I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work.

I want to achieve it through not dying.

                                                                          Woody Allen, American Comedian

With all his money and fame, Woody won’t become immortal the way he desires.   None of us will if escaping death is our goal.

When one is 75, it is hard to avoid the brute fact that you are nearing the end of your downhill ride.  When you are ill, even slightly ill as I have been the past week, you think about it more.  When this current bout of something at its worse seemed un-ending and not endurable, I just wanted to sleep without fever induced nightmares. That may be  what death is all about–a dreamless sleep. Better that than the fiery furnace, sadder than thoughts of heaven or my remaining hope that I am aware of becoming  part of an overspreading greatness, living eternally connected to awe, sunlight, and love.

Dylan Thomas advised those of us on that Downhill Slope:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”Rage, rage, against the night…

I want my old age to burn with living, I want to rave against the ills that beat us down,  I want to rage at evil, greed, and war.  But when I can no longer do any of that I want to go gently into that good night.

As the attached link discusses, I will be lucky if my wishes to die peacefully when I am no longer able to communicate.

The Paladin in Palliative Care: Miscast as the Black Knight « The Practical Psychosomaticist: James Amos, M.D

STAYING STRONG TIP  Live as much as you can today, enjoy all you have been given, prepare and hope the best is yet to come. Don’t live without some awareness death will find you.  Those with young children, those with any debilitating chronic illness, those at or near retirement age need to take care of the business of dying: a Will, An Advanced Directive, and Life Insurance for those with young children, a paid for funereal for the rest of us. Here is a web site to help with a will and funeral arrangements:  Preparing to die  and here is one to help with writing an advanced directive. 

It took me many years to get all three done, but now that I have, I can think about dying with less fear, less guilt.

One final tip: Advocate for the right to die.  I don’t want to have to move to Oregon to decide how and when I am willing to move on.  The euthanasia fears are greatly misplaced.  There are far greater dangers stalking us than Hitler’s ghosts. Moreover, if you want to rage into the night, choice and advanced directives are your best hope.

PRACTICE KINDNESS  Share this post with another. Kindness is a circle coming back to the giver.




  1. Pingback: Youth versus Age: Emotional Fitness Tips | Emotional Fitness

  2. I think I have gone over my fears of death. I just have issues with the actual act of dying of that makes any sense. I’ve had many dreamless sleeps before so I guess death is not bad at all. I have moments where I’m haunted about how I will die. Will I die at the hands of another begging for mercy? I’ve done it before at knife point when my car hijacked. Shall death come to me like the proverbial thief in the night? Are my fears irrational?

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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