The title of this post is a poem by Robert Frost. in which he sardonically advises to become as rich as possible so you don't face old age and death alone. It reads in part:
Better to go down dignified
With boughten friendship at your side
Than none at all. Provide, provide!
The other day Nancy and I visited her Uncle Morgan. He's in an Extended Care Facility, the sort of place that used to be called a Nursing Home before they came up with a nicer euphemism. He is not well.
We turned off the TV, which is always on, and Nancy read to him from the Bible, which he seemed to enjoy. I have observed these things about dying:
It is usually painful and often confusing. It is terribly lonely.
In addition to Frost's admonition to lay aside a fat nest egg, here's what I suggest:
This is the world's worst reason to have children, but have children. Uncle Palmer has no children, which exacerbates the loneliness issue. Also have as many friends as possible. Be as good as possible to as many people as possible. Do extraordinary acts of kindness for people. Don't outlive them.
This is the world's worst reason to have a religion, but have a religion. I wish I could show you how Uncle Palmer's face lit up as Nancy read from Paul's letters. My own faith is about as strong as sodden tissue paper, but seeing his makes me wish it were stronger.
After visiting Uncle Palmer, we visited his wife, Nancy's Aunt Wilda, who's in Hospice. Uncle Palmer does not know she's in hospice, nor does he know his own brother died recently.
Aunt Wilda is officially "unresponsive" but when Nancy read from the Book of Common Prayer, her eyelids fluttered, and then her eyes opened. I think it mattered to her.
The morning after our visit or late that night, Aunt Wilda died.
Uncle Palmer does not know this either.