i want to die

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.

In Conclusion

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

4 Responses to i want to die

  1. Matt March 15, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    Vlad,

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and powerful story.

    I’d never given this much thought until last week. My wife and I went to an ultrasound to see how our fist baby was coming along. During this visit we found out that we’re going to have a little girl.

    On top of that we got to see 3D images of our baby girl’s face. When I saw her a lot changed for me. One thing in particular is that I realized that there was so much I wanted to show and share with her. And since we don’t always know when our time will come I felt an amazing desire to start recording everything I want her to know, just in case.

    All of the sudden I feel like I have so much more to live for and do. This is perhaps a bit different from your experience but I think its related in a way. Right now I feel that I have a lot of work to do to be “ready”.

    -Matt

    • Vlad March 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

      Hi Matt,
      Congratulations with the addition to your family! I remember when my son was born, it was truly a magical time. It was like, wow how could I have had something to do with the creation of this new life? It really opened up my eyes!

      Don’t stress very much over being “ready”. Because honestly, no matter how well we think we’re prepared, there are always going to be surprises! Just let yourself enjoy this time!

      Take care! Vlad

  2. Noch Noch | be me. be natural. March 17, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    wow. sometimes i think, i want to die. but i’m not ready to die yet. but i want to die, coz i’m so tired
    but yeh, i’m not ready. good reminder to think to myself when i get to that brink
    Noch Noch

    • Vlad March 18, 2012 at 1:11 am #

      Hi Noch,
      Yeah, this post is a reflection on how I felt about my fired, and it made me want to expand on the subject. I support life as long as possible, of course at some point for all of us it does come to an end…

      Just something to accept, and make the most out of it while we are here. And I think you’re doing just that!

      Take care, Vlad