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Monday, September 26, 2005

Death Protocol

Category: Life Winners

I would like to die in the following manner:

First of all, I want to live until I decide that living isn’t enjoyable anymore.  Then I want to enjoy dying.

Because I want to feel that my decision is justified and honorable, I would like to have discussions about it with peoplewho care for me.

I would like to have children so that when I die I can imagine that I’m not really dying.  I would like to have these children of mine with me when I die.

I would like to have my friends with me when I die, and I would like to be with my friends when they die, if any of them choose to go before I do.

I want to be comfortable as I lose consciousness for the last time.

I want to show the people I love that I can face death courageously.  I want them to hold me if I find that I cannot.  I want to be able to change my mind at the last minute.

I want them to understand why I feel that it is my time to go.

I want my death to be a big deal while I’m still alive.  I want to try to find pleasure in life even up to the last moment.  I want to go out with a bang.  I want my death to be the best rush of my life.

I know I must die eventually, and I want to do all that I can to prevent it from hurting the people I love.

I don’t think death should carry with it the obligation to mourn.  I think mourning should be an individual affect, reserved for tragedies which the individual could not control.

The purpose of this piece is to suggest the following:

  • People should be given ample opportunity to choose when they will “shuffle off.”
  • Such a choice is like the choice to get married, to have children, to enter a religion, etc. In other words, this choice should not be made lightly and should be accompanied, as those other choices are, by somewhat lengthy periods of weighing the results.
  • Once the decision is made, it should be reversible until as close to the moment of its execution as possible, much like the case of marriage, where the option exists to leave at the altar, sometimes to the great relief of some in attendance.
  • The execution of the decision should be accompanied by rituals so that its significance can be fully understood and accepted.
  • Accidental death could be objectively regarded as tragic if there were a death protocol, whereas without one, it is tempting to argue that “you gotta die somehow.”

The Death Protocol is a means by which humans can accept death.  Those who truly do not wish to be here would more easily express themselves and experience the understanding and love of their family and friends.  The family and friends would not be badgered by the struggle between our currently presumed duty to preserve life and the wishes of the elders we love and respect.