Sunday, January 20, 2013

Living Well, Dying Well

What is a good death? It is what we all hope for I think: painless, easy, quick. We want that for ourselves, and we should certainly want that for those we love. To suffer to death is to deny the goodness and happiness of life, of living. Painless, easy, quick: it is what I would want, should I have a choice.

Sometimes those left behind decry not having the opportunity to say goodbye, but then again, neither did the one who left. But to wish that another person had lingered, had given advance  notice of what was about to happen, seems to me very selfish. It is the very opposite of living well and dying well.

There are no certainties in life except death. We all know that surely at some time we will cease to be; no more a physical presence in another’s life. For most of us that remains an unknown until the moment it happens. The only way we can prepare is to live as if that moment is in front of us now. Because, of course, it is. You cannot know the future, you cannot prepare for that final moment except by admitting that it is to come, and live accordingly. I think the most important thing one person can say to another is “I love you.” Say it truthfully and often.

The survivor has lost only one. The one who dies loses all.

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