Opinion – How To Die


I was in the drug store the other day wandering around and I saw a Time magazine on the magazine rack, it’s cover SCREAMS “How To Die”. Now, I only glanced through the article and it “appeared” to be about what we should do with elderly parents when they get very sick. (Stopping the machines, removing feeding tubes, etc)

I went through all of this a year ago when my Mom got very sick and we ultimately made that EXTREMELY difficult decision to stop life support. But, Mom wanted it that way, she made all of that very clear to all of us years earlier. And I am glad she was specific because after all of the “heroics” that I went through 5 years ago in receiving a heart transplant, it would have been very difficult to make a good, conscious decision.

Most of us don’t know how, when or where we will die. We don’t get to pick, unless one would choose suicide, and even that’s not always a guarantee. We can’t make it convenient for others. Life is full of surprises and can change in one heartbeat, one nano-second, one blink of an eye.

Five years ago I was as close to death as one can get. I “coded” (Code Blue, flat lined) over a hundred times in 2 weeks. I literally had one foot in heaven. Being that close to death made me realize or see a lot of things in regard to “How to Die”.

First, make sure you keep your God in your heart, in your soul … at all times.

Secondly, make sure your family, your decision makers, truly know beyond any reasonable doubt, what YOUR wishes are. If you desire a DNR or a Living Will, take care of it NOW. Don’t wait! I say that because life can change, can end so quickly, that the day you need it, it might be too late. One side note here is to PLEASE be a registered organ donor, because you could become someone’s hero right after your last breath, and make sure your family knows about organ donation as well.

Lastly, and I say this from a very personal perspective ….. LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH NO REGRETS, EVERY DAY. Don’t live your life with “loose ends”. Tie them up each day or as quickly as possible. Those that you love, tell them every time you see them. If you have an issue with someone, clear it up immediately, don’t let it fester. Be thankful and grateful each and every day …….. because you NEVER KNOW WHEN IT MIGHT BE YOUR LAST.

I know my God is with me always. My family knows my wishes, from recycling every part of me that can be possibly be used to help someone else to which beach to pour my ashes into the water, (when there’s an off shore breeze). I want it to be easy for them.

Remember this – “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” –  Mark Twain

So, go out and live and enjoy your life ….. Oh yes …… I LOVE YOU!!!

About DAP

I am a heart transplant recipient and these are my stories and thoughts. My desire is to assist others pre or post heart transplant in anyway possible. Please feel free to contact me if you have a question.
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