A Good Day to Die

Imagine that you have one week to live.  I know – sorry – that’s such a cheesy way to start a post.  If you were really dying though, you’d feel anything but cheese.  In our culture we like to pretend that death’s not real.  We invent all manner of fantasy to insulate us from the idea that our time here is so desperately short.

Close your computer, take 15 minutes of silence and imagine that this is your last week – give it enough time.  Make it real.

If you do a good job, you’ll look at everything differently – friendship, marriage, kids, possessions, career, worries, fears, goals, broken relationships, values. You’ll find that death brings a quality to life that “immortality” can’t.

Living with death is a quick remedy for the bullshit that we allow to move into our minds, our tendency to feel like the very cosmos has set it’s will against us, that life’s not fair, that we need more.

So many times I feel like I’m living in a giant, shiny, silver tube, where all I can see is a glimmer of what’s ahead, completely blind to the beauty and the weight that surrounds me.  The not-so-distant reality of my death makes me sad, but brings with it the reminder that I have a great life.


30 thoughts on “A Good Day to Die

  • Great post. Death is uncomfortable, but a topic that needs to be discussed. When someone brings the topic up, it is immediately shut down. I think we should talk about it more often and be more accepting of it.

  • Hi Mark,

    Wonderful and thought provoking post. If you do the best you can with what you have you are definitely headed in the right direction and if you can get someone else to stop and think along the way, more power to you.

    Thanks, keep it up.

    PS. Your children are gorgeous

  • Reblogged this on Pain – Passion – Purpose and commented:
    Wow…I was thinking about this topic recently! Whenever I think of my death, my greatest concern is my son. I only think of his life without me and how it would impact him. Of course my mother and husband also concern me. Then my thoughts drift to “ultimately, they will be fine.” In the context of this reblogged post, I must value every moment with my mother, husband and son while living – bottom line!

  • It’s interesting that your blog was delivered to my mailbox as I attended the funeral of a long-time friend Saturday morning. Sherry was a woman of remarkable faith and love. In spite of having to file bankruptcy and raise their 3 children on her own after her husband’s business collapsed back in the 1980s and he disappeared (literally) from her life; in spite of cancer attacking her body not once – but twice; in spite of her employer of 25 years letting her go because of the high cost of her insurance while she was in the midst of her most recent battle with cancer; in spite of all of this, she remained steadfast to the Lord. She never complained. She never asked why. She simply trusted God and focused on what mattered most. She raised her children to be loving and caring adults. She set aside the bitterness of the past that could have followed her through the years, and her priorities were her relationships with her kids, her grandkids, her (2nd) husband, and the people who were lucky enough to enter her life. One of the last texts she sent a friend summed it all up. It simply said, “love you”. That was Sherry. Just love. She knew what was important. The rest really is just bull****.

  • Lovely post, lovely reminder to really Live. Buddhists meditate on death, the idea being that when you stop being afraid of death you become able to live more generously; it’s fear that holds us back from living fully.

  • This is exactly what I thought of when my grandmother died. Her death really had a huge impact, that I was depressed for months. I realized then, life is so short.

    At the same time, I was also attending teaching courses. One of my courses gave us an assignment. We have to answer this.

    “Why do I do what I like to do?”

    While answering that, I ended up realizing that the things I considered liking (which I was currently doing) were not really the things I like doing. If I have to die right now, these were not the things that I would want to accomplish.

    After that, I dropped all my courses, quit my job and pursued my dream job. I enjoy teaching, but I know I wouldn’t like to teach for the rest of my life. For the past three years, I’ve committed myself in doing things that I want to do (should I die anytime). Morbid, but it helps to motivate myself.

    Awesome post. Simple, short, but it’s a nice reminder for someone hopping on your blog. 🙂

  • Hi, I have recently discovered your blog and the things you write strike a sensible chord in me. By coincidence, these days I kept wondering what would people choose between immortality for all those alive, but with no children being born anymore, versus the way things are now (mortals, with the chance of immortality through offspring).
    I’m reading Irvin Yalom’s book “The Schopenhauer Solution”, and you remind me a lot of the therapist Julius – warm and kind and with a remarkable capacity to go beyond the surface of people, emotions, to the depths of the being.
    Thank you for writing and sharing these things!

  • I think if this is the last week, I wont tell anyone, I would leave the internet because its not the most important, and I’ll spend the entire week with my family and friends and I’ll be really nice to everyone, I’ll read my favorite book and listen to my favorite music, and I’ll apologize to my husband for dying. on the last I want to be really clean, I’ll be by myself, I’ll thank Allah for this blessed life and I’ll die. happily.

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