The Picturing Death Project Journal Entries from 1999-2003

The simple but effective structure for the Picturing Death Project, a cast glass table, four chairs, and journals, provide a structure for journal writing with 4 questions that help participants examine how we will choose to live with the knowledge that death is inevitable. Currently, the project table, chairs and journals reside at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan in Kalamazoo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Journal Entry 638

(Mostly, I try not to think about it.)

My religion & faith tell me I must die to move into eternal life w/ God. I wonder if that happens right away or am I going to be in some state of suspended animation until the end of the world & then all the dead "wake up" in heaven. And, do we know we are waiting or are we totally unaware of how long in earthly time we were 'asleep'?


Very fortunate that all my immediate family, including parents in their mid-80's are still alive and well. When relatives died, it was sad, but since we saw them only briefly on trips to NYC once a year or so, it didn't have a major impact. It was like they were still there & we just hadn't been to visit for a long time.

Several friends have died. The closest friend died 18 years ago this month. It was difficult from many perspective. I was devastated but no one really knew how impt he was to me, so it was difficult to find support. And there wasn't a funeral, so I never saw him dead, buried or even his ashes. He died in an accident, near his house in another state. His family cremated him & spread his ashes quietly in the Grand Canyon. I have been there several times & tried to feel some closure knowing his ashes are nearby.

My soon-to-be-brother-in-law died three years after my friend on the same weekend in April, also in a car accident at the same time of day. For years I was spooked by the idea of any loved ones driving anywhere on that weekend.


-Not enough

-Bury my head in sand

-way too much denial

-Try to change my thoughts to something less scary for fear that thinking about it will cause it to happen.

-Get depressed reeling how much time I have wasted in my life & how much more I want to be able to do

-Hoping this exercise in focusing on my mortality will help me "get moving" to do the things I think about but lack the motivation to accomplish



-That I die gently, without suffering.

-That I am surrounded by loved ones when I die.

-That I can let go, believing that I am going on to something wonderful

-That I feel a sense of accomplishment & can acknowledge that it is time to move on


-That I'll be alone when I die.

-That I won't have done "enough" to feel my life had purpose

-That God will ask me why I hadn't properly used the gifts he gave me

-That I will suffer & won't be able to "rise above it"

-That I will feel like I let people (loved ones) down, by not taking better care of myself

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