…what do you want the circumstances to be? I don’t mean HOW do you want to die (while having sex, in your sleep, etc.) but with who, and where. We’ll assume being pain-free is part of the circumstances. I don’t mean to be morbid. Most of us don’t like to think about death–me included–but then, we have a pretty unhealthy habit of pretending it doesn’t exist.
When my mom died last December, I was able to spend her last 24 hours with her, though she was unconscious. She died just the way she wanted: without pain, surrounded by her four children, with us telling stories and even laughing while we stroked and hugged her. But I have to tell you, her death was not pretty. I won’t go into details, but physiologically, some unpleasant things can happen to a body at the point of death. Because the transport team (Mom left her body to science.) got tied up in traffic, there was a two hour wait, and we didn’t want to leave Mom’s body unattended, so there were further changes to her body that were also difficult to watch. (I think the nursing home staff didn’t want to cover her while we were there. I was in some kind of shock, I guess, and didn’t request it.) I am not that squeamish and knew what to expect, but it was still tough. And Mom would have hated having us witness that point-of-death stuff, had she known what specifically was going to happen. I realize this differs with each individual.
So now my ideal circumstances would be to have beautiful music or total silence and to be alone–or possibly with a nurse there who’s comfortable with death and dying. I want my kids to have said good-bye and left. I figure dying is something we each have to do on our own anyway. And I don’t care if I’m at home or in a medical facility.
Anywhere but the ICU at Boston Medical Center. The doctors there should go back to their old jobs, which, judging by the the level of palliative care they gave my wife, was as either prison guard or stockyard worker.
I recently read Cecil’s explanation of what happens during an organ harvest, and I still want to do it–except for my corneas, which are already transplants and can’t be recycled again. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t feel gratitude toward the donors. So organ donation is definitely a good idea.
Citizen, maybe you don’t feel the need to be a hero because you already have a heroic personality.
My father died badly of cancer - very scared, in pain, and with nobody around him (he was in Hungary at the time, his sister and I flew out to be with him but we weren’t with him when he passed) and that, to me, is ineffably sad.
I’ve signed the organ donor thingie on my drivers license, so if I have anything anyone else can use when I’m gone, that’s cool.
My paternal grandmother lived to 97 but the last 8 years were in a nursing home because she had dementia and couldn’t really be safe when left alone. She was actually still physically quite healthy when she died, but shortly prior decided to stop eating. The nursing home wanted to put her on a feeding tube, but my aunt quite sensibly told them she was done and was making a conscious decision…she had not been coherent or happy for several years at that point. So she was given palliative care and went quite peacefully with people who cared for her at her side.
Some people feel the need to stay by the side of a dying loved one. I can appreciate that.
But with both of my parents, their ends came after a very exhausting hospital stay. And with each of them (they died ten years apart), my sister and I had made the decision that enough had been done, and per their wishes, we wanted to let them go.
They were both unconscious, and on support care.
All of our families had an opportunity to visit them, and say our goodbyes, and then we left, went home, and waited for the call.
Neither my sister nor I feel like we abandoned either parent. We insured that their wishes were known, and we told them how much we loved them, and how much we’d miss them. And that it was okay to leave us now.
I guess I’d like my family to have an opportunity to do the same with me.
I want to die in my 90s, still sharp as a tack and spry, AND in some noble heroic way while saving the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, if not THE WORLD, in some quick, painless way that will be talked of for eternity. And when they talk, I want them always to marvel at how good I looked the whole time.
With a incredibly witty quip on my lips that will be a catchphrase for the ages.
But as that is not possible, I’d like to avoid it as long as I can.
I do not want to die in my sleep. That’s pussy, I tell you. Whatever it is I want to see it coming so at least there can be a fight.
I do not want to die while having sex. Death during sex usually involves clutching the chest. I don’t want my wife’s last memory of me coughing, yakking, and screaming while I’m on top of her (or behind her;) and flopping over on-top of her).
I’d rather die of pitch fork wounds from an angry mob in 4274 while they scream “you sonovabitch, nobody has a right to live this long!!!”. :D:p
Alone. I’ve seen somebody very dear to me dying right in front of me, and I hated it more than anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s a terrible helplessness and I don’t want anybody I love to have to be in that position when I go. For my own sake, asleep in the middle of the night would be great.
Just as I’m about to die, I want to be released from a plane directly over the middle of a very large body of water, so that I get the experience of skydiving without having to worry about what will happen after I land. This also avoids messy stuff like caskets and cremation. Just let me sink gracefully to the bottom of the briny deep.
Failing that, I wouldn’t mind spending my last hours in a ball pit.
Since we deal with the important things in life essentially alone, I hadn’t even thought about having people around me. But here’s how I’d like to die:
in a vegetable garden. Snapping melons off the vine and pulling beans. Suddenly being overcome with a need to rest and just laying down right there between the rows, with my cheek pressed against the sun-warmed dirt and smelling that good aroma growing plants give off. That’s it.
I’ll probably die in a car wreck going to get my HIV meds or something. Things don’t seem to turn out the way we think they ought to. lol
Same here - tho to be honest I never considered the energy issue, lol.
In all honesty I foresee a “death by misadventure”. I’m an alcoholic who often winds up with random unexplained bruises and about a week ago I happened to scratch my head to find a huge-ass welt and for some reason thought to check my back - there was a GIGANTIC bruise on my back and also my upper thigh.
Here’s the thing: I obviously fell against SOMETHING (violently!) and I have 100% NO MEMORY of this happening!
I’m tempted to include with my next rent check a note beseeching the landlord to come in and search for my body if I’m ever late with payment.
Offtopic and preachy, I know, but getting blackout drunk on a regular basis is an enormous cause for concern. I’ve only ever blacked out once in my whole life, and it’s the scariest thing ever. I can very clearly remember having had three drinks, then absolutely freaking nothing until I woke up at 6am shivering like mad on a couch with vomit all over myself. After the first time it happened, I’ll never let it happen again. Please be careful.
When I go, or at least when I’m having my last moments of conscious awareness before I depart this mortal coil, I want my (by then) grown son with me, and I want to have outlived my wife so she won’t have to deal with my death. I’d like to have at least a few days of being able to communicate intelligibly once it’s clear that the end is really here this time, so we can talk about the times we’ve shared, and our hopes for the many years he will still have ahead of him, and so I can tell him a bunch more times before I go just how much I love him and how proud I have been to be his father.
And when I die,
and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born
in this world to carry on, carry on.