On Death and Dying

OK it’s a morbid topic and if you don’t want to face it leave now. I on the other hand have no choice but to think about it. I’ve got stuff on my mind and the need to write them down and put them somewhere. Oh and frankly I no patience for euphemisms like “passing away” or what ever. Death is death and dying is dying.

I don’t expect to die any time soon and of course I have never done it before. But I’ve lost too many loved ones not to be aware of it. With my own Dad in poor health I worry that I will see it again all too soon. Hopefully not right away but probably not that far away either.

I am not afraid of death. I’m in no hurry to try it out of course but as a Christian I believe as it is written in Philippians 1:21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” So I spend more time worrying about those I will leave behind than about myself.

There are two basic ways to die – quickly and slowly. Quickly is probably the best way for the person actually dying. I’ve watched a bunch of people go through slow lingering deaths. Trips in and out of hospitals, gradual failing of body and mind, tests and operations and alls sorts of people poking at parts of the body that would otherwise be none of their business. It’s painful emotionally, physically and in any way one can think of. Falling asleep and never waking up seems so much easier. Well for the person who dies. For the people left behind not much fun.

Both quick and slow deaths are hard on people who stay behind but in different ways. I’ve had several friends die quickly (at least from my point of view) in that I either didn’t know they were sick or they had sudden unexpected deaths. That was hard. There was no closure, no saying goodbye and now time to prepare myself for losing them. On the other hand watching someone be sick a long time and in pain is no great joy either. But in some sense there is closure and a time to reconcile differences, say goodbye and adjust to the future without them.

So perhaps there is no good way to die for all involved. I think I want to go quickly though. It may be harder, initially, for those who are left behind but in the long run I think maybe they will be better off not watching me suffer. I’m pretty sure I’d rather not suffer. And as full of watching suffering as I have been in my live I think that can take a toll on people that they may not be aware of. They may think they want to hold on to every second no matter how much their loved one is going through but at some point I think one wants to see their loved one end their suffering.

The term quality of life means more to me every day. The more I look at it life at any cost and in any condition is not always the best way for anyone.

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