Over on my HinesSight blog, yesterday I wrote "My wife's sister died today. It was a good death." I'll copy it in here.
We're all going to die. That's 100% certain. Death follows life with a cosmic inevitability. The big question is: Will we die a good death?
This morning my wife, Laurel, learned that her older sister, Lynn, had died last night. Naturally there were tears. But not much sorrow. Because Lynn died a good death.
In fact, a very good death. Exactly the way most of us would want to go, Laurel and I definitely included.
Lynn and her husband, Randy, had driven to Colorado from their home in Kentucky. Randy took her there as a romantic gesture.
He had proposed to Lynn in Colorado. That's where they went on their honeymoon.
Lynn had some health problems. However, she wasn't feeling bad on their Colorado trip. Last night she and Randy walked around the town where they were staying.
Sometime during the night Randy felt Lynn slumped against him in bed. He tried to wake her up. Then he realized she wasn't breathing. He called 911. Efforts to resuscitate her failed.
Death sucks. Even when you're in your mid-70s, Lynn's age. Life is precious. Nobody wants to die so long as life seems worth living,
Yet when death comes, most of us fear the suffering that often accompanies a person's last days more than dying itself.
That's why Lynn had a good death. To die in your sleep while on a romantic getaway with your spouse -- that's a fine way to say goodbye to life.
No suffering. No lengthy period of physical decline. No beeping monitors in an ICU. Just going to sleep and not waking up.
Who knows? This could happen to any of us. Like, tonight. Or, tomorrow. Yesterday Lynn had no idea she was going to die. That's wonderful.
To be alive one moment and dead the next, without a lengthy string of moments in-between marked by fear, anxiety, regret, or other negative emotions that afflict many dying people, that's a very good death.