‘Death at any age is a very cruel experience’, I’ve heard Uncle Dhinakaran say in one of his early recordings, long before he lost Angel to a tragic accident. All of us know with certainty that we are going to die, but how many of us are prepared to die? Have you heard of seminars centered on the topic of dying? I, for one, haven’t encountered any. On the other hand, I’ve been bombarded with insurance agents who want me to put aside money for retirement at a rate of inflation that is intended to frighten me sleepless.

 I’ve often contemplated the notion of mortality and jestingly told my children that they should celebrate when I finally go home. Does that strike you as morbid? Well, it’s true, isn’t it? If I am destined for a realm devoid of suffering and pain, shouldn’t everyone rejoice? While the parting is painful, could a substantial portion of the pain be attributed to our total lack of preparation?

 Speaking of lack of preparation, most of us are not even prepared to grow old—at least not yet. Why does one want to stay youthful and look young? Hasn’t experience taught us many things? Haven’t we gained wisdom? Haven’t we made treasured friends over the years? That should want us to usher in our silver and golden years with joy, cherish the relationships we have built, and age gracefully. This doesn’t imply that we should throttle down the engine and coast in neutral, but rather relish each day as it comes and be prepared to depart anytime.

 Preparing to die need not be that difficult. With a modicum of foresight, drafting wills, designating beneficiaries for accounts, and providing instructions to our loved ones, can allay concerns about the inevitable. Spending a few hours every year adding on details will help fine-tune our thoughts.

 Most of all, we need to finish well. Running a race is all well and good at the start, but finishing is pivotal. Let’s not save flowers for funerals; instead, let’s send them now. Let’s plan our epitaph and pursue our goals so that we can finish our race without regrets. Could it be that by planning to die, we somehow plan to live? Wouldn’t it be awful if, at the end of the road, someone chose an epitaph for us that reads : ‘Age 103—the good die young’?


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