I was watching Six Feet Under on HBO over the weekend and one of the premises of the show was that an elderly man had driven himself to the funeral home and then somehow “willed” himself to die.
It didn’t look as if he had taken anything to hasten death, or had rigged the car to fill up with exhaust, he just decided to die right there and then. In the story I think he was supposed to be 80 years old.
I know this is pure fiction, but is there any recorded account of an otherwise healthy person saying I’m going to die now and then just die for no apparent reason? Can someone know they are going to die in say the next half hour?
I don’t think this has ever happened, without someone actually committing suicide, but I really don’t know.
Jainism reportedly has a series of ascetic practices that allows very spiritually advanced practioners to hasten their own deaths, but it does involve taking action beyond simply willing it, like fasting.
I know a number of terminally ill patients who made up their minds to “let go” and then died within a few hours or days, but they were in bad shape to start with. I don’t know of an otherwise healthy person who could wish it and then die almost immediately.
I suppose I could accept the premise that someone had a premonition they would die, and then had a heart attack or pulmonary embolism, but that isn’t the same as willing it.
Viktor Frankl wrote something similar in Man’s Search for Meaning about his fellow Auschwitz inmantes; sometimes you could tell when a man had decided to die by the fact that they simply lied down and smoked any cigarettes that they had hoarded. These people could generally be predicted to die very soon. I’ve heard similar stories of people entering nursing homes whose health and mental functioning would rapidly deteriorate for no one discernable reason other than the fact that they were placed in a nursing home. Maybe people don’t will themselves to die so much as some people in a distressed state decide they will no longer will themselves to live.
My mother (bless her heart) always talked about how sick she was.
One day she did get sick (stroke) and it was downhill from there.
Did her mental condition cause the stroke? Probably not, but her lack of recovery might be linked to her attitude
My mother and father-in-law were a devoted couple for many years. He died in Sept 1995 after a long illness. At this time she was in good health, but she was never the same … eight months later she went rapidly downhill and died within three weeks from kidney failure.
We’ve always said she willed herself to die and be with him again.
For a few years in high school I worked at a nursing home. Occasionally we would get married couples being admitted together. Of course these were elderly people who were either ill enough or not cognizant enough to live alone anymore. Almost every time when one spouse died, it was usually a matter of weeks, if not less, when the other would pass on. Until then I never believed it was possible to die of a broken heart.
My grandmother developed pancreatic cancer and during her illness my grandfather, who was previously healthy, suffered from senility rather suddenly. After a waiting period, he went to a nursing home. Two weeks after entering the facility he died. My grandmother, hospitalized at the time, was not told of her husband’s death.
In her stage show/movie “God Said ‘Ha’”, Julia Sweeney tells that her brother with very advanced cancer got so far along that the family finally wished he would die for his own sake. His 30-year old (or whatever) heart and lungs just kept going, though.
A counselor went in and told him to imagine jumping on a trampoline, and then just jumping off to one side and letting go of the process.
My stepfather’s father was sent to a nursing home because he was having balance problems and couldn’t take care of himself too well. He did fine for a few weeks and his mental facilities were perfectly fine. His wife continued to live at home. One day, she decided that she wanted to move into the nursing home too and get taken care of. She moved in to the same room. My stepfather got a call from his father that night and was told that it was terrible having his mother in the same room because she wouldn’t shut up and kept nagging him. He said that he couldn’t take it. The next morning, they found him dead in his bed.
As did I. “‘Funeral home’ death car ‘obscurestore’” turned up nothing relevant … but I am pretty sure this was a real news item a year or two back; an old man drove himself to the funeral home and died just as he pulled into the parking lot. Surely it ws discussed here … anybody??
Stories of spouses who died within months, weeks, or days of their loved ones’ death are quite common, I think. But driving oneself, on one’s last breath, to the morturary – that’s unusual.
I know this thread is old, but Masonic and dolphinboy you just need to improve your googling skills - (or, come to think of it, perhaps Google has improved its googling skills since the time of this post). I googled masonites words «old man drove himself to the funeral home and died» and found this: http://tinyurl.com/kvdo7vs. Quite a story actually.