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The GEM Debate: Would You Want To Know Your Death Date?


So last night I came across a fascinating thread on online newsgathering site Reddit under the section Ask Me Anything, written by a poster who calls himself LucidEnding.

In reading the thread, this is what I could piece together; LucidEnding is 39 years old and battling lymphoma which has now spread. He is in constant pain and according to doctors there is no chance for recovery. He is not married and has no immediate family, only a nephew who gave him an iPad to communicate his last thoughts and feelings.

In 1997, Oregon passed the Death With Dignity Act, which allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with lethal doses of medication prescribed by a doctor. LucidEnding plans to do this Tuesday.

Take a read of some of the comments left by others on the site. Also click on Lucid’s name and read some of his responses. It truly is insightful and heartbreaking.

So I thought this would lead to a perfect GEM Debate for today.

Leaving the moral aspect out, would you WANT to know the exact date of your death – and how you would die?

Could you do what LucidEnding is planning and how would you spend your final hours?

It’s a thought provoking topic so let’s debate and as usual, please be respectful of other’s opinions.


  1. The Broke Socialite

    March 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Ummm. Yeah. No. I’m good.

  2. Deon Smith

    March 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm


  3. Rene Syler

    March 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    @Deon but would you want to know???

  4. juli

    March 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Not the exact moment. I think part of the punishment to the condemed is to be forced to dwell on exact time they quit breathing. That would mind F^&# me. But I would like to know the week. I’d put things in order and tend to some closure if need be.

  5. Mia

    March 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I don’t think I would seek that information but I don’t think it would bother me to know. I think I would feel empowered and it would probably help me with my procrastination issue.
    I asked hubby he said he wouldn’t wan to know. He said he thinks it would make the person selfish and care less since they know their time is limited.

  6. Auntie Lisa

    March 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    No. That would mess with my head too much! But if I did know, I might try skydiving or bungee-jumping the day before. 🙂

    (Those are things I would ONLY try if I KNEW I was going to die soon anyway!)

  7. M.E. Johnson

    March 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I am old so I do think about it. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I think more about HOW will I die. In my sleep would be cool. If someone was going to give me an overdose of morphine (like I think my son might have asked for) I guess I wouldn’t want to know when, I’d be afraid I might panic and back out. Of course being in great pain might change our minds, yes?

    All my final business has been in order for years, with updates when called for. I have no “I’m sorrys” left to make. I’ve told the kids and friend(s), “Don’t be crying, buy some good champagne and party down.”

    To lighten up this subject I’ll just say: I’m dying to find out what’s on the ‘other side’.

  8. Venus

    March 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I actually read a lot of the comments on there.. and hjis story is amazing.. in his case.. i am sure knowing isnt as traumatic as for those of us out of his situation. I wish him all the best.

  9. Rene Syler

    March 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    @ So true, great point. I wish him the best too..

  10. Wanda Reese

    March 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Wow. Can’t say I do not think about it–more than I care to, but having watched all of my siblings (4 sisters–have two brothers left) and my parents go, AND just having turned 59 in January, the thought crosses my mind often.

    Like M.E., I tend to be more focused on the HOW, rather than the WHEN, but, I suppose looking at it intellectually, it would be better to know, in order to prepare for those loved ones left behind. The question for the individual is whether they could handle the knowledge of it emotionally, and move forward from there.

    Three of my four sisters knew their deaths were imminent. The oldest, who at 47 was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), could not speak by that time, but she let my Dad know that she knew, and was able to express her wishes to him about care of her children (her husband split just months before); the second sister, had been an RN for 21 years, and had had successful quadruple bypass surgery years before—but went back to her old unhealthy eating habits, and reversed the success of her surgery. Her cardiologist gave her two years and she died two years to the day at 60. She also talked about it all the time, wondering out loud, “what’s Heaven like?”

    The third sister was only 9 years old, but announced to my parents out of the blue one day that she was going to contract pneumonia like our Dad had had some years before, but that she was going to die. She died in my Mom’s arms less than a year later.

    I suppose I would want to know—I have a daughter and would want to make certain she was okay–but I know at various points along the journey it would probably mess with me from time to time.

    Sending love and good JuJu to LucidEnding…

  11. Melissa

    March 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Part of me thinks I would want to know so I could live each day to the very fullest and spend time with my family.

    But I feel I should be doing that any way of course.

    I think knowing I would be terrified of the day coming.

    Not knowing…..ever since having my son I’m terrified of it happening too soon.

    So I’m no good, it’s a toss up. I’m going to lean with no.

  12. April Brucker

    March 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I personally would not want to know the date of my death, but I think we all know when we are about to die. The air in a way grows thicker around us and sometimes it is just inevitable. This past fall I lost a good friend to a combination of the side effects of HIV and other complications associated with the illness. Nevermind he was not the best patient. But towards the ladder part of his life he was supposed to do some sort of treatment but instead decided to go to Puerto Rico because the tickets were on sale. When I yelled at him he said to me with a twinkle in his eye, “The docs will always be here, Puerto Rico at this price will not.”

    At first I thought my friend was just being an ornery SOB but then it clicked that he knew he was going to die and time was running out, so he would do what he did his entire life, enjoy himself. That he did. He started cashing his disability checks and spending them on designer labels and had money coming in from a settlement and therefore decided to splurge. In addition, he didnt like his case worker so he gave her a bigger headache than usual. Maybe his life and health were a mess but boy had a Gucci bag. Not to mention he sprung for one hundred dollar sushi plates and manicures for yours truly.

    Unfortunately this fuck all behavior was too much for me because I didnt get it at the time and we had a falling out of sorts shortly before he passed. I found out about his death about a week and a half after it happened. And it took me months to get over.

    However he had some family members that were like vultures wanting his money from his settlement and benefit checks. Well lets just say boy spent it all. Maybe he couldnt take it with him but the people who thought they were going to get something were unpleasantly surprised.

    Maybe my buddy didnt live life the most righteous way. He sold drugs, did drugs, had sex with every man gay or straight in NYC and broke several of the Ten Commandments without a second thought. But one thing is for sure, he knew his time on this planet was numbered so he had a great time and didnt let being sick stop him. Sure maybe he wasnt chasing after God and prayer but he knew the clock was ticking so he decided to have a good time until the very end.

    While at the end of his life he frustrated me, now I understand. As a matter of fact if I unfortunately knew I was dying I would pAArty like there was no tomorrow and screw what anyone said as I made my peaceful journey into the afterlife. Maybe my buddy is in heaven with his Donna Karan Gold wings or in hell showing a demon how to properly service his G-spot with his poker, but one thing is for sure, he left this Earth with no regrets. In a way he is the smartest man I know and for that I will always miss him.

    But if he is in hell and I know when I am gonna die, he better be saving me a seat. If I am diagnosed with stage III breast cancer with five months to live I have three requests:m male strippers, cancun, and boy butter. Mwah!

  13. Pingback: The Happiness Exercise

  14. DawnKA

    March 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Yes, I would love to plan my trips, parties, concerts, other on my to do list before then. I would even shop for my coffin dress & have my goodbye party the night before.

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