Deathbed Litmus Test

I am most interested in the Really Big Questions.  Aren’t you?  I mean, do you ever wonder what you will think about on your deathbed?  That is, if you are lucky enough to have one and don’t just get hit by an out-of-control metro bus?  I think about this often.  The deathbed, not the bus.  Hopefully I’ve got my priorities straight on that one.

*pauses to think about her priorities*

Anyway, I often ask myself when confronted with an issue, “Will this be something I care about when I’m on my deathbed?”  You know what?  The answer is always “No.”  I was wondering why that was, and I think it is because in the course of everyday life, things come up that are often trivial.  They seem important.  But as my husband’s shrink asks, “Are they really important?  Or are they just urgent?”

Almost always the thing that is staring me in the face is screaming, “I’m important, damn it!”  But upon reflection, I realize that it is simply “pressing.”  That is a good word.  Everyday life presses in on me.  It wants me to scramble to accommodate it.

On the other hand, the Really Important Things, the things that I will indeed care about on my deathbed, rarely rear their heads in such an showy fashion.  They like to hide.   And then one day, when giving something the Deathbed Litmus Test, I start to wonder “Well then, what WILL I care about?”

I’m only 43 years old, and yet I can’t sift through everything that has happened to me.  It’s too much.   However, I think I can start to understand the important things when I think back to other people that I know that have passed away.  What did they talk about on their deathbeds?  What did the people around them talk about at that time?  See, this parting of the veil allows all the trivialities to slip away.  The eyes of the dying open onto a different place.   Everyone involved seems to understand at that point what is important.

Unless you can get stuck with a smartass like my husband in the room.   He (and his brothers, too – y’all admit it, now ) asked his dad what the winning lottery numbers were.

I guess they figured that since he was in between the worlds, he would have some kind of supernatural knowledge, and hey, why not use that?

You know what dad said?  This was the day before he died, and he was in and out of consciousness, but he clearly said, “6,2,6,2…”  He kind of trailed off and was smiling  broadly to himself.  We were all kind of surprised.  What in the world just happened?  Were these really the lottery numbers?

It turns out that indeed they were.  For him at least.  They  were the month, day, and year of his wedding.


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