Updated: Mar 24, 2022
Janice Deaton 1937-2021
Its been said aging is not for the faint of heart. That is true. But successfully aging is also not for those who stick their head in the sand and hope it goes away. Referred to as The Ostrich Effect (https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/ostrich-effect/) , people who avoid information they believe will be unpleasant, never leads to a positive outcome. One of the things about aging that must be faced, in fact about life, is death. If you bury your head in the sand and ignore it, the only thing that will pass you by is life.
It’s easy to say all living things die; harder to face that inevitability with grace, compassion and wisdom. A preoccupation with death is unwise but a denial of death is also unwise. The recent passing of my my 83 year old mother has inspired me to write down some thoughts about death and dying.
The most peaceful death I have been witness to, hers was what is often termed a “good” death. (.https://www.artofdyingwell.org/what-is-dying-well/our-journey-through-life/what-is-a-good-death ). Like many, Mom had both a heartbreaking and a happy life.
Married to one man, mother to three daughters, grandmother to four, teacher of civics and math, homemaker, high school valedictorian, cheerleader, and eldest girl of twelve siblings; she was also a widow for 20 years, a grieving parent after the death of her youngest at age 24, and a 50-plus year, type-one, insulin dependent diabetic.
From the age of 31 (with 3 young daughters) my mom woke each day with the knowledge of death as a very real possibility (especially since diabetes care in the 60’s was little more than guesswork https://insulinnation.com/treatment/diabetes-care-through-history/ ). But her faith in God and her sharp intellect gave her the courage and mental curiosity to greet each day with optimism, determination and mindfulness.
Mom’s abiding faith and daily dedication to scripture and prayer did not protect her from the rigors and disappointments of life, but buoyed her during times when she felt she was was drowning and carried her along during times when she felt content ... and even bored with the daily routines.
Her daily comitment to exercise and physical activity undoubtedly prevented some of the expected ravages of an endocrine system under constant assault. Her mental curiosity and inquisitive mind certainly braced her when faced with vascular dementia. But it was her faith in God that carried her gently over the threshold from this existence to the next.
At the end of six days of unconscious decline, her body systematically shut down with grace and aplomb.
As my inspiration for Learning HOW to Age™️, my mother’s life and death are a model to be emulated. https://glennfuneralhome.tributes.com/obituary/show/Janice-Rhea-Shocklee-Deaton-108515775 I hope knowing a little more about the woman who helped me develop and test much of this program will encourage you to tackle all aspects of aging by honoring your past, opening to the present and welcoming the future. https://www.learntoage.org/