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Can people choose when and how they die?

Updated on June 18, 2017
Kate Mc Bride profile image

Kate works in health care. She also earns by writing online. She has studied mindfulness and nutrition and uses these principles daily.

A Roman Catholic Perspective

It is human to err but God makes no mistakes
It is human to err but God makes no mistakes | Source

Roman Catholicism Worldwide

The word "catholicism" actually meant "worldwide" but since the advent of the internet it has expanded as per the Wikipedia link above. All Catholics (including Roman Catholics) believe in immortality & Heaven or they espouse to do so anyway. According to our parish priest here in Ireland, Roman Catholicism is a Devotional Practice more than a "biblical" one. Our Protestant Brethren are more biblical.

Some Eastern religions espouse to karma and reincarnation but Christians and Jews take the immortality standpoint when it comes to death and dying. In this hub, we will explore the question how to live and how to die. We have choices in how to do both unless we die suddenly. Read on and feel free to vote or comment with your views on this topic.

Light For Life

Let there be Light in Abundance
Let there be Light in Abundance | Source

The Tunnel of Life

Life is made up of daily choices, many of them routine but we have common humanity about one thing- most people don't want to die. Even those who commit sucide don't want to die- they simply want peace from their perception of the hardship of living. Suicide is the ultimate choice in whether we live or die but we are built to survive and live so I would argue that people who choose to die do not do so easily because we are naturally built to survive and live. Our instincts are stronger than our minds so making a choice to die by suicide comes with a final struggle to live which is a hard way to die. There are easier ways to die just the same as there are easier ways to live.

Those bereaved by suicide have a greater loss to bear than those bereaved by "natural" causes.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel on our road of life. We can choose to see it or not, no matter what our circumstances at a particular time.


Lighting a candle does not take light from the original candle.
Lighting a candle does not take light from the original candle. | Source

The Irish Drinking Spirit

Drink can kill the Irish and/or keep them alive
Drink can kill the Irish and/or keep them alive | Source

The Spirit World in Eire

The word "spirit" in Ireland means two things. It refers to the dead (also known as the "soul" in Roman Catholicism). A spirit in this sense of the word can be benevolent or otherwise. Irish myth and folklore is steeped in ritual and mythology about ghosts and witchcraft. For example, the cry of the "banshee" (fairy woman) is said to forecast a death of a loved one for anyone who hears it.

However "spirit" is also the Irish word for hard liquor also known as a "drop of the craytur" or in my case a drop of birdseed because drink makes me chant (sing)...and then some.

Alcohol can keep you alive or kill you, depending how you use it. It can also help one choose how and when to die. The Irish are both famous and infamous for drinking. Drink, in its place, can mellow hard times but as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, it is "cunning, baffling and dangerous" only to be used appropriately for medicinal and pleasure purposes by those who can handle it and those who are sober enough in their everyday lives to make sure they can use it wisely. Drink can be your benevolent friend or your cruel enemy and it is the same as dying- you have choices about whether you do your drinking wisely or otherwise until that choice is taken away from you by life's circumstances because there are no answers at the bottom of a bottle and alcohol is very cold comfort.

Alcohol is dynamite and a cruel, unrelenting master or a benevolent ally on life's journey.

It is very simple really- " Drink to Live but don't live to drink"

Drink to Live but DON'T live to drink

Drink: The Cornerstone of the Irish Spirit
Drink: The Cornerstone of the Irish Spirit | Source

The "Demon Drink"

How do you use alcohol?

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This Cartoon is Good for Young and Old

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

We only have moments, not minutes, hours, days, weeks or years-just moments.
We only have moments, not minutes, hours, days, weeks or years-just moments. | Source

Living and Dying

To summarise some of the content of this hub so far let us consider again how we can choose how and when we die.

We have already covered suicide and sudden death. It is relevant to repeat here that there is a possibility of sudden death (for all of us who are fortunate enough to be healthy enough to be able to read this) at any time day or night.

Consequently, it is worth having it at the back of your mind as you go about your daily business that someone else may be taking off your shoes at night and not yourself-simple as that.

The great thing about having this mindset is that it automatically makes you live in the moment as Mother Teresa says in the quotation here. You can use mindfulness and/or any kind of spiritual meditation but awareness of your mortality is the great leveller and allows for optimum quality of life on an everyday moment basis.

If you are thinking about how you live, you will die on the same terms if you acquire a terminal illness. If you make choices about how you live in this instance of terminal illness, you will automatically have choices about how you die-simple as that.

Beware of Secularism

We all have three parts-body, mind and spirit. The spirit takes over when our bodies die but we can have a better quality of life if we nurture strength of spirit while we live and go about our daily business. It is one of our three parts-actually the most important one. Secularism in today's world has eroded a lot of our spirit and is a major disadvantage of the internet(in my view, the only disadvantage of the internet). I have discussed this with our local Parish Priest.

Believe in something, strive for your ideals or you will fall for anything. Read on from here to the end. I am keeping the best for last.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune and do not preach your beliefs, Live them and keep your spiritual self to yourself to some extent because if you share it verbally, you will dilute it. It is yours and only yours/ In fact, the only thing you need to do is own it and live it-undiluted

An Overview of World Religions

Keep Knowledge of Your Mortality on the Back Burner to Improve Your Quality of Life

The heading her summarises all you need to know. Live your moments and nurture your spirit. You can use your body and mind to serve others but your spirit belongs to you and your God alone

Believe in a Higher Power to get you out of the driving seat.

I have only two prayers:

  • "Thy Will be Done"
  • I pray for Guidance from Above

I hope you enjoyed reading this hub. I will appreciate comments but I may exercise my right of no reply because I may only share my message once and only on my favorite place on the internet- Hubpages :-)

This is in the context of my point above about not diluting my spiritual life by preaching.

At the end, there is the usual Desiderata- my mantra since it was the 12 midnight mantra on Sunshine Radio in Dublin 1982. Listen to it regularly for love of yourself and by yourself.....and then some

Let Go & Let God
Let Go & Let God | Source

For the Secular Folk

Do You Have a Higher Power?

Do You Have a Higher Power?

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© 2017 Kate McBride

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      dorisnorma 4 weeks ago

      Hi Miss McBride: I am also Catholic and have often wondered why my Mother and I were told of the pending death of my Father and me of my Son. I keep telling myself that I'm glad my Mother had passed before my Son did, it would've killed her. I have visitors who come to me when I'm sleeping & have been woke up by them, recently when I had someone actually tickling my leg. Visions of my Son that were most vivid and helped me greatly because he was smiling broadly & actually looked very happy. Visions also on the night he died and voices of the Holy Spirit guiding & telling me what to do next. These visions and guidings helped me greatly on that fateful day and helped me to go on after my Son's death. I will be great full always for The Holy Spirit helping me to this day.....God Bless You. dorisnorma

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image
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      Kate McBride 4 weeks ago from Donegal Ireland

      God bless you too Doris Norma and thank you for sharing your comment here on HP. Those of us who have good, strong spirituality are blessed with the comfort of knowing and feeling there is a God instead of having to just believe or struggle with faith. Spending enough time in one's own company nurtures strength of spirit. My Sister died too but I am still very close to her and have a very special relationship with her. I appreciate God's guidance through her. It is a great help in the course of my daily business and such a comfort to me. I know others who actually pray to their dead too so I don't feel "weird" about it :-).

      I am away here now to check out you out here on HP and I look forward to reading some of your work. God bless you again and have a great day. k

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