Meeting your maker… popping your clogs… bite the dust…. kicking the bucket..I’ve had more brushes with death than Evil Knievel and I don’t ride a motorcycle or wear the cape. And I definitely haven’t tried to jump the Grand Canyon. But I have had a few near misses though. Five heart attacks, a stent, which collapsed and now I have a blocked artery, pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart) heart failure, a defibrillator fitted in my chest and not forgetting the dreaded brutal coronavirus. I thought the first heart attack was a big one until I had the second one…then the third..fourth…and fifth. The ticker is a family history thing, courtesy of my old man. I had my first one when I was thirty two. My arteries are the wrong shape apparently. It’s only medical science and the wonders of today that are keeping me going. Ten tablets in a morning, six in the evening. I rattle like an old gate on a windy night. I’m not too scared of dying now if I’m honest, obviously I don’t want to and I’m terrified of pain of course and sad I’ll be shuffling off this mortal coil. The good thing is I’m Catholic so I have a golden ticket. Front of the queue where St Peter will give me a hug and point me to the pub up there, The Heavenly Arms. It will be open and ready, wine and song, free peanuts in dishes and no last orders. What ever religion or belief you have I hope the sign says Welcome and not No Entry, then it’s downward to that hot place with lots of wailing and screaming, and I don’t mean a hen party in Benidorm. Or even worse if you’re an athiest its just the end isn’t it. Gone like a fart in the wind.
And before all that you have to try and avoid those funeral plans out there. All those companies are hunting you down like a pack of hungry wolves. I have a few e-mails every morning asking me if I have life cover. Soon as I delete them more appear. The adverts are far worse. In the Sunlife ad I’ve never seen two people more enthusiastic about dying. It’s all the same thing, older person looking into the camera earnestly saying they don’t want to leave it for the children to sort out and be a burden. Now I don’t know about you but I want to be a burden. I mean, you raise them, clean up after them and teach them all the life skills they need so the very least they can do is cough up for a funeral. I don’t want much. Maybe a deep oak coffin with the finest silk inside. Its my last ride so I want a bit of comfort. Also I’m thinking a glass carriage, full of white roses and pulled by two horses with those stupid feather things stuck on their heads. Oh and I don’t want a grave stone I want a monolith full of my old sayings like, ” Oy! Were you born in a field? Shut the door!” Or ” Who put the heating on twenty five? Get a jumper on!” I have toyed with the idea of cryogenics but imagine waking up in five hundred years time to all those funeral plan e-mails?
Rich or poor it makes no difference, we all have to do it. No getting away from the Grim Reaper. He will always catch you no matter how fast you leg it. He’s Mo Farah with a scythe. I think the trick is to try and give him the best race you can and when he eventually catches up he’s puffing and panting just as much as you are. In fact, you never know, it might not be a cold bony finger but a hearty pat on the back and a breathless “Well done” for a good long chase. Hopefully though, that’s way down the line for all of us !