Amazing…LENIN (Vladimir…not John!) tastes just as good today as the day he died 88 years ago)

Woody Allen probably speaks for most of us when he says,

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.”

What I Would Like to Die From


Isn’t it a profoundly sad statement – you know – that we’re all going to die? Isn’t it? I still have some denial issues to sort out on this whole matter. What, ME die?  I only know for sure that YOU are going to die!

From the day that we become cognizant of who we are and what we are, the certainty of knowing that death awaits is firmly implanted in our minds. Strangely, there are few things that we can be so certain of in this world…I know -you’re right- DEATH and TAXES!

We don’t know if we’ll be hit by an unpredicted asteroid some day. We don’t know if we’ll marry Lady Gaga or Steven Tyler (YUK on both counts). Unknown is the number of X-Box addicted children that will be born to us; the means by which we’ll earn our meagre living is a mystery. DEATH we know.

Yet, despite knowing this, we try to fool and delude ourselves that we might somehow avoid the last nasty!

EVERY single living human on this earth, both now and in the past, has known that one day in the future, near or far, they will draw their last breath and become “living-challenged”. There are no exceptions; no amount of money, no fame or glory, no success makes it avoidable. No child has been born into the world whose parents have lived on and on forever. Of course, always an optimist, I’m still researching a way around it for me!

And so, for most of us- religious or not- death is something to be feared and sidestepped at all costs. Humans have an instinct for survival whether they believe in an afterlife or a finality of all at death. We search for a movie with happy endings, but life’s cinema always concludes with the credits, “THE END”.


(This will be my tombstone…)

We use genteel euphemisms to make it sound more pleasant and agreeable, almost delightful:

  • Passed away
  • Departed
  • Asleep
  • With God
  • Eternal rest
  • Into the good night
  • Resting in Peace

I’m not fooled – dead is dead. So now, as I age and begin in some small way to accept the inevitable, I want to at least have some control and decision-making power in how my end comes to begin.  No surprises, no great dramas please.

Many people I speak with say that they want the end to come suddenly and unannounced. To drop dead of a heart attack or stroke that fells them in an instant would be great. No wrenching pain. No fearful dread. No drawn-out anticipating, just short and sweet and done with, like a Tim Bit (sorry, for non-Canadians, this is like a donut hole!). Flopping dead on the street is a great way to wind it up, or so some believe.

My mother collapsed onto the hard, cool, asphalt driveway of our house on a lovely spring evening when I was 15, her heart and breathing stopping suddenly. I watched helplessly, panic-stricken, as she drew her last breath. No goodbye or words were exchanged to end our connection. It was TOO sudden. It wasn’t fair. In 5 minutes, my young life was colossally changed (and sadly, her’s ended). Sorry, this is not for me. I want some closure and this isn’t the way to do it.

The polar opposite of this sudden, unexpected death scenario I suppose is the horror and anxiety that comes with a long, drawn out and painful cancer or ALS-like demise. Being terminally ill (or sick at all) is frightening and wretched. I don’t think I’ve heard any person suggest that this would be the way that they want to spend their final days. Many many have experienced this play out with a friend or relative, and the encounter with this grim reaper rarely seems like a positive way to say goodbye. The pain and torture also cuts into the bedside survivors like a knife blade.

Death shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it doesn’t need months or years to finish up. After all, it’s not the Stanley Cup playoffs (NOTE: Sorry again non-Canadians! I’ve got to get away from ice hockey references…please suggest some cricket or football references that I can use.) I’m seeking a happy death medium.

So, for me at least, the end should be relatively brief but not a complete surprise. I want to have a chance to know the life I’ve lived is finishing.


I want to say goodbye.

I want to reflect on what life has meant.

I want those around me to have an opportunity to share their dreams and feelings before I go.

Very few of us can bring ourselves to say the things we truly feel about our loved ones without some threat of their departure from our lives. Kind of like divorce, I understand!

We’ve all had experiences with death – some likely positive and life-affirming, and others that were nightmarish horror stories. It will come for you and for me, one day, near or distant.

So, if you had the power to choose, How Would YOU Like To Die?

The last word here goes to the great philosopher Woody Allen,

I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”