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Veteran Advisor

Re: How do do you want to die?

Jim most people look at me and say Im just a young man but I had my first will written when I was 19 before leaving to Afghanistan and a second before I was supposed to leave for Iraq in which I didn't end up going. I learned alot from going to war. I learned to always appreciate everyday like its your last. After a while of being over there you lose hope of going home and except the fact that you will probably die a quick and untimely death at a young age. Its amazing how time itself changes when you live hour by hour not knowing if it will be your last, every minute is precious. Before night missions I would set and watch the sun go down while taking a quick walk if I could just to take in every last minute of that last day.... Now 7 years later I still don't count on tomorrow but thank god to be breathing. If I had a choice of how I would die... I would like to be walking through my crops on a warm evening watching that same sun I did years ago in my own hell on earth but on my own piece of heaven and that being the last thing I see.

 

I will have to admit Jim this was an off the wall topic but not a bad one.. We all need reminded of the inevitable sometimes.

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Re: How do do you want to die?

good call on the scripture...I'm not fond of the whole eulogizing thing that has seemed to grow in nia. by some standards a little 'undignified" for this Lutheran.  The eulogies would fit better at the wake, in my opinion.  Also, hoped that wakes were more of a celebration of "glad we knew him" than a somber affair.  If my estate could afford a pork bbq with some schell's beer would be a nice evening. I hope that my friends are too old to carry me out.

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Re: How do do you want to die?

Weddings got tacky a couple of decades ago, with the vows getting all trashed up by everyone's "individualization" of them.  I've been to nuptials that were more cluttered and confusing than a three-ring circus.  Funerals had to follow. 

People have forgotten that the sect of your choosing - assuming that you accept one - gathers you into the fold in some fashion (as in Christian baptism); seals the deal when you are presumed to have formed some will of your own (confirmation, bar/bat mitzvah, etc.); sanctifies heterosexual union (marriage); and eventually commits your remains to the Earth, and your soul to the other side. 

There are very specific and significant words and phrases in the sacraments that mean what they say, and say what they mean...and these ought NOT to be DIY projects.   It is like writing your own contract, without an attorney to make sure you do so in light of the laws of your state.  As much as they favor one another, I'd far rather arrive in appeals court than in purgatory. 

Of course, my own faith is a personal and direct one, not institutionalized and not typical of anyone in my area or of my upbringing.  I have no one to intervene on my behalf. 

A "wake" ought to be fun.  It is the social side of the situation.  The funeral itself is the spiritual/sectarian one, and should be treated with due reverence. 

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Re: How do do you want to die?

I do not think it is "off the wall" at all, for the very reason you just illustrated so eloquently. 

People tend to put their passing into some way off context.  Soldiers at war, people with terminal diagnoses, women who live in abusive relationships, and so forth, have to confront their mortality closeup and personal.  It is no longer a distant "someday," but a more concrete circle on the calendar, at least a mental one. 

When I taught elementary school, I had a woman I knew as a former neighbor and bus driver at the school, whose daughter was in my third-grade class, call me at home one weekend.   She expressed her wishes for her daughter's future, and it gave me a strange feeling.  I'd never had such a call, and it seemed odd in the context as I knew it at the time...but, her purpose became crystal clear very quickly.  The child's father murdered that mother within a couple of weeks...so, she knew. 

If we know and accept that we are dying - and that starts in some fashion wih the genes that form us at our conception - we then can choose our living more mindfully.  It took me over fifty years to figure this out. 

I sat and felt my heart pounding in my chest yesterday, as we were cooling down from training in Taekwondo.  When you use your breath to slow your heart, as we are taught to do, you realize that you have a lot of control over how you live, which often means you have some direction towards how you will die, or at least how you will deal with it when you do. 

I try really hard now to focus on how someone lived their entire lifetime, rather than on the manner and  moment of their death.   If you make a point of being fully present, aware of yoru existence, then that is the enlightenment humans are meant to achieve. 

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Veteran Contributor

Re: How do do you want to die?

Never much for words jim,but die in my sleep would be my choice. Have thought about it more lately  Lisa had a lump removed yesterday after  a month of mammograms and ultrasound done. Be thursday before we know for sure but sure gives a wakeup call.Seen dad die of stomach cancer ,sure not one way I would like to go.We will all go sometime .

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Senior Contributor

Re: How do do you want to die?

Jim,

Your question was asked exactly on the day a friend died in a farm accident.  Then, on Sunday, another member of our church slumped over in his car while his wife was driving him to seek help for a medical condition.  He did not make it to the hospital.

 

Events like this reminds us of the brevity of life.  One thing is 100% certain; we are not going to live forever in these bodies.  And how we die is not always an option. 

 

What we do while living should be our focus.  I want to be remembered for how I lived and how others benefited from my presence in their lives.  That's not to say I do not want to prepare for the inevitable, I've already made those preparations, but they are not as important as what is happening every day that I have left.

 

The recent tragedy in Arizona underscores the uncertainty we face and the risks that are out there every day.  As if health problems like a poor heart, high blood pressure, cancer, an aneurysm or blood clot aren't enough to motivate us to be prepared, there are external events that could take us out on a moment's notice.  The little girl that died at that shopping center parking lot, born on 9/11/01, had no idea she would not live another day. 

 

My daughter had brain surgery on 9/11/01 and her odds of survival and having normal brain function were 50/50, yet today, she is a walking miracle.  I thought she was going to die that day.  But nearly three thousand people did die on that day in those twin towers.

 

Again, we should live as if today is our last.  I have to remind myself of that, even though it seems life has given me more than enough opportunities to remember it without another reminder like it did last Friday.

 

Having our spiritual affairs in order is equally important, if not more so.  I'm not into starting an ecumenical debate here, so, suffice it to say we need to be prepared for a future that awaits us.

 

 

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Advisor

Re: How do do you want to die?

Frank: Thanks for chipping in on this discussion. I hope you get good news on Thursday. We'll be thinking of you. -- John

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Veteran Advisor

Re: How do do you want to die?

Frank our Kristy and I will pray for your family today. Please let us know the results! Gods blessings today on you and yours.

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Senior Advisor

Re: How do do you want to die?

Nice words. I'm glad you came home safely and I thank you for your service. I hope you get to watch a lot of beautiful sunsets in the future.  Don

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Senior Advisor

Re: I don't need no stinking funeral.

No eulogies, no sermons. Just a passing thought or a hand wave as the hearse goes by. I know whether people love me or respect me by the way they treat me while i am alive. The only possible benefit is that it might provide some comfort to my wife and our kids/grandkids.

 

Preparing for death means getting the financial house in order. Plus loving those you love the most. I need for each one of the kids and grandkids to know that each one of them was my absolute favorite. I think that is the thing we neglect the most in that we do not express to our children how much we really appreciate them. What their presence has meant to us and our lives. Good gracious Nana and papa have a ton of love to share. Number 9 grand kid coming along in February and we already have opened our hearts up to make room. WE are so darn lucky, it is unbeleivable.

 

That is what real wealth is. The money and the real estate are nice but it is family that I will miss the most. That is if I have any thought processes left.

 

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