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Slow or Sudden

I have a number of friends and acquaintances lately that have lost loved ones.  Some have died slowly after a long, long illness. Some have died suddenly. I just found out today that someone was e-mailing his brother yesterday and then found out he had died suddenly yesterday.

This all brings to mind the discussion I have had with various people. Which is better…to lose someone slowly or to lose them suddenly? Which is less painful or easier to deal with?

I lost my father on February 7, 2003 after a long illness. He had a lot of things wrong with him and eventually died of renal failure brought on from complications of diabetes. I lost my mother on September 14, 2006 suddenly when she had an aneurysm burst.

I took care of Dad the last 3 ½ years he was alive. It was in the forefront of my mind most of that time that Dad was dying. He wasn’t going to get better. He wasn’t going to go back to the way he was. The end result was going to be his death. Yet, with all that time to prepare, I was still stunned and grief stricken when it finally happened.

I was on the phone with Mom when she died. I didn’t realize it at the time. We had a short conversation because I was on my way to a friend’s house for dinner and I told her I would call her on the next Sunday, as usual. She said that was fine since she was fixing meatloaf for dinner and had to get back to it. I said “ok” and “I love you” and the phone went dead. At the time I thought she had just hung up the phone although it was a little odd she didn’t say “I love you” back to me. As I left for dinner, I thought that I would give her hard time about it on Sunday. What I didn’t know was that her aneurysm had burst and she had died. Just like that. Once again, I was stunned and grief stricken but this time with the added shock of losing her so suddenly.

So which is better? Is it better to have time to prepare and say good-bye? Or is it easier to just have it happen? The person who is dying will probably suffer less with the latter so it is probably easier on them. But, then again, they didn’t get a chance to say good-bye either.

Having experienced both ways first hand, I would have to say they both suck. It is difficult to lose someone and the only hope is that someday we will be reunited in heaven. My parents are waiting for me at the west gate of heaven. I know because Dad wrote that in my Bible. I will see them again and all will be well.

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