- Death & Loss of Life
Can We Choose The Exact Moment We Die?
This Is The Question In My Mind, From When We Lost My Husband's Mother Back In 1996...
I have been SO blessed to have had an absolutely WONDERFUL mother in law, who was more like a Mother to me than just "mother in law"! I hear the "mother in law" jokes from time to time and I have always wondered about them, I guess they were hard for me to understand because I was so fortunate that I had such a fantastic mother In law!
When we first got married, I remember my mother In law telling me that when her son (my husband) talked about me, she just KNEW something was different this time. I was not like any other girlfriend he had ever had, she KNEW I was going to be his wife, before I even knew it!
I can remember times when she and my father In law would come to visit us. We've lived in so many places since my husband was in the Air Force for 20 years. Each new place we moved to, they would come and visit. I remember one year in Hawaii when they visited, we took them to a Luau, and my mother In law (June) and I learned how to do the "hula" together, it was so much FUN!
She was an absolutely wonderful person, and I still miss her now, more than15 years later. She and I got along so well. When we lived in North Carolina, and when my husband was "TDY" (which stands for "temporary duty") someplace, she would sometimes come and stay with me to keep me company. Our boys were little at the time (probably two or three years old). It felt like we were teenagers having a "sleep-over!" I remember laughing SO hard one time. She had taken out her false teeth and put them in a glass, and I told her I had to go "take my eyes out" (contact lenses) and she said to me "you can tell you're getting older by the number of body parts sitting on your nightstand when you go to bed at night!" That little "nugget" of her funny wisdom has always stayed with me!
I have such wonderful memories of her being a great listener, great advice giver (although we did not always USE all of the advice she gave, she was very helpful many times). And I DO remember how mechanically inclined she was. Now usually you think of MEN not women who are mechanically inclined... I think she could look at just about anything and figure out how it worked and exactly how to fix it!
I had trouble with our lawn mower once, and she was the first person that I called. She HELPED me get it started! And she did this over the phone, from over 300 miles away! At the time, my husband would go TDY quite a bit, so I was alone with two little boys. I was in charge of doing grass cutting and other household things that are sometimes done by a husband (although a lot more women are doing them these days!)
It helped to always have a wonderful listener and such a helpful person to go to when things were not working right. I will always be thankful to her for that. She gave me some of the best memories and I cherish them.
Now the reason I'm even writing this is that she was diagnosed with a type of cancer called "Multiple Myeloma" back in either late 1993 or 1994. She was able to fight it for about two years, then she lost her fight in the summer of 1996. This is a bone marrow, blood cancer that is slow growing. It is a terrible kind of cancer to go through. Although, ANY kind of cancer is terrible to go through. If you remember, the first woman to be a Vice Presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro, had the same type of cancer, and she fought it for years before she succumbed.
I remember when the end got very near. It was just a matter of weeks, or possibly even days. We were referred to "hospice" and had a hospice nurse come out to their house to be with us until the end. I remember this woman being so kind, compassionate, and very helpful in walking us through the whole process of having a loved one pass away. Now she (my mother in law, June) and my father in law were VERY, very close. That probably hurt the most watching him go through seeing her on the verge of passing away.
I remember as the end was just about upon us. She seemed to be doing better for a very brief time, so my father in law went out to a nearby shopping center to get a haircut (a badly needed haircut!) She had told him go on ahead and get his haircut. By the time he returned home, she had passed away.
Now the hospice nurse told us that she had seen this happen many other times, and that from her personal experience, she believed that perhaps a person who is that close to death might be able to "choose" (for lack of a better word) the exact moment that they pass away. And she said she honestly believed that my mother in law had chosen the moment when my father in law was out of the room, so he didn't have to be there and watch it happen.
It was almost like she was trying to "spare" him in a way? It certainly would have fit her loving personality to do something like that. My husband was there in the room when she passed, and his sister and brother were also in the house when it happened. I was also in the home, but in another room at that exact moment.
I always wondered after that if we don't get to "choose" the moment, when it is that close to happening? It seems like a coincidence that this nurse told us she had seen this many times before. I guess we won't really know for sure.
But personally, I believe while we might in some instances KNOW that our time is near, that it is God who chooses the exact moment... and if it happens to be when one is out of the room, perhaps it is an act of mercy on God's part, knowing how upset the person will be to lose their loved one? This is just one of my many difficult to answer questions that I have stored up throughout my life! I have been teased about asking too many questions. I guess I'll always be that way!