On Death…. and on Living

I’ve been thinking about death lately.

It’s hard to believe they’re both gone, and yet life goes on.


Both June Buggie and Rumpy were sick, and I knew death was coming. Malachi, on the other hand, died suddenly.

I wonder what my death will be like… and when it will be. I’ve known my entire life that one day would be my last. But lately I’ve been closely in touch with my humanity.

One day Rumpy was here; the next he was gone. Same with June Buggie. Yet as much as I miss them, life has gone on. The same will happen when I die.

As I ponder the realities of death, I also think about my life. So much of my life has been spent either trying to fit in, or feeling bad about myself because I don’t. I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Maybe it’s time to quit trying to fit in.

So what to do?


I can’t imagine either of these two had regrets.


I will live my life in a way that makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I know, we all, but especially we women, have many expectations put upon us to fit in in society. I have spent too much time hating on myself for not meeting those unrealistic standards. I’ll leave the hating to others and I will nurture a love of self.

I will wear what I want to wear, and not what a woman my age “should” wear (or whatever is available that fits). I’m going to stop cringing whenever I look in the mirror because I don’t look like a model on the cover of a fashion magazine. I don’t care if I never wear another dress in my life. Whenever possible, I’ll wear jeans.

I will ignore judgmental people, unless they don’t take a hint and keep bugging me, at which point I’m going to tell them to piss off. From my earliest memories, my life has been a series of experiences with people who would not accept me as is making their displeasure known. I cannot begin to express to you how hurtful that has been. Not that they cared; for them it was all about trying to make me be what they thought I should be. Enough! I am what I am. Accept me or don’t, but if you don’t, keep it to yourself.

And finally, keep your religion to yourself. Honestly, how many times have others tried to force their beliefs on me. Look, we each have a right to believe whatever we want, including me. To me, your belief in god is about as realistic as a belief in leprechauns. Yet I’m expected to quietly accept your proselytizing and prayers? Nope. I will be polite and respectful until you try to force your beliefs on me. Don’t want to listen to me downplay your beliefs as ridiculous? Then don’t start the argument by telling me why I ought to believe like you do.


I wrote this yesterday and wondered if I should post it, so I sat on it to think. Why do I hesitate? Am I truly sincere in my desire to live the rest of my life on my terms? Yes? Then what better way to start than to make public my declaration?

One day my last day on this earth will come. What do I want to think about my life on that day? Will I want to know I was what someone else thought I should be, or that I was the person I always wanted to be? The choice is mine to make.

38 thoughts on “On Death…. and on Living

  1. Reblogged this on Rambling Thoughts and commented:
    I have always loved your blog because you write what you want and I believe you will live you live as you chose as well. I am so sorry for all your losses and know that each loss is like losing a part of your family because they are a part of your family. Take care my friend and always live life on your terms and be better for it.

  2. Good for you We have one life to live. Sometimes we live it for everyone but ourselves. Live your life for yourself now. Love yourself for who you are and not who other people think you should be. The blogger I know has a beautiful heart and soul and is simply perfect the way she is

  3. I am sorry for all your losses. This is well written, you need to enjoy your life on your terms.

  4. Grief has the strange aspect of sharpening our senses and giving clarity to what is really important in life. We are amazing beings and each and everyone of us has unique qualities. And yes, I agree…forget what others think. Do what you need, not what others expect. And yes, love yourself everyday. 💕

  5. It is so difficult to accept the finality of death…but no more difficult than accepting ourselves as we are. You have taken a giant step, and I wish you well in the journey.

  6. Hello Jen: It has been a while since I visited your blog….I love what you wrote! Our 4 leggeds teach us so much don’t they?? If we could all be a bit more like our dogs & cats the world would be a better place.
    I have thrown off convention also since I turned 60…now I am 61 & I no longer live with drama or chaos in my Life. My family are ‘history’; my friends in town & my blogging friends are my family. I live Life on Life’s terms…..
    I used to worry about what people thought about me until I realized I have only to care what I think about me & my real friends.
    And like you I do not want others to force their way of Life or Religion on me. Live & Let Live is my motto….
    You know I still can’t quite grasp that Rumpy & June Buggie are gone…physically yes, but they live on thru you & the blog…..
    Sending you (((hugs))) & Love & Light, Sherri-Ellen & **nose rubsss** Siddhartha Henry xxxx

  7. “A love of self”? I believe that’s the most widely practiced religion in the world and explains this hellish mess we’re in now.

    1. There is a difference in a love of self and selfishness. Those who love themselves can see themselves in their fellow man. Selfishness sees nothing but desire. Even the self is invisible.

      1. Imagine this world if every one in it practiced selflessness. The Other before the self. It would mean we could walk into a room and not give a rat’s ass what anyone thought because we were occupied with how the Other was faring. Idealistic, yes, but I can’t face death recounting life as a vacuum, as self-referential. Although a philosophical vacuum can’t justify the taking of an Other’s life, it allows for it, as well as everything in between.
        Probably just semantics. I’ll be thinking on this for awhile because even at my age, I’m not done learning..

      2. Selflesssness is unrealistic. I have to work, to plan and save for the future. A selfish person mooches off others to meet those needs. One who loves oneself makes responsible choices that are in one’s best interest as well as society as a whole. Women already are selfless. We care for others, raise children, meet the meds of elderly relatives. Why should we be expected to do still more when men go through life as though everything is about them?

      3. I can’t untangle all of the issues in your last comment and still relate them to your original post. But it’s most likely me because I just put my camera in the refrigerator and walked out on the porch with a carton of milk. (To think I could juggle fifty thoughts and still stay on task in my younger years). I have two questions for you. If this is an inappropriate space in which to ask them, then tell me to go away, but your dialogue, with yourself, intrigues me. First, would you call yourself a “happy” person? and second, at the core level, what makes you happy? what makes you smile when no one is around to care that you’re smiling? And don’t waste time second-guessing me: I am neither a pastor nor a mental health specialist even though I could make good use of both..

      4. I am not a happy person. But i don’t see happiness as a goal. What I seek is contentment, and that is something I don’t have but work toward regularly. As for what makes me smile- a funny joke, something cute an animal does, children, and holiday lights.

      5. Good distinction. Then your search for contentment is why you get up every morning and, by default, the criteria by which you evaluate the purpose or purposelessness of everything you do in a day? (I’m not trying to be annoying–I’m genuinely interested). And I want to know what life you would pick for yourself if you could leave your present life behind. Would you work? and at what? would you live in a city? on a boat? in a rural setting? and how much money would you need to meet the “contentment” standard? Again, this is a genuine query. No right, no wrong, no tricks.

      6. No, I evaluate everything I do for the well-being of my cats and myself. I also base my actions on how they will impact others, then decide if I can live with myself knowing what that impact will be. I don’t want to harm anyone because I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of the selfishness of another.

        So if I could pick a life for myself, I’d live at the seashore. I’d walk the beach each morning, and I’d try my hand at writing for a living. How much money would that entail? More than I’ll probably ever have. But it did put a smile on my face to think about.

      7. I imagine that you’ll be pissed at both the format and the nature of this question but someone asked me the same when I hit 50 and it changed my life: If you knew that you would be dust a year from now, would you take the leap? Now? I’m not assuming to know whether you have a mortgage, dependents other than cats, or entanglements that would make this leap extremely difficult, but it’s said that nothing is impossible if one is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get there. And don’t guffaw me. From the standpoint of insurmountable odds, I know what I’m talking about.

  8. You go girl!Life is to damn short to be worrying about what other people think of our selves….Bugger that for a game of soldiers.Just please your self and be happy in your self every one else can bugger off if they don’t like it!I’m here if you need to rant or if you need to have a giggle and I’ll keep you in my thoughts from time to time but you know what ?You are going to be okay, so keep on being our tough little Cookie we know and love and and be free to life how you please,xx Rachel and Speedy

  9. I think this is only natural after losing June Buggie and Rumpy, especially in such quick succession. I find myself thinking of losing those I love and being alone. Death is imminent, it is just the means that is the unknown factor. When my time comes, I hope it is peaceful and I leave behind pleasant memories to those who knew me.

  10. I love what you wrote…. and I sometimes ponder about a world “after me”… it’s strange to know that life goes on for all others… with laughter, fun, tears or anger and horrible commercials in tv …

  11. You go girl!! My awaking moment came on my 60th birthday when I realized I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me. Either you like me or you do not. Do not like what I am wearing – sorry I do and will continue to wear it. Life is to short and I am going to live on my terms, not on your perception of how I should live.

  12. wow, do I ever identify with your sentiments…I needed this right now…we often think the exact same thoughts. I am so fatigued by the same types of humans you mentioned…yes, animals are wonderful friends indeed…never has one hurt me like humans have. right with you on that. thinking of you and how special your blogging is!

  13. Never doubt what you think or how you feel. Only you know what is right for you, and you can tell anyone who thinks they know you better where to go. I would. Some people draw faith from God and after 9 years of catholic school and a younger baby sibling being taken at a very young age from cancer it really questions blind faith. My previous offe still stands to make that pact! Cheers,H😍

  14. All we really have is ourselves. Everything else can be taken away. I learned a long time ago not to give a rats ass what others think. That is why I am such a polarizing person. I speak the truth. Many people are afraid of that. They want quiet people who don’t make waves. People either love me or hate me, there is no middle ground. I am fine with that. If someone can’t accept me as I am then I don’t want them in my life ……as for wearing what you want? I LIVE in jeans…always have. (((hugs)))

  15. I’m so sorry JB is gone. It does make you rethink your life, when curled in a ball screaming your pain into a pillow. Of course you should be you, and I’m disgusted at anyone who felt they needed to give you a sermon of any kind ‘for your own good.’
    I live in jeans and steel toe boots all day at work, but what has been really liberating is that it got warm recently and I wore cargo shorts to work. And I haven’t shaved my legs in two months. I’m hairy as hell and I can’t say a single person has noticed! I love it. Have to say the breeze through my shin hair feels odd, but it’s a small difference. Oh and I’ve worn sweat pants in public! That was a big no no my whole life.

  16. We’re big fans of public declarations. Kudos to you for yours. Keep telling it like it is…it’ll make you happier in the long run and if others can’t handle that, it’s on them, not you. Healing thoughts while you grieve the loss of your fur-iends.

  17. I loved what you wrote, I’m trying to start a service that helps people grieve through social media. I would love to talk about it with you more. Is there a good way to contact you?

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