Would you?

Between the business of getting our house in order and having 5 children, it hasn't left a whole lot of in-between time for Steve and me. We steal moments throughout the day but our one-on-one time is really just before bed or in the car. Luckily, we drive a lot, so we get the chance to connect. Some of my favorite memories of Jeremy are from our long car rides: dreaming together, laughing, learning about each other....those moments are so special to me. I try to soak them up with Steve too. Sometimes we read together, sometimes we dream together about what our future will look like, what our hopes are for our children, where we want to be, etc.

We love to play 'what if' or 'would you rather' or make up random questions like 'what would you do if you won the lottery?' just to pass the time and for fun. So, it was no surprise at first when Steve randomly and innocently asked me "If you could know how and when you were going to die, would you?"

Without hesitation, I answered with a hearty YES.

But maybe I answered too quickly.

This is a loaded question for me. As a widow, my perspective of life and death has drastically changed. I no longer fear death, and I still long for Jeremy and ache for the day when I'll get to see him again. Not only that, but I long for a place void of hurt and pain, loss and death.

The months after Jeremy died, I remember wishing I could know when I would die, so I could know how long I had to bear through life and to give me something to look forward to. But, as every widow will come to hate and embrace at the same time, life goes on. You're still standing and breathing, and you're not mad about it anymore. Still, I wouldn't mind knowing when I will die: to prepare myself and the people I love, and to give a goodbye that I was robbed of with Jeremy.

I told Steve that the only thing that would make me regret finding out was if I learned my death would be slow and painful. But then again, how many people get to do this when they find out they have a terminal disease that they know will take them slowly? Would it change my every day life? Would I live differently? I'd like to think I try to live every day to the fullest, but even I would have to admit that it might change things. And maybe the point is to live life in a way that you wouldn't have to give a goodbye if you didn't have the chance to; that the people you love already know what you would say.

All week, this question has been stuck with me. Would I find out? I am one of those people that does not like to be left out of things...I don't like not knowing, no matter how hard the truth is. There was NO WAY I was going to wait to find out the sex of my children when they were born if I could find out and prepare sooner. That's just how I am. And even though sometimes I regret this piece of my personality, I don't have the ability to not want to know.

What I determined is that I'm glad that I can't know, and that it's not my decision to find out or not. Even though I answered quickly with seemingly convicted assurance, the more I think about this question, the less sure I am about my answer.

What about you? I anxious to know, especially in this arena of widows/widowers - if you could know how and when you were going to die, would you?


Missy said...

I definitely don't have your perspective as I am not a widow. But my answer would be a hearty NO. I would be afraid that I would live in fear of that day and as it approaches maybe I'd become more depressed? Or angry with God? Would I tell my husband/family/friends/kids so they could prepare or would I not want to put them through that stress? I don't know, I just know that I prefer not knowing. You should watch The Time Traveler's Wife if you haven't yet, because the husband knows how and when he's going to die and you can watch that play out within the dynamics of his family.

Amber said...

I am not a widow but I have thought of this alot. Through different life experiences, one of which was losing a child in our family, I have come to the conclusion that I am so thankful that I don't know the future. I personally would be over-taken by worry and anxiety of "THE" day coming instead of enjoying the time that was left. After the loss of our family member, I just choose to live each day like it could be my/their last. I soak up moments that I would have looked over before.

Cari P said...

While also not a widow, I still say I am glad only God knows those things, simply because I don't trust what I would do if I "knew" would I plan? Record and write messages for loved ones? Do crazy things I dare not do now? Nice thoughtful post.

Paloma said...

This topic is too hard for me... I haven't lost anybody like that but it really terrifies me... even thinking about it... so... no ... I wouldn't find out.


BerryMorins Bits & Tips said...

No I don't want to know. It will happen when it happens.

Me said...

I would not want to find out, but I'm also the crazy one who wouldn't want to find out the sex of my baby until they are born :)


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