135: Making Death Part of Life (Sort Of)


We are talking about death. Like, your death. And our death. Death is a topic that we mostly avoid as a society. Even when we see it happening before our eyes, it’s often the elephant in the room. Can we help normalize talking about death? We are all going to die. Can we get comfortable in that idea? Can becoming more comfortable with death help us live a more fully realized life? Can the impermanence of our journey help us to live it more fully? Listen in and share your thoughts about how death has helped you live your life. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i am jason and i am not dead yet and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and i’m jenny i’m also a person in long-term recovery and we’re talking about death because our journaling person didn’t show up to talk about jordan so we will talk about journaling in the future but we will be much more researched uh and not invite her yes and not bring on our expert who it probably had something coming yeah maybe she had some major emergency okay kid was in the hospital or something oh great yeah she had death uh surrogate grandkids anyway um recap stuff so uh somebody suggested we do a meet and greet which i was like petrified of me what socially awkward that’s why i’m doing this yeah so this was uh this was emily and i was like uh that yeah i don’t i don’t know about that partially because i don’t know even know how to do a meet and greet uh online or or in person or any of that but second like who the hell would come that’s what i was doing i’m like you’d be the only person there miss emily do you want to just have lunch and just come meet us i guess i’m the one who’s excited by that i’m like yeah let’s do it yes well i think like jason i’m like nobody wants to meet us right right uh i don’t know maybe i i doubt we’ll do that maybe jenny will do a meet-and-greet for us like you can come meet probably don’t want to meet me they probably want to meet you i i don’t know why they would want to meet us uh so we did get some new topic suggestions there was uh myths about n a uh there was keeping yourself safe around newcomers when you’re still early-ish and recover yourself i might have mentioned that those are both from holly and then katie candy said we should explore the big book being brought into the 22nd century and i do think we kind of have that one set up already for a future recording date so listen in seven or eight months from now and yeah that’ll actually be coming out because we are ridiculous about how we record early we’ll be back super old timer from aaa for that what the guy was like 52 years no maybe we should have a super old timer and just somebody newer that oh yeah both yeah so for sure i don’t know i doubt we’re gonna get that super old timer because i don’t feel like hearing that [  ] but i do have somebody who’s read the big book multiple times at least the first 164 pages where all the actual information is not the story crap like any book has to um thank you for continued donations we really appreciate that still passing those on and helping people out uh we got a a beautiful comment on our website actually we got uh jenny got one on her blog i did yes i forgot to tell you about that jenny it says jenny love the post even if your kids were born with a predisposition for alcoholism your family life doesn’t involve partying and getting drunk that’s a little personal about your life that right there will save them so many families can’t seem to do any social activities without drinking that’s funny billy was just talking about that uh birthdays and holidays can be fun without beer and wine love you in your journey you’re amazing so that was a really nice comment wow awesome don’t know that i totally agree with that right there we’ll save them but it’s a thoughtful comment and and so if anybody doesn’t know jenny does a monthly blog post sort of it’s on where you can find all of our website uh podcast information you can find out where to listen to us you can see really shitty youtube transcripts of our episodes if you want to try to read through that mess and and jenny has her blog on there and you can go in the donate to us tab and you know donate whatever you feel we have brought to your life uh and that money of course goes it gets passed on to the community we also got a comment from ron who said uh and this was on my [  ] lb gtq paper that i wrote like it was a research paper i wrote for school but i threw it on the website because we talked about it in the episode about lgbtq so i just threw it up there for shits and giggles and he said i must he say i must say i enjoyed reading this paper thank you jason i’m a person in long-term recovery and also part of the lgbtq plus community i’ve been listening to recovery sort of for a while and found that it has opened my mind and heart a little more and in turn that adds quality to my recovery thank you all for your service that’s nice right so we got so many nice things uh some youtube comments uh mischa said and this was on our tradition three episode yesterday i was asked to share on tradition three at a step tradition meeting i’m grateful i found this video and y’all’s channel definitely helps in expanding my perspective thank you for having these conversations fun right uh and then we gotta comment on the spiritual principle of courage and larissa said and this is for you billy uh fellas i love this pod and respect your experiences so much but you have a real opportunity to learn from your guest jenny and miss it by waxing poetic and debating semantics rather than listening to the overall lesson let’s hear more from jenny on spiritual principle sorry jenny i’ll shut up that’s why we’re not having jenny on the next spiritual pencil no that’s not why it makes us sound stupid uh and then on our tradition one podcast which this one fascinates me just because it’s on the tradition one episode uh aixa said i needed this and i was like huh really on traditional one i can’t i don’t picture that being uh i needed this situation but okay she needed it uh and that’s that’s the recap so let’s talk god damn that was long let’s talk about dying or no i don’t want to talk about dying i want to talk about death yeah not the actual dying portion so we say we’re scared of death i think everybody’s scared i don’t know if we’re actually scared of death like the experience of being dead i think we’re scared of the dying portion of it are you really scared of not being here no yeah i agree with you i’m scared of like pain

what if death is painless well then yeah there’s the second part this is all my issue but i i want to make sure my kids are set up before i go like i you know i take care of a lot of um i hear that a lot and so yeah yeah go ahead sorry i’m sorry oh you’re cutting off again yeah that’s jenny talks but like my perception of some of that has changed as i got older like you know obviously as i’m getting older when i was young i’m like i don’t know i’m gonna die someday but who cares that’s a long time away and now that i’m getting up to 50 i’m like oh [  ] i’m probably through more than half of my life you know it’s hard to think about yeah i am almost positive uh just going by historically the men in my family and all that great stuff i’m more than halfway through like i got less to go than i’ve already experienced i’m pushing for science it’s kind of a scary thought my husband says the same thing though but aren’t you taking better care of your body and mental health than your male ancestors while i vapor yeah i want to bring up that obvious point better than cigarettes but yeah but even that like a hundred is rare like most people aren’t living to a hundred that’s what i say the goal is yeah i mean i guess it’s kind of like a joke but you know my grandma’s 92 and a half and um i’m like that’s where i’m going i’m gonna make it to 100. well maybe we take a better care of ourselves i don’t know historically how many of my ancestors were shooting heroin or cocaine for some years of their life like i also took worse care of myself in some ways but this is a really it’s an interesting topic to me because the idea that we don’t ever talk about death like everybody’s born everybody dies that’s pretty much your guarantees in life i guess if you wanted to get like real technical well you’re gonna breathe right you’re probably gonna eat some stuff yeah but you’re gonna be born and you’re gonna die and yet we don’t look at it or face it or talk about it and then even uh and i think this is changing some in our society but like people get sick and are dying and we still will just ignore it as the elephant in the room within our families right yeah just like act like it’s not real yeah yeah we’ll pretend we’re they’re not dying um and it’s just interesting like why do we avoid it so much i mean obviously i guess somewhat obviously it’s either depressing or it brings anxiety for us or we don’t know how to process this idea that we will no longer exist in this format at least i you know i guess that all varies depending on your belief system of what happens after you die but why why why do we not acknowledge something that’s definitely coming for all of us for me personally i don’t mind talking about my death that much you know like it’s like i’ve talked to about like what i’d like to have at my funeral and how i’d like to sort of not have like this dreary depressing funeral and stuff like that i don’t think you get to choose that i know you do and then it’s like the funeral’s not for you anyway it’s for the living people but like i’ve never worried too much about where i go or what happens when i’m dead i’ve always been like oh i’m [  ] dead i don’t think i get much of a say at that point you know and if i do i’ll figure it out when it happens like you know but it’s harder for me to think of other people dying like my children or my wife and and those are harder conversations to have like i don’t know how easy it would be to sit down with my kids and be like so you know one day you are gonna die and that might be before me and that you know like just even thinking about that yeah is like it’s like no i don’t even wanna think about that but you know that’s the reality of life is that we don’t know when our time is coming or what is going to happen and we all and my wife throws that in my face all the time she’s like we should be living our life like we could die at any time which is why we spend all our money taking all these crazy trips and doing all kinds of stuff because you don’t know you know you don’t know what’s going to happen wow i came in here so comfortable with the idea that i will not be here one day and billy just took this to a brutal place of my kids dying and now i’m not comfortable talking about them anymore i don’t want to talk about death anymore yeah let’s talk about life now today we’re talking about life on recovery sort of the podcast um so i i read a book recently and it was uh an author and a he’s a therapist but he writes a lot of books and i’ve always enjoyed his writing his name is irv yalum and he wrote a book with his wife who was also an author while she was dying and so they alternate chapters of the experience of what it’s like as she comes near the end of her life um and it was really fascinating to read and you know i mean there’s a whole lot that can be said about the book they you know they don’t particularly share any belief of an afterlife and so for them this was it and like he’s talking about how his memory is not that good and a lot of the life that he remembers is from his wife reminding him of things that happened and they were older they were in their 80s but he’s like when she passes lots of me pass because i don’t remember any of that [  ] anymore and i was like wow that’s a fascinating take on it too right like part of us dies when somebody else dies kind of like you hear you know as long as you’re remembered by someone you live on in in some fashion but also part of us leaves with a no wonder grief hurts so much if part of us is leaving right even even if i remember all the things that i’ve done the person i shared them with which i i part of me is like tied into this thing of like i don’t mind doing things by myself will i go see a movie by myself sure will i go places by myself yes but it almost loses something if i don’t get to share the experience with someone because to me that’s kind of the point of life i guess is to share with other people and so even if all the things that i did with my wife i don’t get to share with her anymore because she’s not here that’s a big loss yeah and we i mean it that recently hit me so we took a family vacation when i say family it was you know my family and then my sister and her boyfriend and son and then my dad and like a couple of days before the trip i thought man you know if my mom was here she would love this like this is the kind of stuff it made me sad i actually cried you know it was like she would really because this would have been the type of thing she always liked to do or tried to do for us she would try to get all of us together as a family and have trips and do things together and so it would have been even probably more meaningful for her than any of the rest of us and she isn’t here to celebrate that and then while we were gone was also the anniversary of my nephew’s death so i don’t know that you i think my sister handles that in a little different way she tries to like go on vacation or do something she really likes around the anniversary of his death because it’s such a depressing time and it’s so full of grief that she doesn’t want it to be like that you know she wants to do something different so she tries to take trips around that time um because i think that’s a little different than thinking of someone’s birthday or whatever it’s like this is the actual day that he was killed so she handles it that way and that was a little sad to think about and like being there with her like i didn’t know how to address that or bring it up or if i should address it or bring it up so i didn’t you know it’s like you said almost like the elephant in the room thing and i knew it was the day and you know but it didn’t like come up in conversation and i was like well i don’t want to like bring her down or depress her and which is a dumb comment because like we talked about with caroline when we talked about loss and grief it’s like it’s not like she’s not gonna think about it unless i bring it up you know what i mean like she was thinking about it already me bringing it up probably if anything would have been respectful or giving it some dignity versus just being like this is uncomfortable i’m not going to say anything which one of us on this episode is going to cry first today not me yeah i probably won’t cry it’ll be me so i feel like i’ve had a lot of death in my life i’ve never been overly fearful or scared of death i i think for a long time i just live my life like well [  ] it i’m gonna die actually i kind of hope that i do die you know that’ll be the best thing that could happen to me is if i would just die um so as i got in recovery that i mean i don’t want to say that didn’t change much now in my life i feel like i don’t think i want to die anytime soon my life’s pretty [  ] good you know now but i’m finally to a point where i feel like it matters if i die or not i think one of the interesting aspects in the book that came to mind for me was this idea that the lady who was passing away was ready and that fascinated me to some extent because i started questioning i mean she was older she felt you know she explained it like i feel like i’ve lived a full life there’s nothing left for me to do here right and also interspersed like she’s got some loving children and grandchildren and she enjoys them and she’ll miss them but she was ready and and i started thinking what could make someone ready to not be here right and so she was in a lot of pain she had uh some you know ailments going on and i said well being in a lot of pain could obviously make me think differently about being here right when you’re full of pain of course you might be ready to leave and then i thought well maybe as you get older and you start losing the ability to do some of the things you enjoy about life maybe if you like to take walks and you start having trouble taking walks or you know you can’t go bowling or any of the stuff whatever it was that you were into that could make life less worth living and so that could be uh you know get me closer to the idea of okay i’m ready to not exist anymore but i was curious if that is something that could happen naturally naturally is a tricky word without either of those circumstances like if i was 95 but still able to do all the things i enjoyed without any limited mobility and i wasn’t in any pain could i possibly be ready to leave the world if i didn’t have those circumstances good question when you’re 95 i’ll probably be like a hundred so let me know what you think i am not making it to 95 but look at you with your optimism mean i think there’s a difference between being ready and wanting something so like i feel like in my life like i’m at peace i don’t feel like there’s any like majorly unresolved things or or majorly like oh my god i wish i woulda i mean obviously there’s some things i would like to do before i die but if something happened and i got stuck in the hospital and was on my deathbed tomorrow i don’t feel like there’s things that i feel like are unresolved or left unsaid or left undone you know that would hold me up but i certainly don’t want to die tomorrow you know like i don’t i don’t so in a way i would say i’m i’m ready and that i don’t have unresolved or on any heavy burdens in my heart that i feel like oh my gosh i need to do this right now as an experiment i want us jenny to take billy out and set him up in one of those like old spy movie kill the hero type things where he’s like hanging from a string where the thread’s slowly burning by a candle over top of a long fall into a pit of sharks or something okay and i want to know if he still feels ready in that moment that would be interesting but if sharks is a little painful but maybe like instant electric electrocution or something and it was the situation you talked about but we went through it i watched two different sides of that coin but both of them were with health issues so it doesn’t make your point so like my wife’s father was really sick and he had diabetes and they started cutting off limbs he started with his feet and then he ended up both his legs cut off up to his knees and he was in a wheelchair and heart pro anyway he was ready and he would say that stuff to us all the time like yeah i’m i’m ready my time’s up i’m just waiting to go and it like at the time i’m like nick what are you talking about like you can’t think like that like you gotta fight it you know what i mean you gotta keep living for the moment and then as i got older like now i can see like he was a man like he built that house that we lived in and he had done everything for himself and now he was at a point where you know we’d have to like pick him up and put him in the car and help him with medical issues and he was you know just losing his faculties and he was like i don’t want to live this way and he was more comfortable with it and then my mom was the complete opposite she was so fearful and scared of death that the anxiety caused her to probably fight harder and live a lot longer even though she was in a state of dying where my sister and i were almost like man we might need to like euthanasia her like because she was so much suffering but so scared to let go so it was it was painful to watch that you know it was really hard to watch my mom and deal with we thought about like all the science they talk about with giving people lsd and helping them with you know end of life stuff and we were like maybe we should give her some lsd or some weed and like get her high so she’ll relax a little bit around this concept of death if anybody thinks about slipping me some mushrooms when i’m dying i would just say i’m already dying all right i’m totally down i know what my dad was dying the doctor was very free with the painkillers just yeah like like as many as you want and they were with my mom but she wouldn’t take them she was like i don’t like the way they make me feel yeah that’s the tricky part like you read about the painkillers and not only the person taking them but the people that surround them their loved ones like it really cuts you off from your ability to connect and it’s like that terrifies me i feel like i’d almost rather be in pain to some extent and be able to be here i just read this thing this is about pets dying but similar is um a vet it was like something on facebook and the vet was saying the last thing your pet wants to see before they go is you please don’t leave the room i thought you know like you know because then the vet has said that they see dogs going and they’re looking for their master they’re like wildly looking around where’s my master you know like they know they’re dying and so the vet was like whatever open letter style like please don’t leave the room that’s what they want anyway i think we can relate that to like human too you know we want to be with our loved ones so have you guys been around dying people yes a little bit yeah it’s pretty it’s weird i’ve been in a couple situations around dying people one was a car accident a guy that was in high school a little older than me i was 14 or 15 and he was probably 18 and he crashed his car right in front of our house and like he was really bad like really rolled his he was in a truck and rolled it a couple times it was like laying there dying and he died while we were there was me and then our neighbors and she was the neighbor lady was freaking the [  ] out like oh yeah it was you know screaming at the top of her lungs call them paramedics and you know i at the time i’m like a 15 year old kid like what the [  ] is going on that was probably my first experience with watching someone die and he died before the paramedics ever got there you know he died and there wasn’t anything anybody could do we couldn’t even get the car open that lid you know the roof was crushed and the whole thing was so that was tragic and then we had another situation with a woman that my wife was sponsoring at the time she had a rare disorder uh i’m trying to remember the name of it and it doesn’t matter and she was in the hospital and her family called and they’re like would you come you know visit her in the hospital and we went to the hospital to see her and as we’re in the room they’re like oh yeah she’s dying like now and they started singing she was religious and the whole family was there and they were singing like christian hymns as she passed and it was beautiful like it was really powerful and really beautiful um but it was like we just walked in and within like 10 minutes she passed away and it was that was pretty crazy but it was two extremes of like a situation of someone passing that were completely different you know yeah and then we were all there when my mom passed away you know she didn’t want to go to a hospital or nothing she was in the house and we were i mean all of us were there my whole family my brother um my kids were all there and we just went in and sat with her and you know she died while we were all there and i thought man that’s probably how i want to go you know i don’t if i get a choice right i’d like to be around my family and people that love me yeah and with them there at home yeah at home yeah my mom seems so scary to me like when my grandfather passed he had you know i was i was young i don’t know exactly which cancer it was but he was like all tubed up and you know his eyes he couldn’t open his eyes and stuff so we’d like hold his hand and so we knew we were there like i wouldn’t want to go in a hospital like given the choice i’d want to be home you know with family loved ones or even just home by myself like the hospital death is like terrifying but i’m also the person i chose not to have a hospital birth either both my kids were born in a birth center i just hospitals are so like fluorescent and beeping and i just you know try to avoid those places well that was a weird thing too now and i’ve never really thought much about this but when these people were dying like and i don’t know what it is i’m not a [  ] doctor at all but you knew they were dying like we knew they were like when my mom passed she had been sick for months and months of time and slowly getting worse and worse but when it got to the end there was no doctor or anybody there we just all knew we’re like oh this is different you know what i mean like this is she’s gonna die and we all kind of went in and sat with her and stuff and it was the same with the guy in the in the car accident and i don’t know if that’s he was bleeding i mean it was pretty gruesome um but there was a sense of like he’s gonna die like he’s not you don’t live through this like this is not something that like you’re gonna be back in school in a couple weeks like it was it was pretty bad but in all those situations like you you could i don’t know if that’s spirit or what that is that let you know that this is a passing of something but you’re bringing up the dog me i was there with my dog when we had to put the dog to sleep that was [  ] probably one of the hardest death experiences i had yeah pet pet deaths get me worse than people death sometimes i don’t know why well and in that one it was hard because in all the other situations people were there with me which helped and when our dog passed like my wife and kids didn’t want to deal with it so i had to take the dog to the vet by myself sit there with it as the dog was put down and i was there whether it was like me and the [  ] vet and the nurse technician and like i felt like i had to carry all that myself and that was hard harder than being with other people like i felt more responsibility i don’t know what the [  ] i was expecting out of this episode but this is not it i was like i’m going to come in here be all comfy make some death jokes no joke now i could use a death check right what the [  ] i thought i was pretty comfy with death and i am so anxious about death the way everybody’s talking about right now that i’m ready to just go die now i can’t live with this [  ] wow no wonder people don’t talk about this [  ] yeah it’s heavy yeah heavy stuff you know what i wanted to share too so i go to the ymca during the day and um there’s a lot of seniors you know during the day and um they’re gonna die but they all seem really chill with it and i mean i know this is a small sample because it’s ymca and these are people who are just i guess they’re taking care of their bodies some of these seniors are there every single day doing some kind of activity so they’re very aware of keeping their bodies active and that they know their minds are slowing down and they joke with each other about how their bodies and minds are like failing they have to have such a good um humble self-perception and when i hear them talk and when somebody does die they’re very like yeah you know like almost like yeah we had pizza last friday you know like very like yep and then you know michael left us you know they’re just very they know it’s coming and it happens and they’re just very comfortable with it so we were talking earlier about um you know if you weren’t in pain and you weren’t anguished would you still be ready to go these seniors to me give me the impression that yep they’re ready to go you know they’re in their 80s not many 90s but they’re active in their 80s and they’re like very at peace with well you know my partner’s gone now or my friends have left me and you know just hanging out trying to stay feeling good until it’s time to go and see i feel like those are extenuating circumstances too they’re right up there with being in pain like if your lifelong partner is not here anymore the person you shared stuff with if you’re living a life where you’re not going to work you don’t have a social life you’re like kind of lonely most of the time except for that hour you’re at the y like i don’t know i’m just i’m really trying to figure out what makes people ready you know another thing that that popped up in my mind a guy was talking to me about how much he dislikes the world now and i thought of that as another version of becoming ready to not be here anymore like this idea that like the world has outgrown my belief systems because we change as a society right you know people who are born in 1940 believe some things probably that are a whole lot different than what i believe or what my kids believe for sure and just maybe that’s part of the natural process of being ready like i almost feel like if we didn’t have this process of kind of becoming ready that somebody would have figured out how to stop death already like it would have been so important because none of us are ready to go and we all want to put all this effort into you know solving death and we’re going to live forever and it’s almost like most of us kind of become ready so we don’t need to figure that out by the time it gets to that point we don’t need to figure out how to stay because we’ve found a way to become dissatisfied with the world have you heard of the book a year to live no um it was written by stephen levine didn’t read it but i heard about it his son is noah levine who started refuge recovery so stephen levine was also like a spiritual teacher kind of buddhist leanings and he wrote this book a year to live and it’s basically based on the premise you’re gonna you’re gonna operate based on a premise that you’re going to die in a year so everything you want to take care of do you know make settled before your death you have a year to do it and then after that year i guess you live freer or more you know unburdened so i thought that would be an interesting thing to try i know there’s like lead programs out there

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well of course we always hear about the like the financial aspects of getting ready for death as far as wills and stuff like like i’ve been thinking about that stuff lately like oh yeah i guess we’re at a point where it’s probably a good idea for us to start figuring some of that out with our kids and who would take care of them if we die because early in my life i’m just like well i’m like i’m not dying so that’s fine you know you don’t have that together worry about that that makes me feel better that you don’t have yours taken care of because i haven’t done mine either and you’ve done that grown-up stuff i’m a little younger yeah it’s well and it’s total irresponsibility because it’s like who knows what could happen at any time and i hopefully all those things are set up and i’m just like it’s total denial of responsibility my first my first sponsor like she was she’s about my age and she was like in her 30s and she really urged me to get it done then and it’s been a while and i still haven’t done it yet well and it’s hard to tell with me whether i avoid that for the emotional aspects of it because that’s an emotional thing that’s tough to deal with or whether it’s just irresponsibility i mean i think it’s worth i think it’s more the irresponsibility because i don’t like dealing with insurance or any of that stuff that involves legal proceedings it’s way easier to take apart your kitchen than it is to do it wow for sure for sure my wife and i just took a vacation recently without our kids for like five days it was just a nice long weekend and the night before we wake up to take the plane flight she’s like sitting at the table writing these little letters out that we have to sign i’m like what the [  ] are you doing oh well my mom just said it’d probably be good if you know we wrote these out to let people know that we wanted her to have custody of the kids and you know ability to have them see doctors and take care of their school stuff and all that and i’m like i’m not okay with signing not that i have a problem with your mom doing it but like this was kind of thrust on me at the last minute i’ve never considered that our plane might crash or something like that’s [  ] up i know you guys should vacation on separate planes so that if one dies the other one doesn’t you know and we joked about this before we went on our trip like my wife said to me well at least we’re all going together so if the plane crashes we all die together like she really doesn’t put it in your face all the time i think that way like i’m not thinking that the plane’s gonna crash we kind of had that talk when we just took our our vacation as a family last summer because we flew to jamaica and it was like nothing to worry about if we all go we all go yeah i guess our family plan is don’t vacation together and we’ll live longer maybe i’m more in denial than i am comfortable with like i’m just in denial like uh whatever i have heard and this was something from irv yalum that he has said in other books uh because a lot of his work has been about death anxiety and his theory is that the cure for death anxiety is a life fully realized basically it might not be the exact word but if you’re living in the way that truly feels like it’s what you’re supposed to be doing and you do all those things and you’re not like living for what society expects of me or what my parents expected of me or any of that that you won’t have the same i mean i’m sure there’s always some level of anxiety around death but you won’t have the same unmanageability in your life due to it because you’re you’re just doing what you’re supposed to be doing like you don’t have to worry about what’s left undone or what you didn’t do or you know the people who get close to death or realize they have a certain amount of time to live and say oh my god who knew i could choose to be happy and i’ve been choosing to do all these things that i didn’t even really care about and show up at these parties that people invited me to out of some sense of obligation and like why did i waste so much of my life doing that yeah and i i think that’s where i’m at with it more that phase of things and i actually heard a similar not well yeah i’ll say a similar concept there was a ted talk and i can’t remember who did it about death and like someone who spent a lot of time i think it was like a hospice nurse and she was talking about like the top five regrets of people when they were dying and none of them were like oh i wish i had worked more hours at my job or i wish i had you know spent more time you know out playing golf it’s usually like i wish i had spent more time with people that i loved i wish i had traveled more and like and there’s a top five things that people regret and i can’t remember them off top of my head but it was like it reminded me of like oh yeah it’s about like quality of life am i doing things that make me feel like i’m alive you know i’m spending time with people that i love and i’m doing things that i like to do and for me that has a lot to do with like nature and being outside and i like fixing things and building things and doing things and i don’t want to waste my time doing a lot of things i don’t like doing right that’s totally my justification for having a messy house it’s like i don’t i don’t want to die being like well at least my house was tight i actually ran into this yesterday so i was sitting there playing my video game for a few minutes and i was getting close to this like you had to complete this certain thing to get this reward or whatever and i was like oh i’m only like three games away and my three-year-old well she’s two she’s almost three wanted to go outside and my wife was like trying to nap on the couch and i’m like why won’t this [  ] get up and take her outside right because i didn’t want to stop what i was doing um and i just wanted somebody else to take care of it right yeah um and but you know realistically like i was trying to step back from it a little bit i’m like a lot of my day and week and month is dedicated to other people and it’s like it’s okay for me to spend some time on the video game i hadn’t been on there long like trust me there’s been days where i’m like one hour six and i’m like i’m a piece of [  ] right now but this was not one of those this was like i’d only been on it for like 30 minutes i’m like can i get some time to myself right i’m like i just sat down here to enjoy this right so i’m getting a little shitty but at the same time i’m like facing this kind of death thought in my head i’m like what am i gonna give a [  ] about am i gonna care that i met this reward in my video game or am i gonna be like yeah i went outside and spent some time with my kids so i did play like one more game and then i was like all right i’m turning this off uh and i’m going outside and that kind of thinking can help me right that idea of like what really matters here what’s gonna matter when i’m looking back on it who do i want to be and whether that’s at death or whether that’s tonight when i lay down you know who do i want to be in this day and it wasn’t necessarily easy i wanted what i wanted but i ended up going outside and we weren’t out there forever we were out there for like an hour and and then the neighbor kid came over and he kind of drives me crazy so i was like i got out of that somehow but um i gotta go play some video games later but yeah no that that thought process right that futuristic let me look at myself in the future looking back on what i’m doing now i think that’s useful and i think i mean whatever i’m gonna go a little religious bashing now but i think that’s what some of like this afterlife belief and all that is like a justification to i hate to say this but like live shitty now because oh i’m gonna you know well after i die i’m gonna go to heaven and then i’ll get to spend all this quality time with my family and friends because that’s who’s going to be there and so you know now i just need to like live a lower quality of life you know it’s like people don’t follow after their dreams and their hopes and and those kind of things because they feel like oh well that’s not what i’m here for i’m here to like suffer you know and and live by all these rules and do these societal norms and then pleasure and joy comes in the afterlife when i’m dead like that’s that’s my take on it i’m sure people have better take on it than me but that’s always been my take on that i’m not gonna live my life based on what happens when i die i mean if that happens when i die that’s fine too but i’m going to live my life now as if what happens after i die is irrelevant can i tell you guys about the buddhist death yes practice okay so we’ve done this a few times in the buddhist recovery meeting here it’s um it’s a meditation where you are guided into your own death so usually you’re doing it laying down and you have a recorded or somebody’s speaking it about you dying so you are laying down like shavasana yoga style and this person walks you through a visualization of your body decomposing into the ground i mean like nitty-gritty details insects blood fluids you know rotting smelly and then all the way down it’s probably you know a good one i from my experience is like almost 30 minutes but they go longer and um all the way to visualizing your body as like dust in the wind it’s a it’s really cool do they have one that’s three days long so you can come back to life like jesus i’ll check insight timer we’ll see i’m all cool with the like going back to nature part i’m thinking the part of like where it’s the like day before you get buried in in the ground and all that like you’re driving to work one day and all of a sudden you’re like smashed by a car and like yeah you’re in the hospital and you’re dying and your loved ones are all there like [  ] that feels heavy i want to meditate on that yeah i guess the buddhist one is like the ones i’ve done yeah you’re already you’re like laying in a field you’re like it’s the most peaceful way to die you know um but the the buddhists keep in mind that death is part of life and that your body is just kind of a like a vessel on this earth and it’s not forever and so if you always have death in the background like you would live today in a in a better way i’ve actually done that meditation what did you think it’s it’s interesting i think it’s part of the things that have well before this episode made me think that i was getting better with the idea of death uh i gotta reevaluate that now i might have to journal on it right yeah um no but it’s it’s fascinating so i i do feel like this idea of living with the idea that death is coming right has helped me a lot it’s changed it’s helped me and i feel like it’s it’s kind of hindered me in some ways so we went to hershey park last week and i [  ] hated it it was so crowded right it was an hour to do anything my son and i stood in the line for an hour to get on bumper cars for a minute it’s like what in the [  ] are we doing i just felt like we were wasting our time we stood in line for like an hour and 15 minutes to get food i’m like this is just i would die yeah you’re there for like eight hours and you get on like five rides yeah maybe and i’m like yeah oh yeah that blows yeah and it’s just it that is not appealing to me and i started brainstorming so we’ve been doing this with my mom for years now um and i started brainstorming like what could we do next year different where we can actually like be doing something and spending time together instead of just standing like it didn’t seem like an amusement park it felt like a standing park yeah so in that sense i feel like it’s kind of ruined me like i don’t have it’s not that i don’t have the patience like i i meditate i can stand here for an hour but it’s just not what i want to do with my life yeah we pay all that money to get in there too right use your resources differently but then like yesterday um i i’m you know not shaving my head right now i’m like oh i had covet i didn’t shave my head i’m gonna grow my hair out and see what happens so i was gonna go get a haircut and so after my son’s baseball game you know i looked up on the app at great clips i’m like oh 20 minutes it’s going to take us at least 10 to get there perfect we’ll sit for a few minutes and we get there and there’s like five people in front of us and two people cutting hair i’m like we’re gonna be here for at least 45 minutes before we get our haircut and we sat there for a minute and i was like do you want to be here and he’s like no i’m like yeah me neither and we just bounce the [  ] out and i was still a little annoyed that i wasted the time stopping by there at all but like i don’t need to waste my life i honestly don’t give enough of a [  ] what my hair looks like to sit in hair cuttery or great clips for an hour waiting for a haircut like if i can’t do it quick i’ll go back to shaving it like [  ] all that i don’t have i just don’t have the time in my life to be spending doing dumb [  ] or waiting for services or like they just don’t mean that much to me anymore yeah and i mean whatever not this gets off the death thing but i look at the hershey park thing is like well that’s an experience now you know you don’t want to do that instead of your kids and everybody being like yeah we want to like that sounds like so much fun like no it’s sounds like fun [  ] reality is not right you know and that’s one of those life norm things that everybody thinks oh yeah we need to go to these amusement parks and spend all this money and do all this sucks yeah it sucks you know use your wisdom to prioritize well and it’s already got me dreading like we go we’ve established somewhere along the way that we take a kid to disney world when they turn four like it’s just how it’s worked out so i know next summer like 2023 we’re going to disney world and last time we went there i had that same feeling like we waited three hours for one ride yeah i would not and i’m like do they have a fast pass system i’ll pay what the [  ] ever i’m this is not gonna be miserable for me i’ve heard they changed that and got rid of it but they used to they got something else now they’re like in the process of installing something and i’ll be paying i don’t give a [  ] i will pay whatever because [  ] money i’m not standing all my life yeah this is dumb but yeah so i feel like it’s this idea of death and wanting to live fully in accordance with what matters to me right i don’t have to be okay with standing in this hour or three hour line just because all these other people in society are like i don’t i can buck that system i can be me i can do what matters to [  ] me i don’t have to be there was like five people after us on that haircut list right i don’t have to be them like you all want to wait for a haircut [  ] feel free i’ll even make your life easier i’ll bounce out this line but i just got to do what matters like i don’t do our [  ] haircuts and appearance matter so much that i want to sit here for an hour not to me yeah but to tie this into like some of the recovery stuff for me like it’s was really important that i go through and figure out what my morals and values really are so that i can live in accordance with that right you know and figuring out like i like nature stuff i like being outside and hikes and walks in the woods and seeing beautiful nature things like when i’m out there and i see those things and [  ] that touches my spirit as much as i’m sure church does for other people you know for me that’s where i get that fulfillment and satisfaction and connection to whatever you want to call a higher power if there is a higher power like all that [  ] comes from nature but i don’t know that i recognized that you know when i was using or when i was young it was through this process of recovery and learning about you know principles and what principles are important to me learning that like yes my relationship with my family is important you know like that that connection means something to me maybe to some people it doesn’t and that’s fine too maybe you figure that out and realize my family’s full of [  ] and pieces of [  ] and i don’t want to be around my family maybe you figure that out but it’s through the process of recovery and a fourth step and a fifth step and learn about my defects that i figure out what i really want to do and who i really want to be and that’s what you know when i can start to live that way i’m more comfortable with the life that i’m living now it reminds me of signing up to be a soccer coach i had this idea oh my god i was going to be such a community uniter and i was going to like you know the soccer community yeah soccer is like about running so we’re just going to go out there i’m going to run with the kids get my own exercise i’m gonna invite all the parents that want to to run or walk with us so that they can not just stand there and waste their life away and it was gonna be so uniting like come be unite with your kids let’s unite with each other let’s all be healthy and yeah it doesn’t look like that at all what it looks like is my life is way too [  ] busy the kids don’t want to run more than like three seconds they all start walking because they [  ] hate it uh i think one of them dropped off our team because we ran the first night for like five minutes seriously like and like how many parents got involved none because i never even said it because they were all over there with their [  ] phones like happy as hell and i’m like [  ] man this is dumb and but you know i will coach the soccer team this season and i’ll never do it again because i learned it’s just not something that i have time or enjoy right now right maybe there’s a different age group i would maybe there’s a different time in my life when i would it’s just not for me but it’s that practice of learning what is and isn’t and not trying to force it right i don’t like you said i don’t have to force that hershey park is something we have to do every year i don’t have to force that i need to be the soccer coach or whatever right like i don’t have to do any of these things i can just do whatever i i feel as i evaluate it works for my body and my life and that’s what i think this idea of death has done for me is like i’m not wasting my [  ] time on [  ] i don’t like i just don’t have time to man you talk about the process of dying you’re [  ] dying now yeah you’re in that process you are aging and dying right it’s coming i don’t want nothing to do with wasting it yeah and and there is some uh fear of death that’s motivated me in a good way to be healthier like when i was young i’ve always been thin i’ve always been able to eat whatever i want doesn’t matter i don’t seem to put on weight i don’t seem to have any issues a couple years ago doctor said oh you’re on the verge of high cholesterol you know you can [  ] do something about it now or you can take medication and i was like ah i don’t want to start on that path of like medication for my heart and medication for my cholesterol medication for my whatever so i’ll exercise you know and and diet because i know i’m aging and i can do that i don’t know kicking and screaming which is what i’m gonna do you know i’m to fight it i’m going to in a reasonable way i mean i still like ice cream and still like some good things right it’s interesting you talk about like in nature i feel like i have come to that conclusion too and yet i still and and i blame the way my life is set up which there’s part of that right there’s five kids they are involved in some sports i don’t know the solution for that one at all times right i have the argument with my wife that we need to have them in less and but i also see the other side of like well which one do you tell they can’t do something and you know how do we work that um but i don’t make the time that i would like like i couldn’t tell you the last time i took a hike or you talk about golfing i like golfing not so much as a as a like i need to go out and be a good golfer but i like going out with people i enjoy and just spending time hitting the golf ball around it’s fun to me i i couldn’t tell you the last time i’ve done that like i don’t feel like i find the time and part of that is my life but there’s also part of it that like i end up and this is maybe something i can journal about uh i end up feeling like when i finally finish all the scheduled and responsible activities i’m like i’m done i just want to set the [  ] home and not do it anymore and i don’t know if that’s a lingering piece of a depressive nervous system or being down because that’s kind of my thoughts about death too i’m like i don’t want to die [  ] it once i’m dead i don’t have to deal with this [  ] oh god this is all i don’t have to [  ] go another one you’re just rotting in the ground is worm food you just lay there there’s no sunday night worried about work monday morning i ain’t got none of that [  ] no more that’s kind of nice every night i die in my bed so relaxing goodbye world it’s interesting that that you know some cultures have referred to orgasm as the mini death because i always think of sleep as the mini death but i always found that fascinating i think that’s like an asian culture thing i hadn’t heard that one no i mean either okay that’s a whole other episode then

so i don’t know like how do we interact with death and change the way we feel about it or the way our society as a whole talks about it like how do we stop ignoring it how do we become more can looking at the idea that we’re going to die and becoming more comfortable with that in and of itself help us live more fully now i think so see i think i think we tend to hide our elderly away you know because they’re not attractive they’re a burden you know medically and so i think society and maybe i’m just talking about the west but you know we tend to hide our elderly away so we’re distancing ourselves from the death and it’s like pretending it’s not going to happen but if we started being more active with our aging community and that other cultures are different but you know i i find i’m more comfortable with that i make regular visits to my grandmother and that helps me you know she’s just like a peaceful old lady you know a lot different than the grandmother i grew up with now she’s just like you know she’s the one who like you know her husband’s gone my grandpa’s gone she’s lost brothers and sisters in fact now i think she’s the only sibling left and she’s just very at peace and i see her like friends in the in the community like little retirement home community but spending more time with her has made me more comfortable with death and maybe hanging out with the seniors at the y who are just kind of chill about their circumstances i think if society spent more time with old people we’d be more comfortable with death you know and and we could also gain some of that wisdom that like we’re that’s trickling into us and our 40s you know like hanging out with nature and prioritizing what’s our core values are you know maybe we could have gotten that wisdom sooner if we hung out with grandma possibly yeah i wonder if it’s uh uh hiding them away i mean i think there’s a lot of merit to what you’re saying but also maybe our fear of death or fear of loss is also what separates us from people because we don’t want to be near somebody that’s not going to be there and then the more we hide them away the more we fear it so yeah i think there are more resources out now talking about you had talked about this i think it was a book and then i had listened to a podcast that was similar was a guy he was dying i think in his case it was alzheimer’s and he was dying of alzheimer’s and he had his son interview him through this months of time as they did these and and talking about like death and and when he’s gone and it was for them like this really moving and opening experience that they shared with other people and it just reminded me like yeah those are conversations that if we had them i think it would help us be more appreciative of the time and the relationships that are in our life here and now because we won’t always have those you know it’s like taking for granted that you think you’re going to have someone forever but i don’t know that i’m going to have my kids forever and i don’t know that they’re going to have me forever and you know or my spouse and if i just not that i have to live in complete fear of that but if i just keep that sort of in there somewhere like hey maybe there’s some things i could be doing today that i want to put off a conversation a discussion about some emotional issue something that i might want to say that i haven’t taken the moments to say you know if i think about i might not have this person forever that can motivate me to to do some of that stuff and it’s interesting uh the the age group like i kind of expect older adults to pass away like i’m more prepared for that but like last summer i lost a guy that was i think my age 42 43 to a heart attack unexpectedly and like we had had dinner the week before that and i do feel like i would have done something different i don’t know what i don’t know if i would have said something different if i just would have expressed to him that i loved him more if i’d have known right and then you know just recently about a month ago um a guy who have i’ve known for 10 or 12 years and we you know not super close but pretty close and he was always a good guy we played some volleyball together outdoors uh for a couple of seasons a while back and uh in fact you met him we went down for that sunday morning his name was kevin i don’t know if you remember or not but he it was a saturday morning but um he was in a car accident and i was like oh man that’s crazy on like he’s in critical condition he’s stable whatever but then a few days later see it on facebook like well they’re gonna pull the plug because they don’t think he’s gonna get any better and it’s like damn what did i say to him the last time we interacted and did i express you know that i cared about him and i think thinking about death more has can help me to adjust the way i i leave people’s presence right we don’t know like this wasn’t an older guy either this wasn’t somebody i was prepared to lose um you know talking about hey you said the thing about the guy interviewing his father or whatever my father had written he had one of his books like tell your life story or whatever books and he wrote in it and so i still have that and my mom did one of those for my daughter at one point and somebody had just got me one of those um as a gift and so i haven’t started filling it out yet more journaling um but i’m interested in it because i think that’s neat and i actually i actually every so often when i think about it it’s every few months or so i i do a little like three minute video uh on my phone that you know uploads to google cloud or whatever the hell it does uh and i just talk about like what’s going on in our lives and how much i care about my kids and like have a little sort of personalized message for each one of them and i’ve always thought man maybe after i die you know hopefully my wife will still be here and go through and like get rid of all the dick pics and stuff uh first but you know they can just go through and see this timeline of like me leaving them messages and stuff and i don’t know i thought it’d be kind of a need i don’t even know where the idea came from yeah i’ve seen some stuff like that online it’s like i wish i did something like they based like hallmark movies off stuff like that you know i just some kind of legacy you know i don’t want them to feel like the last time we talk is the last thing i said to them because there is more right there’s this hidden stuff that i tucked away it’s like an easter egg treat you know you can find these little messages that i i still have to say from beyond my passing yeah or like even with friends like is it worth having an argument over your [  ] football team or baseball team or the [  ] draft pick or like is that really something that’s worth having an argument about if you’re not going to talk to that person i don’t know did your team just trade away marquis brown like you might be worth art now

yeah but you know what i mean like we can get into these weird you know dumb sort of arguments and this fact of like we need to be right or we need to be justified in some belief or behavior where it’s like yeah it’s you know you enjoy somebody’s party over my party and my feelings are hurt now i’ll never talk again invite me to your house when you know yeah yeah regular contemplation of death would definitely change that action right how important certain interactions are or what kind of quality of interactions i want to have so what do you take away from our death episode i want to continue my relationship with you know grandma and the old people i just feel like you know i want to you know just keep them in my life as much as the young people are i think i think it’s just a good practice to to include them in my life my name my one of my neighbors passed away she was dying from cancer i didn’t know her that well but um somebody told me she really liked chocolate milkshakes um and since she was dying it was like her diet was out the way you know like it was like so i was like i’m getting her one so i ran out to mcdonald’s and i got her chocolate milkshake and i was like hey lynn she’s like oh hi and it was just it was so weird to be with someone who was like on the verge of death i heard you like chocolate milkshakes and it was like i was i was very present i think because of my buddhist practice i was very present and calm but it makes me sad kind of afterwards because what you know saying goodbye to her thinking about well see ya you know like take carolyn like you know i wasn’t going to see her anymore you know right so i do want to keep it close i want to keep death close that’s what i’m taking away from this episode i want to keep take keep death close the way i have and maybe even more so i want to i think i want to like not exclusively but i would really interested in working with people who are nearing death in my work honestly i just i’m fascinated by it and i i think it’s challenging but i i am interested in pursuing it i just think i know it’s i mean i personally believe like it’s okay to be sad around death that doesn’t mean you’re not okay with it if someone passes like it’s [ __ ] sad like you had mentioned i mean that’s a part of a relationship in my life that i’m not gonna have you know some are closer than others some mean more than others you know that relationship and time and what my mom brought into my life you know i’ll never be able to get that back for me personally like just recognizing like it’s okay to be sad about that but then on top of that i can be grateful for the opportunities and the things that i have in my life now and try to not leave things on set or undone or you know hanging out there in the in the wind all right so if this didn’t depress you i don’t know what will uh i didn’t cry yeah go out there and get comfy or at least more familiar with death yours and and others and maybe even just take some time to ponder like what would my life look like differently now if i more realistically knew that you know death is coming because it is all right go out there and live have a good week

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