Social Question

ibstubro's avatar

Death. Do you have a personal story of someone that has handled their own death well?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) June 5th, 2015

I was reminded today of a former customer that died. A lovely woman, admired by her children and grandchildren, well liked in the community.
She was diagnosed with a nearly incurable cancer. Her family rallied around her, even bringing her to the auctions. One day I asked her
“How are you Sally?”
“Wonderful! Just got back from the Bahamas. We swam with the stingrays, jet skied and had a great time.”
The entire extended family had taken a trip to the Bahamas and she had kept right up with the kids and grandkids. They were constantly off on some adventure, and rallied around her all the time. Cliche, but she lived like she was dieing, and created some fantastic memories for her family to hold in her absence.

I’ll save #2.

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9 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

My grandpa is a great example. He was dianogsed with protage cancer and the whole family had to bring him to several hospitals for treatment. Every time we visited him he didn’t seem to worry about his illness. During conversations he was the only one who joked around and mentioned nothing about the cancer.

Eventually the tumor grew too much and the doctors decided that operating would cause further damage, so they sent him home. At that point he was no longer fully conscious. The situation was hopeless and he could die at any moment. But he refused to die, because he was waiting to see me pass the exam to high school. He always talked about how much he wanted to see me in the high school’s uniform. He didn’t even think a bit about his situation!

I’m glad I didn’t fail him.

jaytkay's avatar

A friend of mine died recently. A couple of years ago, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had time to get used to the idea.

She helped her husband and kids prepare for life without her. She spent as much time as possible with friends and family. Her focus was always on everyone else, letting them know how much she appreciated knowing them.

Maybe the best person I have ever met and the last one who deserved to go.

josie's avatar

A few too many

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I can’t think of anyone where I’ve thought they managed their death well. Not that people have managed their death badly. I have a friend how has ovarian cancer. For her it’s not a case of will she survive, it’s about how long she’ll survive. She is travelling, she regularly updates people about how she’s going, she has lots of photos of her and family and friends on her social media pages, she goes to concerts and she’s started a fundraising process for ovarian cancer. She’s still here but I think she’s amazing. She’s such a young woman too but the way she’s handling her illness is inspiring.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I’ve had plenty of patients that knew they were dying, and handled it well. But the one that will always stay with me though was my skydiving instructor. My first week jumping, as we were discussing the hazards of the sport, he said to me “if I go in, I want to go in hard”. When I returned a few weeks later to finish the course, I was told that he had in fact gone in hard, and died instantly. He didn’t know his time was up, probably not even in the last few seconds. But he knew it could happen at any moment, and had accepted it as a risk of the sport.

cookieman's avatar

My great aunt, while dying of cancer planned and paid for her entire wake, funeral, burial, and after-services-dinner. Took care of every detail — ordered the head stone, chose the music and readings, booked a church and a hall, chose the food.

Once complete, she handed a notebook with all the details to my uncle a said, “Everything is all taken care of.”

She died the next day.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

When my sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 (of 5) Lymphoma, the doctor estimated that she had 6 mos. to live. She was divorced from an ex-husband who refused to give up their house and never paid child support. She was a public school teacher with full custody for three daughters (one just out of college, one in, and the third was 10).

When she shared the diagnosis, her words to me were, “Do not put me in the grave yet. I am going to fight this to the best of my ability.” And she did. For five years, she lived on a rollercoaster ride of chemotherapy, radiation and one stem cell transplant. All treatments were scheduled for Fridays so that she had the weekend to recuperate from the worst of the side effects or during school holidays. She never missed a day of work until the end.

She lived to see her eldest marry and the middle child graduate from college. She continued to not only teach but coach the school’s pop-quiz team and attend summer conferences where selected high school English teachers from all over the US gathered for a week of grading AP papers.

She updated her will, wrote a last requests list, and arranged with our other sister to be the executive of her state and guardian of the underage child. She continued to run just about every day. When someone would ask her how she was doing, the favorite response was, “Well, I’m finally losing the weight that I’ve wanted to for so long,” and then grin.

Her only complaints were that she was constantly cold and that food sometimes tasted like wet paper. Otherwise, she soldiered on maintaining the same sincere interest in others’ lives.

It wasn’t until her memorial service that many of us learned how she felt. This poem was written sometime after the diagnosis and later shared with the minister of her church and a close friend. It was her reflection on Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Night descends upon my weary soul;
My spirit’s perched upon a deep abyss:
Pain and despair have begun to take their toll;
The path that leads through darkness I have missed.
I fight against the gloom that swallows me
And seek for light in every place I can,
But only embers lie there warmingly,
And desperately the glowing coals I fan.
Then a whisper buried in my heart
Blows gently, stirring dark coals into flame,
And hope encompasses every waking part,
And my soul, revived, calls out His holy name.
Consumed in flames of faith, I find release
From darkness’ bondage through His touch of peace.

May you, too, find joy and peace in His love.

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