I want to die now. These words echoed in my head as I was walking out of a hospital on a rainy winter afternoon, where my friend of more than ten years was dying. He was a heavy smoker and a drinker, and claimed to have started smoking at the age of 14. He was now at the final stages of a throat cancer.
He’s been sick for a while, and I haven’t spent as much time with him as I should have. But when he called me that morning, I knew I had to visit him. He changed so much during his battle with cancer. He changed both, on the outside, and inside.
When he was first diagnosed with cancer, he went through all of the usual stages of grief; shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and now finally, acceptance. He was just in his forties and he gave it a good fight. I had much compassion for him.
After the illness and the treatment left him but a shell of the man he used to be physically, he went through a psychological transformation. It seemed more like an evolution. He embraced the inevitable. He embraced that reality which often remains unspoken until the very end.
That day, he told me that he was ready to die. He said that he was at peace with death and he wasn’t afraid anymore. I thought that he was just very tired of living. But he said, he loved life even then. He said it’s just that now, he understood the cycles of life and death.
When he told me this, I felt that a part of me was going to die with him. The part that was holding on to him, holding him back. The part that refused to accept what was about to happen. I looked at him. He actually looked at peace now, in his final phase of life.
How to Deal With Death
I still remember him saying “I want to die”. As shocking as this statement sounds on the surface, it is a viable statement that is full of self reflection. Death, is a valuable companion. It’s a constant reminder to us that life is a precious gift. It is also there as the final resolution to our illness and suffering. For some even a relief, something to look forward to.
Regardless of our age and health, death can occur at any moment. We can therefore live in denial, or learn to embrace this inevitability. So instead of looking at this as something tragic, why not embrace it as a part of life? A part of the never ending cycle of change. Instead of labeling it as something good or bad, why not simply accept it as a part of the human experience.
Are You Ready to Die?
Ask yourself, if you are ready to die right now. If you have a reason to answer “Yes”, then you are at peace with your life. If however, your answer is a “No”, then ask yourself why you are not ready. Are you not ready because you’re not living your life to its fullest? Are you not offering yourself completely to others? Do you live with regrets that are weighing you down?
These are important questions and answers. They’re important, because you could die at any point. In order for you to be ready to die, you must come to peace with your own death, and the death of those around you. You should come to a point, when you feel there is no longer a need to run away from the inevitable.
Don’t get me wrong, no-one has accomplished everything there is to accomplish. No-one has experienced all there is to experience. I certainly haven’t. But, I’m prepared to die now. I don’t look at death as a tragedy, fear it, or try to escape it.
I’m not perfect, but I don’t have any major regrets about how I lived this life. How I treated other people, what I said, or done. In my heart I know that most of my actions were honorable. That I tried to always be true to myself, and to the Creator. And now in this state, I can truly embrace all that this life has to offer.
That rainy afternoon, made me think deeply about life and death, and everything in between. I learned that death is not a tragedy. I learned that it’s not necessary to resist death and live a fear based existence. I realized how our thoughts affect our experiences here in this life, and perhaps far beyond. Rest in peace my friend.
Live well. Vlad