Die Young

‘The idea is to die young as late as possible….’

 This is such a great adage to employ – and it brings to mind a funny encounter I had many years ago…

Because I have spent so many years working in end of life care I have had more than my fair share of ‘death bed’ conversations with people. There is something very special about having a one liner delivered to you from someone at death’s door….I know, I know- it sounds sick, but its true!

One of my favorite memories comes from the very first year of my career in hospice.  I was all of 23 years old when I began this work so being taken seriously was a bit of an uphill battle to begin with. George was one of my first clients. He was gruff, rude, and full of spunk. He had no family and was dying of lung cancer. George lived in a group home where he was taken care of by people that were virtual strangers to him. My inexperience had gotten the best of me, and because I was feeling sorry for him, I was visiting more than I should have.  He was a merchant marine and he was as worldly as I was naïve- and he took full advantage of this fact.

On the last visit I shared with him before his death he hit me with the most manipulative, pathetic, and well-played death bed one liner I have yet to hear. It went something like this (As he threw back his bed sheet to expose his spindly old legs and diaper) … ‘Would you give a dying old man one last thrill…’

I am sure the group home owner must have been hovering just inches outside his door because she blew into that room like nobody’s business and made herself busy with I can’t remember what, but boy was I grateful for her intrusion.

I made my exit without even giving George a reply, but not before he managed to deliver a wicked little wink my way that said ‘I still got it…’

I suppose you can’t blame him for trying… and when I consider his ploy in light of today’s quote I have to laugh and give him credit where credit is due….

‘The idea is to die young… as late as possible….’

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