Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Die Suddenly Or By Inches
On Facebook I asked the question “Do you think it is better to die suddenly or by inches over a period of time?” At the time I was very ill from my treatments. At the time I believed wholeheartedly that it was better to die suddenly.
I think it was during this time that I fantasized that someone would come in the house, creep up the stairs to my room, slowly turn the door handle, check to make sure I was still sleeping, warm the barrel of the gun to make sure it was the temperature of my head, and ever so quietly step to my side of the bed and stick the gun to my temple and blow my brains out. All nice and tidy, lickety split, over and done with (of course except for the cleanup and the pain my family would suffer).
Some of the answers I received:
If you are suffering and you just can’t go on another minute then I would want to die immediately but if you can live another day I would take each day that I could on, with the hope that things can get better.
Suddenly, it’s done and over with and nobody has to suffer.
Oh, that is a hard one! If you die suddenly, you don’t suffer through too much pain, it is over with before you realize, but, if you know you are going to die, I would think one would appreciate each living day more and more and make the most of it.
Well no idea, but I want to die from old age.
If you know that you have a time line and can live somewhat comfortably, I would rather take all that I could get. Even that can be hard on a family when you know what the outcome is going to be. For myself, I think that I would rather go suddenly.
Life is precious, over time or suddenly, in the end it is always too sudden. I would want the fight to be fought until you can’t fight any longer. I believe in the life after, see you in the days beyond the days….so out of our control.
This is a tough one to answer. If I could handle the pain then I would want to die slowly, that way I could spend time with my friends and family, and all the people I love most. It would make the pain worth it.
Suddenly, I was with my Dad as he died by inches.
I would want to go suddenly. No pain and right after I borrowed a couple of thousand from Renee.
Myself I would like to die in my sleep so I guess I would rather go right away….but I’m not going until the good lord calls me.
Life is a precious gift and you only get to do it once. I would take all the inches I could get.
Inches over a period of time. Don’t the majority of us get that chance? I mean, unless there is a sudden death, we are all dying inches over a period of time from when we are born.
The answer that gives me pause and makes me think is the one from Angelique “Inches over a period of time. Don’t the majority of us get that chance? I mean, unless there is a sudden death, we are all dying inches over a period of time from when we are born.”
There is just no good answer to this question, because death is so final and so painful for the people left behind. Whether we die slowly and drag them with us or we die suddenly and leave them behind.
I absolutely get that people would want the time to get their house in order and to make peace with their God. I more than understand how important it would be for your loved ones and for yourself to be at peace with each other. But of course not having been there or experienced that but knowing that I am going to die sooner than later I want my family to know that even if I fought with you two minutes before I died, I absolutely love you and the bad feelings that went before would be wiped away.
I begin to suspect as I am writing this that I asked the wrong question. What I really meant was “Do you think it is better to die suddenly or in physical distress (nausea, not being able to go to the bathroom, having your family take care of you like an infant) and in excruciating pain by inches over a period of time?”
I feel that most people would agree that sudden death is far more welcome than a slow, incapacitating and painful death. I guess that is a no-brainer. I know that I don’t want my family and especially my husband and children to have to watch me linger near death in intractable pain. I would not wish that on anyone. Wondering everyday “Is she dead yet?” Feeling guilty for such a thought.
I can tell you that seeing someone you care about wasting away in pain and anguish, with nothing you can do about it, is heart wrenchingly awful. It is awful for the care giver and doubtless ten times worse for the sufferer. With cancer it is not just at the end that you suffer like this either, but it is all the way through. I am not even touching on the emotional suffering in this blog. That is another situation entirely.
The thing with cancer is the agony it forces the family to endure. It changes them forever. They are not the people they were before. Sudden death may be a selfish wish but the alternative is unthinkable.
Jacquie answered that “If you are suffering and you just can’t go on another minute then I would want to die immediately but if you can live another day I would take each day that I could on, with the hope that things can get better.” At the moment this is what applies to me the best.
If my fantasy about being shot which I had desired so intensely at times in the past had come true I would never have known the happiness of seeing Nathan graduate, Nadalene get married, and Angelique become a Mom to my sweet girl Josephine.
So although I believe that there are much better things about dying suddenly to lingering in agonizing pain I also realize that there are negatives to this way of dying too.
Either way the loss is the same to both families. The one they love is no longer there. The heartbreak they feel will never go away. The hole in their heart will never be filled.
Because I will most likely die of cancer, it is not an irrational assumption that when I die I will be escorted on both sides of the veil between Heaven and Earth by the people I love the most in this world.
In the end, however, when I die whether suddenly or in prolonged death, it will be me and me alone that will be making that step across the veil from life to death. And me and me alone that will be making that step across the veil from death to life.