Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Destiny?

Deb: I’ve been thinking about death lately and, in doing so, have been thinking about life. Ultimately when you lose someone in an untimely fashion, it raises the question of the randomness of the universe and, as such, the randomness of our lives. By that, I don’t mean to say that our lives themselves are random. Most of us have rich lives filled with purpose and plans, dreams and determination to succeed.

It’s just that after our friend Paul died I couldn’t help but think about fate. Destiny.  Was his death pre-ordained? Was that the day he was supposed to leave this life? Or was his death random? Was it literally an accident and all that “accident” implies? I couldn’t help delving into this concept in my mind and in conversation with my husband this week.

Paul had asked us if we would come up to his town, which is two hours away from our home to do an improv show with him. We had done the show before and had a wonderful time. He called it ImPros Versus Joes and it lovingly pitted professional improvisers against willing and talented student improvisers. The thing is, he asked us to come up the week before Christmas. Much to our regret now, we did not go. My Mum had been in the hospital for eight weeks, only getting out a few weeks before Christmas. That left us with very little time to get Christmas together and we simply had to beg off, saying we would come through the winter or in the spring. Of course that is now an opportunity lost forever and there is nothing we can do to change that. That isn’t the heart of this post, but I was just using it as an illustration for my ponderings around this concept. Colin and I got into an interesting discussion about this the other day and I will tell you before I go any farther that neither of us settled on an answer. Not that there is an answer for this. But neither of us settled on our answer, our definitive thoughts. As such, I want to include you in the discussion. 

I got to thinking, What if we had gone and done the show that day? What if, in doing so, we had a fun laugh-filled dinner with Paul and Linda, which led to writing a show for the four us, which led to the four of us working over the Victoria Day weekend when Paul died, far away from the scene of his accident. So. Would he have died anyway? Would something else have happened because it had to, because it needed to, because it was his time?

I don’t mean to indicate that our presence might have saved his life. What I am trying to put forth is the concept of the universe shifting. Our going that day would have shifted it. A little or a lot, but it would have shifted it. Or in the real case scenario that day, Paul’s turning the car around at the end of his driveway to go back for the cell phone he forgot would have shifted it. It would have shifted it by seconds or minutes, but would it have changed the outcome?

Is death random? Is our life pre-ordained? Is it all mapped out for us? Or do accidents happen? People talk about going toward the light and then turning back, only to wake up after surgery to find that their heart stopped for x number of minutes. The prevailing thought is “it was not their time.” Do you believe that? I had a full day of chores today and in the middle of them ran into my friend Ed whom I adore. I called his name out on the busy street three times. He heard me on the third shout and we stopped and chatted for a half hour. The conversation quickly turned to our friend Paul and this very subject of the randomness (or not) of the universe. Ed said to me, “That is so odd that you called and called to me because when I was a block away from you I thought I heard a man calling me and I looked around and no one was there.” Then he said, “I am so glad you kept calling me because I thought it was just my imagination again.” So I asked him, “Do you think that our personal universe just shifted, yours and mine?” We both agreed that it probably had. But to what degree? I wondered as I drove home about just how much it had shifted. Was it simply two friends who were destined to meet up? Would something awful/wonderful/silly/ exciting have happened to one of us if we had not met each other and lingered over a chat? Did one of us save the other from being hit by a car or from falling glass from a building? Or were we both invincible no matter what transpired as it was just not our day to die?

Death brings thoughts of death. So I pose this question to you? Would you like to know when you are going to die? Or would you rather it be random? Would you rather the kind of randomness the universe seems to scream when you lose someone suddenly? For my part, I choose random. Do I seize the day every day as I would if I knew exactly when I was going to die? No, not all of it. But I try to, and the ignorance around my demise is part of what makes life bliss for me.

Barbara: Well, then is it fate/destiny that you wrote this post at a moment when I have joined dearest friends at a wake and funeral of a beloved who died—from an illness—but suddenly and unexpectedly? And that you started this post before you knew I’d be going to this funeral? And that I have been pondering this very thing? Why have I been pondering it today? Because this beloved died at what can only be described as a “serendipitous” time for her beloved family. Not that there is anything “good” or “fine” about this death—it is sad, difficult, shocking and will in many ways be life-shifting for some of the family in terms of the future. But there are many amazing things about the timing—for instance, her brother and sister, both of whom live hours away, “happened” to be in town; and a niece is off to Africa in a week for an opportunity of a lifetime and will be gone for two years—at least this young woman had a chance to say goodbye. And these are just two of many strangely synchronistic alignments. How could I not ask the question you are asking? Like you, I don’t have an answer.

I do mostly feel like we have a predestined time-line. It doesn’t feel logical to believe that, but I do. Usually. And if I believe that, then to answer your next question: would I want to know my end-time? Absolutely not!!! I am definitive about that.

I want to thank you, Deb, for bringing up this subject. It is a tricky one, but it’s one I think most of us contemplate in our own ways at some point.

111 comments:

  1. I've actually been asked this question many times before. And for a while, I thought yeah. I want to know when I die. That way it will give me a chance to reconcile with those who I have lost and make a lasting impression before I leave this Earth.

    Well...I've grown up a lot since then, and now my answer has changed. I don't want to know when i will die. And as for lasting impressions, my hope is that I have lived my life in a way that has left that on some people. My hope is that when I die I changed somebody's life. For the better. And now, I try to live my life as if every day was something new. It's an interesting concept, but it works.

    It's coming up to the 7 year mark of my friend Brian's death (25th of July). I often sometimes think he was taken off this earth too soon. He would be 25 on his next birthday (he's the same age as my older brother). But instead at 17 God called His child home. At least that's what I believe. When that day comes Holly and I will share his story on our blog. About how he changed our lives. :]

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    1. You are right Kelly, he was taken too soon. I hope the years that have followed have been healing for you and Holly. We will look forward to reading how Brian changed your lives.

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  2. I would not want to know the time of my death. Like you, Deb, I have given death a great deal of thought lately because in the last year, I have lost 3 people who are really close to me. What it has done, is make each day an important difference to me. I find I don't take things for granted anymore, and appreciate so many more things than I did before. In some ways, I am more patient now. I watch my family around me and am grateful for them and the time we spend together.

    That is a very interesting conversation you and Colin had about Paul and shifts in the universe. I don't think we will ever have the real answer. in the meantime, we are blessed with life and the lessons death teaches us.

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    1. Yes Jo, we are very blessed with life and the lessons death teaches us. As we get older we realize that there will be very few, if any, years without death in them. So we must embrace the life lived between the deaths.

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  3. Deb. Its really fascinating that you chose this topic today. Believe it or not I was pondering the EXACT subject.. about Paul...in those EXACT WORDS...and I also had a premonition that we- you and I, would have a convo about this.

    I believe there are no accidents. There is nothing controlling us. We create our lives and we call all the shots! Nothing random is going on here. We think its random coz we create by default. Every single thing happening in your world has a very precise meaning, and was attracted by you. Its hard to believe when it comes to someone's death coz why would anyone attract that? But its always our choice. So if you and Colin had been there it wouldve changed the course of events and yes Paul would be with us now. Or if he had an impulse to go get his cellphone he would be with us. It wasnt his time. there isnt a fixed time for anyone. Its all tangible. That time he cocreated that accident without meaning to. But every time you reach the point where you are in the middle of death and Life, the time when supposedly you see that tunnel and light, or your life flashing in front of your eyes, is the time you are given a choice. When you decide whether to go or return.and Most of the time when we are choosing life or death, we choose death because it feels easier to be in pure positive energy, or if we dont have a hot writhing desire within us.And when we decide to come back, thats what we call willpower thats why people come back from deadly accidents or diseases and everyone calls it a miracle.

    I believe Death is just reemergence into non-physical. Its not something big and bad. Its just releasing your soul into pure positive energy. and I intend to keep believing it. I do not fear death anymore. We are all eternal. We are always here. In physical or non-physical.
    All of this might wont make sense coz its pretty deep Law of attraction stuff. But I dont think death is a big deal. Losing a person physically is. But death by itself isn't. I wouldnt mind it even if died tomorrow, but the people close to me would. Fascinating isn't it ?

    You dont want to know when you die coz you cant. Your life is changing every single moment. Every time a new thought enters your mind, the universe remolds your future. Everytime you desire something strongly... Life changes
    So I dont, actually cant know when I die... Because I get to decide when I die. And I'll know it when I want it!

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    1. Shalaka I had nothing in mind when I asked the question. I wanted people's honest thoughts. Sometimes I forget how old you are!!! Your response today was not that of a girl your age but of an old soul. These are some of the thoughts that were ruminating through my head. I loved your answer. I am thinking about it. The idea that we willingly or unwillingly draw things to us. That I have felt before and I can see that we do that in our lives. Just as they say that we teach people how to treat us. Thanks for your insights. A banquet for thought.

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    2. Aww I get that a lot! Sometimes I talk like that ya know... honestly its surprises me too sometimes!!!

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  4. I'm sorry If this is not what you wanted to hear. That is just how I feel!

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    1. And I loved hearing those feelings. Amazing take on things.

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    2. Awwwh Bless your heart for being so sweet and open minded! I often have a hard time explaining this to people.

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  5. Well said Shalaka. I'd like to add that I believe when death/transition occurs it is because that particular life is complete. Whether it is a wee baby only minutes old, a grandparent or a beloved friend that leaves us so suddenly and tragically. The void that is left behind leaves so many questions - the why's and what ifs are seemingly endless. But I have found comfort in understanding that while the timing and reasoning make no sense to those of us left in the wake (I truly struggled with Paul's passing) there is a peacefulness in the acceptance that the journey was complete in that particular experience, this time round. Doesn't answer all the questions but it does bring some peace.

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    1. Tannis I love this idea too. The idea that the life in question was complete. It certainly helps explain the innocent deaths gone too soon. It's tough to get our heads around isn't it? It's hard because we can't separate from the pain we feel. But as time goes on, these are great thoughts and ideas to weave into the fabric of our beings. Thanks Tannis.

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    2. Thanks Tannis. Its true. And what is death anyway, every night when you sleep, technically you kinda die.....coz you drift into that peacefulness and when you arise every morning it takes you a while to actually come back in the body. Thats why we feel lazy and heavy and peaceful in the mornings. Death is nothing more than the peaceful drifting away into slumber !! only difference its much more peaceful because that time you are sleeping for the last time and leaving every negative thought behind. So that indeed is a glorious experience. And believe it or not I look forward to it!

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  6. All of these comments will ruminate and sustain me today as I go to this funeral. Shalaka, I should have known that's what you would write -- and yet it always surprises me! I truly love this take. love and xoxo to all of you

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    1. Aww you of all people know the DEPTH of this topic! You been sucha great listener..lol ...READER... for so long!!!!

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  7. We are thinking of you today Barb. All of us. xo

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    1. Barb, our hearts are with you......xoxo

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    2. Yes Barb, sending love and light !!!! xoxoxo

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    3. Thank you, everyone! I definitely felt your love xo

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  8. I've thought about this exact topic before and i'm glad you brought it up. After everything that happened last year, I've decided to believe that there is a reason for everything that happens.
    ...well, I'm not sure what else to say so~, i guess that's it for now.

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  9. Perfectly good thing to say Garrett. Valid thought. It's a tough one isn't it? I guess it's especially tough because we really won't know the answer till we're gone. And some would say, not even then.

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  10. Actually this question and why has been on my mind as well. Its been on my mind every since two weeks ago when we had a co worker where I work pass away. His death was a total suprise. He went into the hospital because he said he was not feeling well and was suppost to get out that sunday. Then instead of getting out that sunsat he passed away that sunday. When I got the call that my co worker passed it was shocking. If felt like,i had been hit in the face it hurt so bad. He was such an amazing man and co worker and.we all miss him so much. I know my co worker was up there in age but I feel like,he still had so much life, so I,think we all ask why,and was it really his time

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    1. It's amazing Lyndsie how many people have been thinking about this subject isn't it? I am so sorry for your loss of your friend and co-worker. It is beyond horrible when someone is taken in such a shocking quick unexpected way.

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    2. I am so sorry, Lyndsie. This is sort of like our situation here. That's what made it so shocking. Thinking of you! xoxo

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  11. When I was in high school I had a friend who's father was scheduled for travel from Japan back to LA. He missed the plane and it crashed. He called home to say he was safe and taking another plane. It too crashed. I have believed in fate ever since that person's path crossed mine. I used to think you changed your fate every time you made a move but after this I believed when it is your time it is your time. Very interesting discussion.

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    1. Madge that story just stopped me in my tracks. Wow. That would certainly fall into the "when it's your time, it's your time" category. Colin reminded me when I read your response to him, of the people who survived the towers collapse only to die months later in a plane crash.

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  12. I believe in the total randomness of life. I believe that in a long illness people sometimes are able to choose when they go, or that in a tragic accident some people may just choose not to fight the injuries and just die. But I also believe that tragic accidents/illnesses happen to people that aren't ready to go, and they fight like crazy to stay alive, but it is beyond their control. I've known people that fought so hard for life but lost the battle. And I think there is comfort in that- that they had so much passion for life and so much love, and they desperately wanted to stay, but injury or illness took them. I don't believe that the people who survived such things "wanted it more", I think that it was medical help, genetic factors, timing, or just luck. Ever since I had my son I've thought about this topic a lot, because if I were to die somehow I would want my family to know that I did everything to stay here- that if love were enough I would stay with my child till his 100th birthday!
    Such an interesting conversation about the universe being able to be shifted- that if you'd gone up before christmas it could have changed your friends tragic death. And I believe that it could, but maybe if you'd gone it would've shifted the universe so that he was in the car with his wife and children. Or you and your husband could have had the accident driving up to see him. I think everything we do shifts our universe but you might be changing it for the better or the worse so it's important just to live your life.

    Thinking of you at the funeral Barbara, I'm glad your friend got to say a final goodbye to their family. xo

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    1. Wise words Samara and really helpful. People today have had some amazing insights like yours and I have been taking them all in. I did not think about what way we might have shifted the universe. You were so wise to point that out. It does not mean does it, that it would have shifted in a better way. Not at all. Thanks.

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  13. Very interesting questions. I'd think it's fair to say that there are some things which are pre-determined, the sun will rise and set, seasons will come and go, the Earth will circle the sun, people will be born and die. Matters of the universe can't be changed. Beyond that though I feel as if we make choices along the path of our lives but have no concept of how those choices will effect our future selves. We simply can't see all possiblities and outcomes each choice will result in. I suppose to me that means, in relation to if you had gone and done that show with Phil,that something would have shifted however what impact that particular shift would have had who knows. He may still have been in that same spot at that same time or he may not have been. We have no way of really seeing which moments have an impact on which other moments and it's impossible to predict or figure that out even in hindsight. I suppose what I'm saying is that I feel that our lives are determined but not pre-determined. On the other hand I also believe in accidents and that some things occur not because of choices we make but not by fate either, they just do. So I guess my philosophy is that choices have an impact but shit happens.

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    1. Two quick things I'm responding on my phone and it corrected Paul to Phil which I just had to fix as it was irritating me. Secondly I want to say how much I'm enjoying reading all the perspectives here, each one has it's own beautiful philosophy behind it and it's so wonderful and enlightening to read all these comments.

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    2. Erin you took the words right out of my mouth. All of you every single one is helping me sort this out in my mind. Or at least as much as we can sort it out right? I loved what you said about our lives being determined but not pre-determined. YOu are right. There are many many things we can count on in this world but certainly not everything. Thank you.

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    3. Exactly! I love conversations like this because of how many unique and thoughtful perspectives you can have on a thing -- all of which can resonate. And even if we can't "solve" it, how much fun to ask questions anyway!

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  14. I just want to apologize ahead of time if this is lengthy but this is something that for obvious reasons, I've given a lot of thought to. And since Sam asked me to go with him that day I still ask the question, twenty years later, would it have happened if I had gone with him? Could I have saved his life? Or would Amanda and I have died along with him that day which is beyond a scary thought.

    When I was young I believed like most young people that I was here to make an impact in this world. Opportunities came and went and each one slipped through my fingers like sand. I was able to train animals when I was very young people told me I had a way with them. I thought I'll be a great animal trainer. Later when I was 13 my music teacher told me I had a great voice. She pegged me to do solos and everyone complimented me afterward. I was in a country band for three years and dreamed of a career in music. I thought I'm going to be a country singer. I've been told I should write my life story more times than I can count and each time I try to put it in writing I fail.

    Now that I'm in my fifties I've come to the conclusion that yes; some of us are here to make an impact in this world to teach or inspire the rest of us but it's not me. So if destiny is real perhaps my destiny, or my impact was to deliver to this world the one or ones who "will" make an impact. Maybe like President Lincoln's mom, my only contribution was to give my children life and maybe that's enough. I look at them and know they are good people with the same drive and ambition I had to make an impact in the world. I have spent a lifetime trying to leave the people I encounter feeling good when I've gone. It was something my father said to me years ago and I never forgot it. So if when I'm gone people think of me and smile then I succeeded after all. Not a huge impact but enough of one.

    And since I brought up my children let me address if I'd want to know. Because of them I think I would want to know because there would be much to do to make sure they would be alright without me. That coupled with the thought that if we know ahead of time maybe we would treasure and cherish the time we have. When we don't know we tend to walk around saying to ourselves there's time. And so we leave things undone and worst of all things unsaid because we thought there was time.

    On the other hand I don't want to know because I need time with my kids. I don't ever want to leave them behind even though I know I must. So selfishly I want all the time in the world with them and since there is no departure time or date, I have that time for now. I know there is no always but when you don't know you can convince yourself otherwise. My only fervent hope is that when the time comes it will be before my children's time. I don't even want to think about losing one of them.

    Sorry it was so long but I think about this topic a lot. : ( And I hope it was what you were looking for

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  15. I just want to apologize ahead of time if this is lengthy but this is something that for obvious reasons, I've given a lot of thought to. And since Sam asked me to go with him that day I still ask the question, twenty years later, would it have happened if I had gone with him? Could I have saved his life? Or would Amanda and I have died along with him that day which is beyond a scary thought.

    When I was young I believed like most young people that I was here to make an impact in this world. Opportunities came and went and each one slipped through my fingers like sand. I was able to train animals when I was very young people told me I had a way with them. I thought I'll be a great animal trainer. Later when I was 13 my music teacher told me I had a great voice. She pegged me to do solos and everyone complimented me afterward. I was in a country band for three years and dreamed of a career in music. I thought I'm going to be a country singer. I've been told I should write my life story more times than I can count and each time I try to put it in writing I fail.

    Now that I'm in my fifties I've come to the conclusion that yes; some of us are here to make an impact in this world to teach or inspire the rest of us but it's not me. So if destiny is real perhaps my destiny, or my impact was to deliver to this world the one or ones who "will" make an impact. Maybe like President Lincoln's mom, my only contribution was to give my children life and maybe that's enough. I look at them and know they are good people with the same drive and ambition I had to make an impact in the world. I have spent a lifetime trying to leave the people I encounter feeling good when I've gone. It was something my father said to me years ago and I never forgot it. So if when I'm gone people think of me and smile then I succeeded after all. Not a huge impact but enough of one.

    And since I brought up my children let me address if I'd want to know. Because of them I think I would want to know because there would be much to do to make sure they would be alright without me. That coupled with the thought that if we know ahead of time maybe we would treasure and cherish the time we have. When we don't know we tend to walk around saying to ourselves there's time. And so we leave things undone and worst of all things unsaid because we thought there was time.

    On the other hand I don't want to know because I need time with my kids. I don't ever want to leave them behind even though I know I must. So selfishly I want all the time in the world with them and since there is no departure time or date, I have that time for now. I know there is no always but when you don't know you can convince yourself otherwise. My only fervent hope is that when the time comes it will be before my children's time. I don't even want to think about losing one of them.

    Sorry it was so long but I think about this topic a lot. : ( And I hope it was what you were looking for

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    1. Mary it is exactly what I was looking for. Please never apologize for being lengthy. I loved every word and point of view. Never ever underestimate what you leave people with by your actions of kindness or personality. You are confusing money and fame with impact. I believe that the greatest impact I have felt in this life are from people that no one knows outside of their own circle. Also, it's never too late to follow your dreams. Ever.

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    2. I want to second this, Deb. Mary, you have so much impact here every day. So there's that. And I also don't discount - if you love and ache to do them - any form of working with animals and/or singing again at this age, etc. Age is just a number, not an expiry date (no pun intended)...

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  16. first of all deb and barbara I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Paul and the person beloved in your life . may their memory ever be honoured .

    after the things that have been going on in my life recently I find it harder then ever to believe that some kind of god or fate predestines our lives for us . ( as i mentioned before on this blog my mom was diagnosed with cancer last January and has been in and out of hospital . 2 weeks ago my dad started to show signs of whet I think is dementia , which have now got to the point where dad has more or less lost his memory and he is now in the same hospital that mom has her cancer treatment in awaiting his diagnosis) why would my parents be so totally and utterly crapped on this year , they did'nt deserve it . could mom and I have brought dad to medical treatment sooner then we did ? well , in my opinion there may be no answer to those questions . my parents illness just happened . it is the same explanation for people we love dying. sadly life and death can;t always be explained in neat terms , bad things often happen to good people . that makes it so much harder for those of us who are left to grieve . I often wish the question why could be more easily answered . i just don't know .

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    1. Linda that is a fair answer and I have been struggling just like you for an answer which is why I wanted to hear what people had to say. I am sorry that your life continues to pile up on you and I am sorry for the struggles both your parents are facing. Maybe it is time for some good news for all of you. Hang on to that thought. Thanks.

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    2. thanks deb ,. to make a very long story short my dad was diagnosed with multi infarct dementia this evening .

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    3. Linda, I am so sorry. So very sorry. What does this Imply? Will it progress slowly? I hope so.

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    4. Oh. Linda. *sniffle*

      So many hugs. So many, many hugs.

      And, a punching bag. Because, you're going to need to vent anger before this is all over.

      Oooh, Linda. :( *heart squeezes, churns, wrenches*

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    5. I am very sor to hear that. I am sending lots of strenght for you.

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    6. Sending love, Linda!! I am so so sorry.

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  17. No matter how we come to terms with these fascinating questions intellectually, I wonder if it makes any difference to how we react to death on an emotional level.
    It is nearly 10 o'clock on a workday and I am still sitting here in my housecoat, not quite knowing what to do with myself, since receiving a call before 6 a.m. from a close friend whose husband killed himself yesterday.
    I'm pretty sure I'll be going to spend a few days or a week with her ... unless she wants to, I can't let her stay alone at their house (where he did it) for the first while.
    We all experience the shock and sorrow of the deaths of our loved ones, unless we go first. How do we get through it? We go through the motions, I guess, and life goes on. That said, I guess I'll go wash, brush my teeth, comb my hair, and get dressed. And try not to worry about my friend. Ha.
    Your questions certainly do fit in with my experience of life right now, too.

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    1. Kate NO! That is just so awful! This is a huge tragedy in your life and I am so sorry for you and for his wife who must be in a horrible state of shock right now. Thanks for even taking the time to weigh in. And yes, we do. We go through the motions, put one foot in front of the other and we live!

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    2. I'm SO sorry, Kate. I wish you peace, love, and patience to you and your friend.

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    3. kate my heart goes out to you .

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    4. Kate,

      I'm sitting here in STUNNED HORROR thinking about your friend and everyone who cares about her and her now late husband.

      Tragedy. A wholly insufficient word.

      *hugs*

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    5. Oh, Kate. I am so so sorry. Sending love!!

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  18. Very interesting thoughts. I believe that our lives are already mapped out, we just don't have the map. It's a mystery to us, what's going to happen tomorrow, the day after that, next year, but I think it is already decided. I can understand what you are going through, to some degree, because I went through it, and still am, since my grandmother's passing. Life is the biggest mystery of all. I gave up trying to figure it all out because I decided I don't need nor want to know everything. I don't feel that I am meant to. Whether or not it all is planned out already, I still have to make decisions and live with them. That's life.

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    1. To answer your question, no, I would not want to know when I am going to pass. I would constantly live in fear of that day, I would have more regrets and not live my life, I would be waiting...
      And I don't know if you noticed, but I don't use the word die or died often, because in my mind, we don't die really, we just change, we pass on to another life in a way, a better one. Our bodies just can't keep up, so we go in spirit.

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    2. Thanks Steph. Yes, death is change isn't it? We morph into something else. I guess it's just that for me, death is the word that defines what those who are left behind experience. I have always thought that we deal poorly with death in this continent so I resisted changing the word in an attempt to "soften" it. But you make an excellent point. When we "pass" that is exactly what I hope happens. We simply change forms. Thanks for this Steph.

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    3. I understand what you mean about death being what we that are left behind experience. That's it, isn't it? We are left behind...they move on without us. They are taking a trip that we don't get on yet, no postcards or pictures. I agree that we don't deal with death well. You know, I have memories of my grandmother trying to help me prepare my whole life for this loss. I didn't realize it then, but looking back and thinking about the things she told me, I know that is what she was doing.
      We each have to try to find a way to deal with loss, a way that works for us. For me, it's knowing that those I lose are not lost, they are watching me and are happy and pain-free.

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    4. STeph you are so right. They are on a trip without us and we don't even get an "I visited the pearly gates and all I got was this lousy t-shirt". I have said to the boy since he was 12 which was his first funeral, his great Granny, I said Luke, death is a part of life. It is our duty to be there for our loved ones. It is not a chore that can be avoided. I watched how graceful he was at Paul's funeral and I was glad that he knew how to just "be there.".

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  19. I was not 100% sure that I should comment today. Actually I was 99% sure that I should just let this be. Be warned ye who enter!


    To me this is a question a religion. Of whether or not you believe some higher power has a predetermined plan for you or not.
    And religion is a sort of taboo topic in my life at the moment. My religious views differ drastically from that of my parents and grand parents. This includes our views of death and if our fate is out of our hands. They get upset if I voice my opinions so I as a result I am hesitant to feel okay talking on subjects like this...... I never know if am being offensive even though I am trying not to be, or if my family are just a bit diasppointed in my chioces.
    Based on how many of you guys choose a bible as one of your top 5 treasure box items yesterday, you certainly won't agree with me but I am gonna share a little.
    That is my disclaimer for my thoughts. Here goes nothing.

    I am an Athiest. I don't believe that it is possible for our fate to be predetermined. And therefore dont think it is possible to know exactly when you will die unless you youself plan it. I make the choice everyday to keep living. I look both ways and dont walk out into traffic, I dont jump off bridges I come too, nor do I take a knife to my wrists or throat when I walk into the kitchen. ( and now I have brought up suicide, man you guys are never gonna let me comment again :/ ...)My life could end tommorrow or in 50 years. It is my choice to take the possibility of 50 years and live to see this weekend.
    I am trying to say that I am in control of my fate every minute by choosing to keep living and avoiding certain death situations. And if I do all I can to be safe and still end up dying then I say the odds were aginst me and my choices got me there.
    Sorry for being so negative....I can never seem to get the words right when it comes to the topic of death and religion. It has taken me almost a half an hour to just hit the publish button...Clearly I am going against what most all of you guys believe.
    Maybe I am wrong.
    I think I will just leave it at that for now. Sorry if I was offensive.


    Thoughts are with you Barbara.

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    1. (Deb and Barb, If I get anything wrong in here, in making assumptions about this blog and this group, please, correct me and let me know.)

      Kelly, BELIEVE me, if suicide were taboo here, I wouldn't have been allowed to comment here from the start.
      My beliefs are a lot closer to yours, so also believe me, you aren't alone in that. Expressing your beliefs here isn't any more offensive than others expressing their beliefs are. If nothing else, this is an open group of open-minded people.
      I think that, though we may not always agree with everything, we do respect that everyone has a right to their point of view. This particular subject today proves that.

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    2. Thanks Dawn <3 Like I said I am just not used to being allowed to share my opinion on these things so I wanted to make sure I was doing things properly. : )

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    3. It is really freeing to be able to write what's on your mind isn't it. I too want to assure you that you don't need to fear and worry about what you write here. <3

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    4. Yeah hon... Its your life so you can believe whatever you want...and dont worry about anyone else.. Your perspective makes you unique darlin'!
      (lol sorry peptalk just flows through me XD)

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    5. you all are the best!! so loving : )

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    6. Honey I've always thought that a difference of opinion shouldn't be offensive to us, it should be a chance to learn a new way of looking at things - even if we don't agree with it. Speaking as someone who is Christian I can honestly assure you that I fully respect your beliefs and, trust me, you have just as much of a right to speak here as anyone else :)

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    7. Kelly never ever fear what you say here. Unless you say I am ugly. Then I may raise a fuss! Kelly truly truly your comments were great and honest and gave us the diverse reaction we were hoping for. I never would have written this if I wanted cookie cutter responses. Never. I loved your take on this subject and you are always welcome to state your interesting views. As for those who commented to Kelly I thought you were all so loving and supportive of Kelly's right or ANYONE'S right, to state their opinion on this blog. WE are of many faiths and non-faiths on this blog Kelly, believe me. Every opinion is welcome here except when it brings prejudice or evil thought.

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    8. Kelly just to let you know i am also an Atheist , actually I am in the same family situation you are , i also come form a religious family . you are not alone here .

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    9. never have I spoken of my religious view to anyone before. I did it once in front of my family and quickly learned that I was to not do that again. I am okay with that at the moment. I understand that my family is very strong in their belief so I dont dont try to change anyone's mind.
      I never experienced a situation where the people actually respected my beliefs and were okay with the fact that we didn't necessiarly agree. It is awesome to be loved by you all. Thank you so much <3

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    10. religion is not something I talk about at home a lot . my mom especially grew up in a time where you never questioned the catholic church here in Ireland . my dad is english , region doesn't matter as much to him as it does to my mom . mom can understand why I don;t go to mass but she will never be able to understand why I don't believe in god . i don;t blame her for that . that was the way religion was when she was growing up.

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    11. I think everyone said it so well here, Kelly, but of course I have to add my own 2 cents!! I love what you said and, in fact, absolutely did not read it as "negative" but rather as your own take on what is a series of "own takes". Which I love. I was never raised religious so that's not in my background or everyday life at all. In fact, I even wonder, that being said, if this is a question of religion? To many people it might be, but to someone like me, it's question of that core energy that lives inside everyone and everything in the entire universe. That energy that connects every single thing in a purposeful and meaningful way -- like the strands in DNA. And that absolute truth that energy cannot be destroyed. So as we live our lives, how purposefully is that energy forming and re-forming? And to what ends?

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  20. YES! I would want to know! And I would want to know the date of all the people I LoVe. I feel it would change everything! LoVing kindness would be abundant, because so many people avoid the reality that we are all going to die. It's the ONE thing that we all have in common. Yet, most avoid. And it’s the one thing that when mentioned, softens the heart.

    If we all knew that precious “date of death”, we would hold it in our arms like a newborn child. We would all get along with the ones we Loved, and even treat strangers differently. The Ego would have no place, because it’s our heart that really suffers loss. The “attachment” is the ego… the “loss” is the LoVe.

    I feel, if we knew our death date, we would LoVe differently, act differently, work different jobs, and be more authentic. Fewer things would bug, or annoy us. Life would be fuller, richer, and more colorful. More accepting, less painful, less of a struggle to simply surrender to what “is”. The ego would not control our every thought, but instead would give our heart a fighting chance to Love deeply and completely.

    If we knew, we would simply “BE”.

    I have thought long and hard about this for YEARS! I have been through some great loss. And I’m a two-time ovarian cancer survivor (as you know Deb). At the age of 16, I was told I had 6months to live. That completely changed my way of thinking, feeling, LoVing, being. So I can only say, “YES” to your question. Because I have lived in the understanding, and knowingness, that this may be my last day here. And I Live that way every single day. My life choices are dictated by that awareness.

    And YES, I think everything happens for a reason. Good or bad, right or wrong, we are guided by the energy we fuel our days with.

    I read this often to remind myself of that…

    Two Wolves
    One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
    He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.

    One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

    The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

    The grand son thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

    The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

    I choose to live into my healthy 100’s. That's what I feed on.


    LoVing my LiFe… xoxo Seana

    P.S. Thinking of you at the funeral, Barbara, I'm glad your friend got to say a final goodbye to their family.

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    1. Aww Seana I love that Cherokee story !!! so so precise and TRUE!

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    2. Oh, I have been told this Cherokee tale before. It is so beautiful and true. I think knowing the day of your death is something that, for some, would encourage love (or LoVe!) and for others it would cause fear. I have never been told I have this amount of time to live, but I was told how long my grandmother had left, which did cause fear in me, but it also made me think about how much I loved her too. I guess knowing the date could work both ways...

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    3. Ohhhh I thrive in FEAR! Fear is my friend. Fear can guide you towards what’s important and motivate you to take action. Don't we all need that kind of friend?

      xoxox
      Seana

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    4. Seana...I LOVE YOU !!!!!! You are so like me!!!! I think Fear can be your worst enemy or your best friend...Its all about your perception!!! It is the one condition when we get to PUSH our limits and take strong decisions!!!!
      Awww I SO thrive in negative emotion nowadays!!!!

      And Steph, Like I said, I think your life is changing every seconds and it depends mostly on what we decide or choose! So there is no fixed amount to live.. Like someone can be negative and unhealthy all their life but If they decide to look at life differently even after being unhealthy.. their Death time changes! I believe in that! :)

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    5. Seana my husband will attest to the fact that I am sitting her bawling at your comment. Well said Mama. Well said. It makes us want to continue to strive to live as if we do know the date doesn't it? I know that is your ambition as soon as you open your eyes each day and I sure try my best to wake up happy, go to sleep happy and fill the day! I loved the story too and always try my very best to feed the right one. Except when I don't. xoxoxoxo

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    6. I LoVe you Deb, you are a "gift" that keeps on giving..... LoVe to you too Shalaka ;)

      xoxoxo
      Seana

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    7. Seana, you are such a ray of sunshine! Whenever you comment on a post, it always speaks to me. You are right about fear, I just fear fear, I guess!
      xoxo

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    8. Thanks for your kind words Steph. :)

      We all fear. For me, It's simply the relationship i decide to have with “FEAR” that defines it for me. I move with it, never resisting it. It's in the resisting that we get stuck, and then paralyzed.

      I have learned that i experience peace in my life when i am able to flow with whatever happens. I have found that “Non Attachment” works for me. Not always an easy thing. But, suffering is optional in my world. Most people need to suffer the pain that comes with attachment and loss, in order to understand the power of this realization. Lets just say, I put my suffering in at a very young age to be gifted this understanding.

      I think it's ok to fear fear… I just think once you become friends with it, and allow it to guide you towards what’s important; it will motivate you to take action. Like it did with you for your LoVe of your Grandma.

      Xoxoxo
      Seana

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    9. Oh, Seana, this was gorgeous. Thank you so so much for sharing your thoughts on this! The wolf story, the reveling in fear: just LOVE all of that. Completely, utterly resonated. And with the powerful way you articulate it. xoxo

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    10. Thanks for your lovely words, Seana. I am near tears now! xoxo

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    11. Thank you for your wise words Seana and for sharing. You had sort of the same ideas as me. I wish I could get the two wolves story on a plague to hang in my new home! I have enjoyed getting everyone's insight on the this one, thank you Deb and Barb!!

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  21. I've been convinced several times that I knew the date of my death. One is convinced a suicide attempt won't just turn out to be an attempt. Turns out I was wrong each time. (I'd joke with the ER folks that you'd think I'd be better at this by now. No sense of humor in those people.) I don't look at it as "I wasn't meant to die." I see it as, "Well, that dose didn't work." A lack of knowledge, if you will.

    The answer for myself, personally, is that I'm not so curious about WHEN I'll die as I am with HOW. Will it be instantaneous? Prolonged? Will it be by my own hand or someone else's? I look at my own death objectively because, for better or worse, I think the underlying desire will ALWAYS be there, but the urgency with which I want death to happen is not anywhere NEAR as strong as it was. And I haven't found any "light" or whatever. I'm just on the right dose of the right meds now.

    In 2005, my godmother went into the hospital for knee surgery. A fat embolism broke off, went wherever they go, and she died instantly. My mother called me at work to tell me, and I felt like I'd been hit in the gut with a block of cement. EVERYONE was blind-sided by this. Someone SO full of life, gone in an instant for no good reason. An embolism is what I call a freak accident. It's a risk of surgery, but it's one of those risks you don't know is coming until it's too late.

    Her husband died three years later. Technically, the cause was listed as COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. But really, we know he died of a broken heart. His will to live just wasn't there. He enjoyed his grandchildren for those three years, but his spark went when his wife did.

    I don't believe in a benevolent god, who "calls his child home." My godmother believed it, though. I don't have any knowledge to the contrary, so I believe she is happy now, because it came true.

    When I was working with the eye bank, I had to see the bodies I worked on as just bodies. Whatever made them a PERSON was gone. Whether it went somewhere or it just stopped existing wasn't what I needed to know, just that they weren't going to wake up in the middle of it, or come after me after I shut the door. (The job can cause one to have dreams, shall we say.)

    I'll be volunteering in an animal adoption center/shelter starting, probably, next week. It's NOT a "no kill" shelter. Some animals will be killed. (I can use "Rainbow Bridge" or "put to sleep," but, as you said and I believe, Deb, it all comes down to the same thing, so I'm calling a spade a spade.) I've had to decide for myself how I will be able to handle it. I will, I will HAVE TO, believe it is for their best interests. It will put them out of pain. I HAVE to not let it get too far into my head how absolutely ROTTEN and EVIL people can be. I'm sure I'll be shedding more than a few tears, but I'll be useless to them if all I can focus on is the suffering, and not the relief afterward.

    Ironically, I think how we look at death is what makes it easier for us to deal with life. Have we found an answer we can live with? Then that's the reason it happened.

    /end rambling

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    1. One important edit:

      "And I haven't found any "light" or whatever. I'm just on the right dose of the right meds now." AND the right people caring at the right time, and my believing it.

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    2. Dawn your response rocked me to my core. I wish that the living gift you would get is peace from the issues you face. You are so unbelievably bright Dawn. And screw bright, you are insightful. Do damned insightful. Compassionate and supportive. I hope to hell (no pun intended) that you see yourself in these things I have said. You always blow our minds with your quiet eloquence. "Ironically, I think how we look at death is what makes it easier for us to deal with life. Have we found an answer we can live with? Then that's the reason it happened."-That is a perfect quote. That is in the end Dawn, the answer. "Whatever gets you through the night"...even if it shifts from moment to moment. xo

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    3. I'm so glad I could be helpful. And, thank you. oxo

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    4. Ditto what Deb said, Dawn. Wow, so beautiful. I am so glad, for all of our sakes, that you are finding ways to be here and spread your insight and your abounding love. We are all better for it. You addendum to your comment was... just love it... xoxo

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  22. This is interesting, I received this today

    Subject: The Elephant Whisperer - amazing









    How touching---and how remarkable that the elephants could sense the death of their rescuer. One can think of possible reasons other than somehow sensing the passing, but that doesn't change the fact that they came!

    Elephant Whisperer

    ele-1

    Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller The Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife and

    rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo

    animals during US invasion in 2003.

    On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons &

    numerous elephants.

    Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs.

    Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved

    man-friend.

    A total of 20 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African house.

    ele-2

    Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence 's passing, but also because of the profound memory

    and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way:

    Walking slowly - for days - making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house.



    ele-3

    Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to

    that day for well over a year!

    But yet they knew where they were going.

    The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who'd saved their lives - so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights.

    Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home.










    Click here to Reply or Forward

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    Replies
    1. I have no problem believing this. I think animals know or at least sense deeper things than humans do. I think it makes them much more compassionate than humans will ever be.
      Thank you for posting such a "proof of life" story.

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    2. Jo thank you so much for sharing this story. I am going to have no tears left by the end of this day. I think animals "know".

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    3. This story absolutely killed me. Wow. Not surprised by their deep connection and knowing, but absolutely blown away by this reminder of it.

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  23. Grrr I had written a long reply with my phone and my phone lost it! Will try to write it again when I am at my computer.

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  24. I've been thinking about destiny too. This one's going to be hard to explain, though, especially via internet where I can't tell whether or not I'm accurately explaining myself =P
    I absolutely believe destiny exists (in the form of God). I also believe in free will, and that we make all of our own choices. What I think happens, and I may be completely wrong here, is that we make our own choices, but at the same time we are destined to make those choices. Part of the reason that I think this is because I believe that God knows everything, including every single choice we are going to make, before we even exist. So Deb, with your case with Paul I think that your choice not to do the show, while absolutely being your choice to make, was part of the plan. I think you could be put back in that situation a million times (without knowldege of the future outcome) and you'd keep making that same choice. I'm not trying to undermine our free choice, because I do think we are fully responsible for all of our actions, but I do still think destiny is heavily entwined with it.
    I'm not sure I've explained that very well... It's so easy to accidentally give the wrong idea when explaining something complicated! =)

    In answer to your question, I definitely would not want to know my death date. I like life with a little mystery, and I think that the build-up of anticipation beforehand would be quite gruelling =)

    Deb and Barb I wish you both all the best, especially considering your losses <3

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  25. Aimee you have a very solid viewpoint for yourself which, as was said earlier, makes life easier to live. Dawn pointed out that it is really about what we feel as individuals and I think that is so true. I think we all have to follow our convictions and clearly yours are working for you. I love that you want the mystery of life. I hear you. That's why I didn't want to know the sex of our baby. Life is for surprises!

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  26. I honestly can't imagine anything worse than knowing when I would die. Right now I'm 23, healthy, with an excellent chance at 60 more years on this planet. But it might not happen. It could be 60 seconds. And, honestly, that knowledge helps. I can't say that I've loved every second of my life, but I am satisfied. Always ask: if today was the end, could I go peacefully? If yes, you're doing something right.

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  27. Christopher wow. That was so insightful thanks. You are right. If today was the end, could I go peaceful? If yes, you're doing something right!" So very very true.

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  28. Hey Deb and Barb, is there a way that I could e mail one/both of you guys. I had an idea/request. : )

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    1. Yes, Kelly! Please email us at radeckirites (at) gmail (dot) com and I will forward to Deb.

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  29. Yes. Barb has a way don't you Barb?

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  30. I believe the more we can accept that death is as natural as life, the more it will help us to live. That we may see it as transition and not end. We are all connected and life occurs in circles. Such loss is tremendous and deeply painful. When the pain of loss takes root, we want to encourage it to decay so that flowers will bloom.

    That is easy to type. Not as easy to live.

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    1. Wise words Eileen. And yes, not as easy to live. But we can try can't we?

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  31. Attempt number 2:
    Yes I would like to know when and how I die. It would free up some space in my brain. Although I do believe that we are in some what control of our lives, so that we can change some aspects of it. There was this book about ghosts and weird events (claimed to be true), that had the following story in it. A man went to see a fortuneteller about his future. He was told that he would get married and have a son. Unfortunately the son would fell in the well in the yard in his 2yr birthday. The man did not think much of this at the time. Eventually he did get married and he had a son. After having the son, he rememberd the prediction and nailed the well shut. He thought that the prediction could not now happen as there was no way for his son to fell in to the well. In the morning of his son's 2yr birthday, the son was found laying on top of the well lid dead. Later examinations determined that he had drowned.

    I do not think much of these type of things, but there just is something about this story that has stuck with me. So I do believe more on when it is your time, it is your time. But I think that with modern medicine we can prolong this in some cases. I am pro euthanasia. It might be because I have watched one of my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers lay in hospital bed and barely be able to open their eyes and still live for many months. Luckily I have also seen how fast it can go. When I am old, I will move to a country where euthanasia is allowed. Just in case.

    My reception of death is from a book. To me you could almost say the book, but I won't as I might be misunderstood. I hope that the DEATH from Terry Prattchet's Disc World is real. To those who are not familiar with it: When you die you create your own afterlife based on what you believe. If you do not believe in anything, there is nothing. If you believe there will be punishment for evil, there will be punishment for evil. If you haven't read any of Prattchet's books, I highly recommend.

    I am not a big beliver in fate and destiny, even though I think I have had enough things happen to prove me wrong. I moved near my brother, even though we are not that close. But it just happened so, that they ended up needing me the most while I was near. Also my friend that I've mentioned earlier needs me quite much and she also lives near where I live now. I have been able to help and receive help from random people just because I chose to live where I lived. I also noticed that I need to do it with my instinct and not with heart as then it won't work. I have moved abroad because it was such a huge opportunity, but I knew already before going that I would regret it in the end.

    This ended up being a really long post, sorry about that. The last nights post would have been a bit shorter, so you can thank my phone for this :)

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  32. Kasku the well story is so interesting and clearly we can see what point of view it was trying to teach us. It also seems the events in your life are shaping your opinion and why wouldn't they? The idea of creating our own afterlife is fascinating to me. The concept that you get what you believe is quite cool. Thanks Kasku and it was NOT too long. Loved reading it.

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    1. Yes the story is quite silly in a way that you can see through it. I just can't quite believe that I still remember it that well. :)

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  33. Hmmm...I honestly don't know.
    I don't want everything to be just pure randomness. Sometimes, I really need to believe that someone is holding our strings, and makes us do things.

    I feel more safe, thinking that everything happens as it is supposed to be.
    Of course, sometimes it's a pain in the ass. When people die, when accidents happen, when illness strikes...
    But sometimes it's comforting. I don't have to worry too much. I don't have to doubt decisions or experiences...they were supposed to happen.

    But on the other hand, it is scary to believe that you cannot make your own decisions. And no matter what you do, it's not your free will...

    I just don't know...

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    1. I know, it's all that, isn't it, Becki?

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  34. I just ran across your blog for the first time and what should I find but a post about death. I've never been uncomfortable with death, as my mother explained it all very simply and lovingly as I grew up. Never any fear. Fast forward to 2006 when I was diagnosed with Indolent Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (yes, cancer!....and you live with it for a long time until it eventually does you in.) My (relatively) organized life was turned upside down. If everything in my life was planned out by the God I loved, so this was planned, too. If this never-ending situation feels awful, then God predestined me to be miserable? Five years after my diagnosis and countless "maintenance" treatments and medications, the loss of friends who don't understand why I'm different, I wonder about the "big plan" I know God has for me. I can tell you, hypothetically, I always thought it would be very "orderly" and good to know when you were going to die. It seemed to appeal to my neat side. Now I know....I would rather be hit by a MAC truck. Now *that* would be neat and concise. I still believe in God, but I understand him even less than I used to. Going to read all the comments now. : )

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    1. We're thrilled you found us! Thanks for weighing in on such a potentially difficult subject. I'm so sorry to hear about your health issues. Please know that we welcome you here and, not to pat ourselves on the back too much, but we have an amazing community of supportive people here who are patient and kind and would be happy to give you a bit of emotional, loving "orderliness" in a time of chaos and uncertainty. xo

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  35. Please forgive this comment from a newbie: If asked, I would classify myself as a spiritual person (hate the word 'religious', smacks of institutionalism!), and death means accountability to me- having to explain and justify my actions to my Creator. As long as I keep my death, hence accountability, in mind, I know I will try to align my actions with those principles I aspire to (justice, equality, fairness etc).
    I feel knowing the exact date of death would only be useful in allowing loose ends to be tied up, making arrangements for dependents etc. As a 22 year old whose responsibilities don't extend much beyond taking care of myself, I feel I wouldn't benefit much from knowing my date of death.
    Knowing the exact date of my death won't affect my actions as much as simply being aware of my death. Because of this I try to think about my death everyday (not as macabre as it sounds!). The fatalism of death is probably the only thing so far that has truly made me feel alive, which is fascinating to me. I think it helps me 'stay in the moment' and enjoy it, something that doesn't come easily to a chronic worrier like myself.

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    1. No forgiveness necessary -- we treasure new newbies!! Welcome, and we hope we see you around much much more. We've found here that there are as many ideas as there are commenters, but there is definitely a universal sense of acceptance and curiosity. So another person's wise insights are always welcome here!

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    2. PS and I should add that worrying about death also seems to inform so much of how we perceive it, doesn't it?

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    3. Thank you for your kind words :) I feel I've stumbled upon a gem of a blog and hope to become more involved in the 'comments community'!
      you're so right, worrying definitely impacts the way we view death. Perhaps, as with most things, a little worry is useful but a lot is detrimental-The Newbie

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