Unlocking the Secret to a Meaningful Life: Living and Dying with Purpose

I watched my dad, mom and sister endure long, painful, and extended deaths. Seeing how they died made me think long and hard about how I want to die. I saw how much they suffered, how much it hurt them and how difficult it was for me to stand by seeing their suffering. I decided I don’t want to spend my last years bedridden, and unable to enjoy life. It is also important that I don’t put my family through this either.

There is a phenomenon called “morbidity of death”. Morbidity is the state of having an illness or medical condition. Morbidity can cause death or not cause death. Morbidity, also known as disease, chronic diseases, can lead to spending years in decline. For an unhealthy person with multiple diseases, they can spend the last 10 years in decline while a healthier person might only spend the last 3 years sick and declining.
Examples of common diseases associated with morbidity.
  • Immobility. Using a walker or wheelchair
  • High blood pressure
  • Dementia
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Difficulty breathing. Use of oxygen tank required to breath.
  • Bedridden
  • Unable to feed yourself
  • Need help with daily activities: dressing, bathing, cooking
  • Isolation
  • Multiple medications
  • Specialist doctor’s vs only having a primary care physician
  • Hard of hearing
  • Diminished vision. Can’t read or write
  • Incontinence. Wearing diapers becomes necessary
  • Weakened spine. Stooped over posture. Unable to stand-up straight.
I have taken a pause to think abut how I want to die. How I die is dependent on how I live. Dying well starts with living well. “Live Well, Die Well,” is now my mantra for the remaining years I have on this earth
What does it mean to “die well?” Simply put, it is dying the way you want to. It defines the way you want to live. Answering the question, ‘what is the quality of life you want in your final years?” Do you want to deal with the effects of morbidity for a possible 10 years or would you rather spend a limited amount of time with such diseases?
According to the United Nations, the life expectancy for Americans in 2024 is 79.25 years. For men, it is almost 6 years less than that of women, 73.2 years. For women, they are expected to live 79.1 years. According to statistics, that means I have another 16 years to live.
If I live according to the average life expectancy, I have another 16 years to be above ground and living life to the fullest. Since taking a closer look at my remaining time, I have been pondering what will the next 16 years, look like and how I am going to make it happen. First of all, I don’t want to be average. I want to live into my nineties. I would prefer not to die with multiple co-morbidities, I would rather die by being hit by a bus on a bike ride or struck by lightning on a mountain top. That means I am living life the way I want to be active and enjoying life until the day I die. I know I cannot predict if a bus will hit me or lightning will strike, but I can increase the odds by doing those activities.
I say this with a grain of salt as to how I truly die because God may have other plans. I also know that God wants me to take up my sword and do my part in taking care of myself. He wants to make sure I am invested in the outcome of my life.
Dying well has become such an important piece of my future that I am doing a multiple part series on how to live well in order to die well. Please join me for the next few weeks and I will share simple tools that I have implemented, and you too can learn the tools of living well.
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