As we grow older, death becomes an unwanted but a realistic part of life. But how would you prefer to leave this world?
Death is a beautiful thing. It puts everything into perspective. It gives us reason to lead better lives, to make a difference, to fulfil wishes and to push for more. But it’s also a devastating thing that leaves destruction in its wake and the grief and trauma from it – be it sudden or slow – cannot be expressed in words.
For the most part, however, death is a notion that is pushed to the back of our minds and we live with the knowledge that we are all going to approach it without really making much of it, until we are faced with it.
The irony is that anything and everyone could lead to our demise, and if life doesn’t get us, death will surely find us. And, as someone who has experienced death at first hand, it has never become easier to see or let someone go.
But for argument’s sake, I’ve recently asked myself: what is the best way to go? Is a slow and emotionally and physically painful death better than a sudden and shocking one?
I’ve always wondered what I would do and say should I find out I’m dying. Would I apologise to those whom I’ve wronged? Would I hug my parents for the last time? Kiss my best friend goodbye? Would I write a detailed will leaving things of monetary and sentimental value to specific people? Does knowing that you’re living your final days make things easier or harder?
And what if I died suddenly? Am I ready for it? Do I have my affairs in order or will I leave my family to deal with all that which I have postponed thinking tomorrow would be a brand new day during which I could sort things out?
Death is a myriad of questions that will one day be answered; and with each person who leaves our lives for good, we learn just how short life is. How 20, 30, 50 years fly by in a second and that we should always push to do things before it’s too late.
It’s a difficult concept to fathom; and much harder when you’re faced with it. For anyone who – like me – has lost a parent, a sibling or a friend, their death was as much about them as it turned out to be about me and my life and how difficult it is to keep on going when things are snatched away from you.
In reality, there is very little we can do. People beat cancer and others die from tripping in their shoelaces – and that is the scariest part. The truth is that we are all dying slowly, and a terminal illness that will surely take us is nothing more than an affirmation of what we already know – the difference is that it gives us enough courage, leeway and escape to do that which we would have otherwise not done.
But it’s easy to say that when I feel healthy and when I am assuming that I still have the rest of my life to live. No one currently facing such prospects or their relatives would find something like this easy to digest – and who can blame them? We are human, after all.
But what about you? Would you rather know you were slowly abandoning all that you know or would you prefer leaving suddenly?
How would you answer James’s question? Let us know in the comments’ section below.