(Photo by Bruno Martins)
I’m turning 90 and I’m truly and earnestly terrified to die.
I’m not ready.
I don’t want to die.
The things my patients say they’ll miss the most are NOT seeing the World Landmarks, buying fancy things, that new car, “living it up” party style, etc.
Here is an actual compiled list:
(Photo by Christopher Campbell)
1. Disgustingly: that I didn’t care if those around me were killed just as long as I got out alive. The knowledge of that being my thought process at the time has haunted me my entire life.
1. I had been very depressed for a while and decided it was time to go. I downed a shit ton of pills and washed them down with a ton of rum. While “dead” I was in a completely dark area all alone.
How did you die the first time?
Well long story short, construction workers forgot to put warning signs on the freeway, I came on my bike at 90km/h in a turn and saw the obstruction. I had nowhere to turn so I hit the brakes and bam. Immediately after the accident my body shut down from the pain and physical damages on my body. No pulse, no breathing and no consciousness.
I was in agonizing pain after surgery so I received loads of pain killers. The pain, coupled with an immense amount of pain killers, caused my pulse to drop to around 10bpm and my respiratory system shut down.
I am in my 80s. To be this age is largely luck. To be this age and reasonably healthy with peace of mind is even luckier. To be this age, be healthy, and not lonely makes one feel so lucky that you want to gulp the moments down like a drowning man reaching air. I have been in five car crashes without being hurt (none were my fault). During the war as a child, I experienced several bombs falling within close range and where people within yards of myself were killed or injured. Numerous other such incidents sometimes gives one a sense of invulnerability, and other times that the next incident won’t be so lucky.
My 18-year-old daughter died in a car accident on her way to school a few weeks ago. I’m going to try to convey what it’s like.
Police officer shows up at the door: This will haunt me for the rest of my life. My fiancee and I were sleeping, as we work 3rd shift. The beating on the door was loud… I’m not sure how long he was there before it woke me up. It did not wake my fiance up. I looked out the window and saw an unmarked SUV but I could tell it was the police. I answered the door and he said my name. I answered “yes”. He said my daughter’s name and I said “yes”. He said that she was in an accident (I knew what was coming next) and that she had expired. I went to my knees and made noises I’ve never heard myself make before. He got me inside to the couch and asked if anyone else was there. I told him my fiance’s name as I was crying uncontrollably. He yelled her name a number of times and she came out. He started talking to her and she started yelling “Oh my God” and came to hold me. She and my daughter were very close.
About 6 years ago my friend and I were on our way to pick up another friend from work at around 10pm. He was the driver and I was the passenger. We approach the intersection of my friends work traveling about 55mph (88kph) and as we’re entering the intersection a girl on her phone ran the red light at about 70mph (113kph) and we T-boned her. My seatbelt ripped the buckle from its housing and I went through the windshield.
Soon I will be gone forever, but that’s okay as long as someone reads this. I am only 24 years old, yet I have actually already chosen my last tie. It’s the one that I will wear on my funeral a few months from now. It may not match my suit, but I think it’s perfect for the occasion.
The cancer diagnosis came too late to give me at least a tenuous hope for a long life, but I realized that the most important thing about death is to ensure that you leave this world a little better than it was before you existed with your contributions . The way I’ve lived my life so far, my existence or more precisely the loss of it, will not matter because I have lived without doing anything impactful.