as a hard-shelled seed, awaiting the fire or flood that awake it again." Gary Snyder courtesy of WeCroak.
There is a new app on the market. It is called WeCroak and it'll cost you .99 for a lifetime. It gives you 5 random reminders that you are going to die, everyday. They look just like normal calendar reminders. It also provides you with a death related quote. It is just the tool I was looking for to keep my inevitable death present and thus the fragility of my life front and center. Just this week it helped me to change my frame of mind from overwhelmed and resentful to grateful and present. That sounds cliche even as I write it but there is no other way to describe it. My mother had a bad fall and landed in the hospital. I had been with her 3 of the previous 4 days and was feeling maxed out. I was busy driving my child to and fro and trying to wedge in some time at the hospital. I was on my way up the long walk to the hospital, when my phone chimed. A reminder: You are going to die. It brought me to a standstill. I noticed for the first time the blue, blue sky and the bright sun. Took some deep breathes and thought that was it. But I went on to have a delightful time with my mother. I give all credit to WeCroak and its ability to give me some perspective. I have no idea how long my life is going to be, so I better be awake for it today.
I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how I can normalize death. For everyone. T shirts that say "Soon Dead"? or "Most of the people are dead, the rest are on deck." But my favorite fantasy is that everyone is visibly pregnant with their own death. We prepare for birth. We read books, we decorate rooms, we talk with friends and family and hear their stories, we interview doctors and midwives and personalize the experience. It is culturally appropriate to talk about it and engage with strangers, in line at the supermarket- about the upcoming experience.
I love to envision all of us walking around at varying stages of rounded belly and planning for our exit. I imagine the conversations to run the gamut. "So have you decided where your funeral is going to be?" "I'm thinking maybe hydro cremation now. I used to be sold on regular cremation but then I went to a funeral at the hydro cremation facility and it was so beautiful and its so much better for the environment." "I just revised my obituary, I like to do that every year on my birthday just to keep it current." "I just had a great idea about my funeral. I am keeping a file of all the cute poems and projects that my grandkids do in school. I am going to have the kids read them at my service." "I just heard some great Gregorian chants I'd like to listen to as I ease into the next phase. I am making a playlist specifically for that time."
Imagine how easy and natural it would be to engage each other on the subject when we had been talking about it all along. Imagine how much more fulfilling death vigils could be if we prepared for them? Why is it such a radical idea to plan for it when the seed of our deaths is implanted in us at birth?
I am a trained end-of-life doula. I provide guidance and support for individuals and families during the end-of-life process.