I have been busy dying, which does not guarantee that I’ll die anytime soon. But I feel it. I have a natural affinity for those who have died. I was never meant to fit in with the 20th century. As an introvert, I don’t miss people much. I feel more distant from neighbors, ex-collegues, and remote relatives (including my siblings and children) than I could have imagined. My reading proceeds at a glacial pace. And I mean the glacial paces of the past, not the hurried up melting glaciers of today.
My ears have failed in that I only can hear others mumble. But I listen to music every day and cherish it. I still love a good poem, but mostly rely on works from the past.
I work on my Swedish “death cleaning,” and I have a difficult decision to make. Will there ever again be a time when I choose to wear a dress? All those nice dresses are gone and a black “funeral” dress, which I got almost 30 years ago stays. All of my socks are gone because I’ve decided to wear merino slip-ons that don’t require socks. And I never ever have to buy anything again: I have enough nightgowns to last until I’m 250 years old and enough slippers to last a good 12 or 15 years. I have enough perfume to sustain me forever and also coats and jackets to give away.
I gave away all of my beloved Trollope books and the academic criticism. It had been almost 50 years in the making—me and my Trollope devotion.
What I have that I don’t need to give up are abiding little “obsessions”–Edward Gorey, Edward Young, “Urn Burial,” Barbara Pym, romantic poetry, Victorian poetry.
What pains me the most are the current conditions of the USA and the world in general. I hate Republicans and their guns and their intolerance and bigotry. I am deeply ashamed to be from this country. I would like to seek refuge in Canada or England or Italy or a few other places but I never had enough money to appeal to them.
I wish I could say that dying has inspired elevated thoughts. Instead, I am pre-disgusted by my own corpse. I want it to go away as quickly as possible. At this point, I don’t have the money for a new “green burial” (doing the virtuous thing is often the most costly).