Marie’s son was distraught. He had told his mother he would have the doctors do everything they could – but now they were saying that they didn’t know how long she would be able to breathe on her own without the tube, nor did they know how long she might last if the machine continued to do most of the breathing for her.
I never thought about death much, other than as a concept, until my husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. Then it made its entrance with a bang. Even though he was 65, it felt far too young to be contemplating death.
This is a photo I took of my parents’ joint funeral.
Unbelievably, they both died in the same week, in their sleep, aged 86 and 84. My dad had had a stroke a year previously and hadn’t been doing too well, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected when I got a phone call one morning saying he hadn’t woken up.
You imagine ahead to your traditional dinner: you know what you will be eating, you know who you will be celebrating with, you know where you will be – but suddenly your heart drops. This year there will be an empty chair round that table.
We all know that writing a will is a good idea, but many of us never find the time to get around to it. “I’m too young. I don’t have anything to leave behind. I’ll set my affairs in order.” These are all statements many of us have used to procrastinate creating a will, or refute the idea altogether.
Maria and Arthur are coming towards the end of their lives. They are a couple I know, who raised four children, had vibrant and dynamic careers at the prime of their lives, lived in different countries and made a very positive and significant contribution to the world in various ways.