Friday, June 26, 2009

I See Dead People

Between working and rehabbing myself and my house, I haven't had time to comment on the passing of an iconic hair legend and an infamous child molester. Oh, sorry, he wasn't convicted was he? Bite me. Not to mention that Ed McMahon, Billy the Pitchman, and Karl Malden also joined them for what's turning out to be a very crowded queue at the Pearly Gates.

When Farrah and Michael died on the same day, several bloggers noted the same day passing of quite a few other famous people. But all of them pale beside the same day deaths of two of our most significant founding fathers, the tall and handsome Thomas Jefferson and the short and supremely unattractive John Adams. How amazing that these two former adversaries, who later became friends [think Clinton and Bush I], managed to die on the very same day. Even more astonishing was the day they picked. Because they didn't choose some ordinary Monday through Friday like the rest of us. They both hung on so they could exit on the most important day in the country's life at the time -- July 4, 1826 -- the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Cosmic. Karmic. Supercalifragilisticexpialidosius.

It makes me wonder whether dying on a significant day is an accident or the final act of a control freak personality. I read that Adams and Jefferson were both trying to hang on until the fourth of July. Adams said something like, "Jefferson lives" as he breathed his last, not knowing that T.J. had died earlier that day. Was Adams competing with Jefferson to be the last founding father [of the two] left standing?Did they make a wager of some sort? Regardless, I think their nearly simultaneous exits were truly a death defying feat, actually. When death came calling, it seems like both of them said, "Hold on, gimme a minute here. It's only July 3rd."

I've heard many stories of people dying on anniversaries and other significant dates within a family. My mother and I talked about the phenomenon before she died. She was always sensitive to avoiding anything that could cause psychological harm. We both thought it would be a cruel joke to croak on someone's birthday. In fact, I'm convinced she picked a day at the end of September because it had nothing to do with any celebrations in our family.

My father, on the other hand, chose to die on my sister's birthday. I think my sister was honored in some way. I remember that shortly before he passed away he mentioned her birthday was only two days away. It seemed as though he waited. I'm glad he didn't wait until my younger daughter's birthday a few days later. Or mine. Phew.

On the other hand, one of my aunts died on the very day she met her husband fifty years earlier. He was already long gone. In her case, I thought dying on the anniversary of their meeting was kind of sweet. I know her son was touched by it.

If you know you're dying and you're trying to hang on for one last Christmas or New Year's or someone's graduation, is that a good thing? I think it would make sense to hang on for a special occasion, especially a wedding, but I think you should try not to die on the same day as the big event. That's pretty selfish, don't you think? A little too me me me. Big celebrations aren't supposed to be all about you because you're going to be dead, okay? So at least try to die a day or two later. That way people aren't celebrating something wonderful each year, only to remember that the day got spoiled by something not so nice.

I'm here to help.


Remo said...

That's one of the reasons I never go to work on a holiday or birthday. Too much chance for the random to take effect.

Of course, a decade ago no one would have given a thought to passing away on Sept. 11th.

Tressa Bailey said...

Thats it. I refuse to die. Its all too complicated and I just don't have time for complicated.