How Am I Going To Die? When Will It Come?

Dear Barbara, I am 90 years old and have been healthy for most of those years. I take a thyroid pill and have a bit of arthritis. I am active, do yoga, and lead an independent life. Being old and healthy, my question is how am I going to die? Do you think I’ll just not wake up some morning?

At first I was startled by the honesty of this edited email, by the question of how am I going to die? As I thought about how to respond to her I realized on some level we all wonder how we will die. It is probably on a deep, hidden level but there, hiding, waiting for our quieter moments.

I also thought as we get older that question tends to come out of hiding more easily. The older we are the more the question lies in the back of our mind. Old people die! How will it be? When will it come? Aren’t there poems about this sort of thinking?

After replying below to this lovely lady I thought about her and decided since I don’t think she is the only one with thoughts of “How, will I die?” I would like to share my response to her in this blog.

“First, what a great body and mind you have to be serving you so well at 90 years old. Now, about the question of how might you die? That is a question a lot of us ask ourselves, particularly as we age.

To answer you, I have no idea. You could develop a life threatening illness.

You could fall, have a stroke, a heart attack, get run over by a bus, be in a car accident or die in your sleep. From what you have told me your body is not giving you any signs of ill health so there are no hints.

None of us know until we do. Until a doctor says I can't fix you or until life intervenes and we die what I call a fast (unexpected) death. 

From your description you are living a great life; healthy and active. Make each day meaningful so that if you don't wake up some morning your life will have been the best you could have lived it. 

My life mantra is to find peace of mind, joy and fulfillment in each day. I wish you that as well.”

Something More about...  How Am I Going To Die?  When Will It Come?

I encourage all of us to have our Advanced Directives in place and let our loved ones know our wishes.  I like this guidebook: A Practical Guide for End of Life.  This uniquely authored 40 page workbook is designed to guide individuals and/or families in planning for end of life and after life care.

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Sherri Bryan

I’m 77 and in general good health for which I’m thankful. I’ve been care giver in the last couple of years for several I’ve loved dearly. Of course it makes you ask all these questions and I so appreciate these comments and your resources, Barbara. They are all VERY helpful!
BK Books replied:
Thank you Sherri. I’m glad you find my information helpful. Blessings! Barbara

Donna Fogarty

Thank you for sharing your insights


It feels to me her question asked more. If I had asked the question it would not have been because I didn’t know all the ways in which my life would end, but the underling is the fear of the unknown, the attachment to what sounds like a very vital life, and she may be asking not for the different manner in which she might die, although there is that, she may be asking, as I would, how do I feel about leaving, am I frightened or at peace with it; I will miss life, my family etc. I would ask her to talk more about it as most of us can’t “imagine” leaving… by any means. She may also live to be well over 100 and remain in good health most of that time, but still if am honest, it feels weird to accept, unsettling and yes, frightening, to “not exist.” Even if I think I’m prepared, and have done all the sacred things I might to ameliorate what is inevitable, death is traumatic. How fortunate she has you to help her go deeper, even help her “imagine” her passing and how she feels about that, not the death, but the not existing. It may be of benefits to concur this with what we know or don’t know about transitioning to another experience and the sadness of leaving those we love.

Jimmy Ennis

I don’t have any hope for my life,as two year and ten months ago,the most important think in mine life died and we had been married for 56 years and I don’t know what to do without her.She was my all and all,and death doesn’t seem to bad if only I can see her again.
BK Books replied:
Oh, Jimmy, have you thought about having how well you live your life without your wife be the gift you give her until you are together? Blessings to you! Barbara

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