August 18 2019
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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Will I Know I'm Dying?

Will I Know I'm Dying?


Barbara - August 27 2019

Hi Don, thanks for sharing the wonderful story of your mother’s final days. She certainly did a good job of leaving her body—affairs in order, said her goodbyes and gently left. That is a good role model for all of us.
My blessings to you and your family. Barbara

Don Eisenberg - August 27 2019

Since you all deal with serious stuff all the time, I though you might like to hear some levity.
My Mother, at age 90, suffered two heart attacks (we planned her memorial service by her request and with her participation after the first, and actually had the service- singing and all in her hospital room after the second), then went through extended rehab (I told her she had to earn her way back to her apartment!). She returned to her retirement center home on a Thursday. Early Friday morning, she called me (she was in GA, I in LA), and said, “I think I’ll be leaving today.” I said, “where are you going?” She replied, “I mean dying.” I asked, “how do you know?” She said emphatically, “I don’t feel like eating!” (Her famous quite was, "I always feel so good when I eat! We held that truth to be self-evident). I said, “don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right there!” I drive thru the night, arriving at 2am in a guest room. A few hours later, I went to her apartment and she was doing fine, talking, going about her business. Turns out she was up making herself breakfast at 2am! I asked, "so how did it go for D-day (Departure Day)? She said, “I didn’t get too far!” We enjoyed the weekend with her, arrange for some extra help, and everything seeming in order, I gave her a hug and kiss and drove off to Baton Rouge. An hour later, my sister (who was with her) called me and said, “she’s not responsive!” The diner had left the restaurant! So, no overt signs that the end was imminent (or I wouldn’t have left), but she sensed it somehow. In retrospect, it was a textbook “liftoff!” She had bid her adieus to all the family, she had heard (most of) what we were going to say about her at her memorial celebration, she worked her way back to her retirement apartment home, and she got her Last Breakfast- what more could a person ask for?

Here’s thanking you again for all that you do to help people to prepare for the inevitable. You have such a wonderful range of resources! One thing I wonder about, and don’t know if you address it (or even want to ) in some of your publications- final planning. Almost 2/3 of people who die in the U.S. die without a Will. That makes settling financial and material affairs much more difficult after they die. If, as families are wrestling with the other difficult aspects of death, they could (if practical) make some headway in formalizing those legal documents, that would make a huge difference later. Just a thought.

Thanks again- keep up the great work!


Joanne Sankowski - August 27 2019

With many deaths in my immediate family and me getting older I seem to want to more about death than I ever did. I have your book gone from my sight. My brother died in July of cancer and your book held true to how the end came.

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