Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

Answer: Not really. I kind of assume that I will die of cancer, because that seems to me a pretty common cause of dying. It’s pretty common in my family. We don’t have any heart disease or anything like that. It’s pretty much just cancer and old age killing us. Whether I die of old age or cancer, the odds are pretty much equal, I think.

My mother died at 53 (and a half). If I live as long as she did, that means I have about 10 years left. That’s a sobering thought. Of course, I expect to live longer than my mother did. No particular reason, except that it seems like a reasonable expectation. I don’t have a “hunch” about it or anything. When I was a kid, I assumed that I would not live to see 30. I can’t really explain why I thought this, except that it was probably the perfect storm of growing up Mormon during the Cold War. Also, kids don’t know anything about reasonable expectations. I can see, in retrospect, that my belief the world would end before I did was completely unreasonable. Narcissistic, even. (But what do you expect from a kid?) Obviously, the world did not come to an end, Jesus did not show up, and I lived to see 30 and 40. I imagine I will also see 50, and I have no reason to believe I won’t see 60. Beyond 60 is a little ambitious for my sights. Even though my childish expectations turned out to be both false and somewhat ridiculous, it’s really only been within the last few years that I’ve been able to wrap my head around the possibility that I will someday have grandchildren because Armageddon won’t have happened yet. In the deep recesses of my psyche, I’m still not sure I buy it.

Of course I would rather die of old age than of cancer. I’m pretty sure. I mean, I don’t look forward to old age. As I said in my last post (what, half a month ago?), old age tends to bring with it a host of problems. Cancer, on the other hand, plainly sucks. Would I rather die of cancer than spend years slowly dying of old age? What if I spend years dying of cancer? This is why I would not want to make the choice about how I die.

But I think I would not want to die suddenly, without warning. Say, in an accident or something. I would want the chance to say goodbye to people. Unless everyone I knew was already dead, in which case a sudden accident would be fine, I guess. We can’t choose whether or not we get a warning, which is why we should always live each day to its fullest and tell people we love them now and make arrangements for our burials and write our wills and whatnot. I have not written a will yet. I don’t really have anything to bequeath, so it seems kind of pointless at this juncture. My husband and I did decide at one point who we wanted to raise our children, in the event we both died simultaneously in some horrible event, but I can’t remember now who it was. It’s probably best if we just keep living for the time being, for everyone’s sake.

I read an interview with Eddie Murphy once–the interview was with Eddie Murphy, he wasn’t reading along with me–and I guess (meaning “as best as I can recall”) he was asked how he wanted to die, and he said he’d like to die in his sleep when he was old, and then he said, “But nobody says, ‘I want to go young–dancing!'” I don’t know why that’s stuck with me all these years (because this had to have been 25 years ago, at least), except that it struck me funny. But if I keep with the clogging, maybe I’ll still be performing in my old age, and I can go old, dancing. That would be a good way to go. Except it would be unexpected. I mean, not for me–when I’m old, I’ll consider myself warned. But the audience might find it traumatic. Unless it were a gig at a retirement home, in which case it would just be Thursday. Ha ha, that was an insensitive joke. But I still think it beats cancer.

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