How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

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Patagoniagirl
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How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#1

Post by Patagoniagirl »

We all have an idea about how our lives are worthwhile. What makes us happy, what makes us worthy. How we make things better. And in my personal race toward death, I think. About my purpose here.

I wonder about death. Especially after sharing that experience with Mister. I wish we had talked more about that journey and that ticket-taking.

I'm not being morbid, but curious about how others feel about the final journey.

busterbunker
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#2

Post by busterbunker »

This is my theory, based upon recent legal strategy. Not sure if it will help.

After we are born, we are given two options: sudden death and prolonged death.

The latter may be preferable, if it is reasonably long and relatively painless.

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Lani
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#3

Post by Lani »

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about that, too. I'm facing the fact that I am old.

Years ago, I felt that my life was pretty worthless. That I had accomplished nothing of value. I dreamed that I was standing by a stream near my childhood house, skimming pebbles across the pond and watching the ripples travel downstream. A voice said "you never know how far the ripples will go." And I felt comforted. In later years I've occasionally receive a card from someone thanking me for being there when they needed it. I realized that just being a decent person was a contribution. The memory of that dream stills calms me during difficult times.

About 20 years ago, I had episodes of high fevers, terrible pain, followed by drenching sweat and chills. I had returned from a vacation in place with some nasty mosquito-borne illnesses. The doctor (small village, not much choice) yelled at me that I was a mentally ill woman and told me to get out of his office That night, my fever reached 105. Somehow, I crawled around and got my son off to school in the morning. Then I crawled to the phone and called the office. Told the receptionist that my fever was now 105, and the doctor had killed me. She sent someone to my house to carry me to his car and rush me to the hospital. It turns out that after trashing me, he went home and beat his wife to pile of broken bones in front of their toddler.

Things continued to worsen for several days. I was exhausted by the fever and pain. Thought the end was underway. I woke at one point to find my ex and our son in the room. I reached out to hold my son's hand. He couldn't look at me. I must have been pretty scary looking. I could barely speak, for what I thought was the last time. I said what I thought would be my last words to him.

Then a golden eagle swooped into the ward and suck my soul up into its grasp, and we sped away to a place of safety. A total near death experience. I won't describe it here. Briefly, I had given up on life, so I was there to rest pain free and strengthen before being returned. I argued against that - much happier where I was. But I was returned by the eagle to be resuscitated in the hospital.

I'm glad, in a sort of weird way, that I had that experience. I'm not scared of death. Been there, done that. What does concern me is making it easier for those who survive us. I'm strongly prochoice about how I pass. Signed the directive, made my will, talked with my kiddo about it. Encouraged him to talk about it with me and any other questions he may have.

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Suranis
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#4

Post by Suranis »

I've been kind of facing things like that lately myself.

If you look at things from an Atheist point of view, you have to put your purpose in terms of creating good memories, and good advice that spread out from you in every person you interact with, as they will interact with other people and it subtly changes what they do. The atoms in your body can and will become part of other people and animals and plants. And all that is part of your glory.

If you are talking belief, well in some way I've come around to the notion that part of our ultimate purpose is the Universe trying to figure itself out. Only a conscious sentient thinking being can give form and meaning to a Universe of cold rocks and hot gas. M Scott Peck said that our ultimate purpose is to realize our true potential, not for our Families glory but for our own individual glory and for the glory of God.
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#5

Post by Foggy »

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


My mom died when she was only 6 years older than I am today.

I want to stick around for a lot more than 6 years. I refuse to go gentle.

See ya, I'm off to class for an hour of Musical Asskicking. :boxing: :wave:
For more information, read it again.

(Fogbow on PayPal)

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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#6

Post by Foggy »

Oh yeah, and when I do go, I want you to put my brain in a jar and hook me up to a computer, so I don't miss anything. Thank you very much. :blink:
For more information, read it again.

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Bill_G
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#7

Post by Bill_G »

This is one topic I get to ponder for brief periods, only to have it swept away by more immediate concerns. And after six and a half decades, I've amassed a pile of ponderings that actually have some coherence despite the bucket of eels appearance. Putting them into words is another thing. Like Lani, I've had some devine experiences that are personal and unique and not easily pigeon holed, but have become core elements in my current state. I do find I don't care if I die, or when I will die, but I'm not waiting to die. I think I'm living more than my younger self.

But, I could be totally bullshitting myself too. You know how that goes when you ponder these things. Is it real, or are they just wonderful musings?

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Danraft
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#8

Post by Danraft »

What is a good life lived? Maybe now is a time to consider this or maybe it isn't.

I'm periodically wrenched with grief from the loss of my father and am still, at this moment, racked by crying shudders and have trails of tears from just collapsing into that rhythmic loss-chirping sadness.

I've been a mess of emotion recently and mostly feel I am "going through the motions" of life. Yet, going home to New Braunfels, TX to deal with, or be present with family, at that time was the least rewarding, least sense of closure scenario I could have possibly imagined. It left me overwhelmingly disenchanted and sad and even a little angry (at precisely what? I haven't a clue).

So, what is a good life lived?
To leave the world better than I found it? To believe in personal growth and of others? To strive to not be a toxic force in the world and reinvent, to the best of my ability, who I could and want to be?

I've failed on little and big things.
I'm sure that will still be true, but not for a moment will I let myself stagnate by dwelling on the negatives.
I will share hugs and love, keep turning the other cheek, and most importantly, be alive and striving.

I talk to my father, after he is gone, more now.
I think there is a lesson (about who he was) from that. Some little kernel of truth about who I want to be.
The Mercury Project

Panch Villlain

Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#9

Post by Panch Villlain »

Suranis wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:47 am
I've been kind of facing things like that lately myself.

If you look at things from an Atheist point of view, you have to put your purpose in terms of creating good memories, and good advice that spread out from you in every person you interact with, as they will interact with other people and it subtly changes what they do. The atoms in your body can and will become part of other people and animals and plants. And all that is part of your glory.

If you are talking belief, well in some way I've come around to the notion that part of our ultimate purpose is the Universe trying to figure itself out. Only a conscious sentient thinking being can give form and meaning to a Universe of cold rocks and hot gas. M Scott Peck said that our ultimate purpose is to realize our true potential, not for our Families glory but for our own individual glory and for the glory of God.
Do Gods care about glory?

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Suranis
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#10

Post by Suranis »

Panch Villlain wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:09 pm
Do Gods care about glory?
That quote is from the book "A road less traveled."

The context is where he is describing him running a troubled marriage group. He asked the people what the purpose of their partners is. Well one guys said, "well my wife's purpose is to make me dinner run the house and take care of the kids" A woman said her husbands purpose was sex and giving her money. Eventually he said "No wonder you are having problems with your marriages. You see your partners purpose only in relation with you." They got all indignant and asked him what his fifes purpose was. "The purpose of Elaine is to achieve her full potential, not for my glory, but for her glory and the glory of God."

Its a very thoughtful book.
The difference between the Middle Ages, and the Age of the Internet, is that in the Middle Ages no-one thought the Earth was flat.

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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#11

Post by Whatever4 »

I’ve been thinking about mortality a bit as I lost 2 of 8 first cousins at the end of last year: One to suicide after years of substance abuse, the other was murdered by his long-time partner who then committed suicide by cop. A few years ago, My oldest cousin died of terrible metastatic breast cancer that moved to her brain (age 57). My own brother committed suicide at age 27.

That’s 4 gone in a generation of 12, all before age 60. I wasn’t really close to any of them as adults. Lives lived but not well, not good deaths. No answers, no questions, just... Loss. Of possibilities, of childhood when we were all close, of... something.
"[Moderate] doesn't mean you don't have views. It just means your views aren't predictable ideologically one way or the other, and you're trying to follow the facts where they lead and reach your own conclusions."
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Panch Villlain

Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#12

Post by Panch Villlain »

Suranis wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:35 pm
Panch Villlain wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:09 pm
Do Gods care about glory?
That quote is from the book "A road less traveled."

The context is where he is describing him running a troubled marriage group. He asked the people what the purpose of their partners is. Well one guys said, "well my wife's purpose is to make me dinner run the house and take care of the kids" A woman said her husbands purpose was sex and giving her money. Eventually he said "No wonder you are having problems with your marriages. You see your partners purpose only in relation with you." They got all indignant and asked him what his fifes purpose was. "The purpose of Elaine is to achieve her full potential, not for my glory, but for her glory and the glory of God."

Its a very thoughtful book.
Sorry, that does not answer my (snarky, I admit) question.

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Suranis
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#13

Post by Suranis »

Because your "question" was flame bait in an otherwise positive thread, and I'm choosing not respond to your invitation to have a stupid argument and ruin the thread.

I hearby invite you to tell us what you think about the topic. Or not.
The difference between the Middle Ages, and the Age of the Internet, is that in the Middle Ages no-one thought the Earth was flat.

EastStander
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#14

Post by EastStander »

This is something I have thought about too since losing my wife at the comparatively early age of 59.

Sometimes, doing something practical can help. When researching my family history, I found out very little about either of my grandfathers, which was a huge frustration. So I resolved, as a project during my retirement, to write my own life story. Not because it has been a particularly interesting life, but so my grand children will know quite a bit about me when I am no longer around.

An additional benefit of the project was realising that I had achieved more than I thought I had.

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voxpopuluxe
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Re: How We Think about Death. A Life Well lived.

#15

Post by voxpopuluxe »

Patagoniagirl wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:23 pm
I'm not being morbid, but curious about how others feel about the final journey.
i beat a fairly benign—as those things go—bout of cancer in my 30's. over the last decade i've seen a half dozen of my friends and children of friends either take their lives, die accidentally, or in one case, lose their life to an ex-boyfriend. despite all that, i either think very little about death or i think of it so often that it fades into the background. i can't really tell

i struggle enough from day to day, that i don't spend a lot of time thinking about my purpose in life and even less about "life's purpose" in the abstract. i guess my purpose is to get to the next week in some kind of human way, finding moments to enjoy, gratifying my senses in some pleasant way, harming no one, helping if i can, and living for a while longer
There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'Not today. '
i know someone who knew the subject of this story. it seems like a model of the way to go
In the face of death, a marriage and the party of a lifetime

SEATTLE – The day he picked to die, Robert Fuller had the party of a lifetime.

In the morning, he dressed in a blue Hawaiian shirt and married his partner while sitting on a couch in their senior housing apartment. He then took the elevator down three floors to the building’s common room, decorated with balloons and flowers.

With an elaborately carved walking stick, he shuffled around to greet dozens of well-wishers and friends from across the decades, fellow church parishioners and social-work volunteers. The crowd spilled into a sunny courtyard on a beautiful spring day.

A gospel choir sang. A violinist and soprano performed “Ave Maria.” A Seattle poet recited an original piece imagining Fuller as a tree, with birds perched on his thoughts.
“It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.”
—Ali Smith, Autumn

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