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Is This What it's Like to Die?


It was two weeks ago. Dawn had gone to lunch with a friend, and I was home alone. Having been ill from an abdominal infection, I decided to lay down for a brief rest.


Moments later, I began to shiver. And that was followed by violent and uncontrollable shaking.


Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I was confused—not sure whether it would pass quickly or whether I should call 911. When it continued, I reached for the phone. I was shaking so hard, I dropped it, unable to hang on, much less dial the numbers.


As I dropped the phone for the third time, my brother (who happens to be a physician) called me. When he realized what was happening, he said HE would call 911.  And the ambulance was here in less than 10 minutes.


The good news is I responded well to my treatment in the ambulance. And by the time I got to the ER, I was breathing much better.


Several hours later, I was released and spent a comfortable night at home.


I'm fine now, but for a few minutes that day, I thought I was about to make my departure. We may never know for sure what it was that caused it. It may have been an anaphylactic shock, but it was more likely a bacterium that entered my bloodstream. I'm just glad I survived it.


I've always said that I'm not afraid to die. But this belief had never been tested before. And I'm glad to say I wasn't fearful about dying.


Unlike what others have said, I didn't see my life pass before my eyes. But I did think about all the things I still want to do, the books I still want to write and the lives I want to touch.


Mostly, I thought about my wife and family and how difficult it would be for them to have to deal with my demise.


Luckily I survived. And this experience caused me to think more about how fragile our time here on earth is and about how things will be left when I do breathe my last.


Action Point

No one enjoys thinking about and planning for one's death, but we owe it to ourselves and especially our loved ones to make sure we have a current will and a valid living trust. It's the responsible thing to do.


Be sure your will and your living will (also known as an advance directive) is up to date. Make sure your loved ones know where it is. Don't make their lives any harder than it has to be by forcing them to make agonizing decisions without the benefit of knowing your wishes.



State-specific Living Will forms


Legal Forms Archive


By Michael Angier






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Last Updated 10/26/2005