Dying In Our Sleep

People have advised me that the best way to die is in my sleep. I’m not sure if they were wishing for my demise, or if they were merely suggesting that if I have a choice—whether to die while awake or die while asleep—I should make the somniterminous choice (that’s a word I made up, by the way).

But is that really good advice? Why would someone who’s enjoying a nice, peaceful sleep want to interrupt their nocturnal pleasure by departing their body and journeying to the Other Side? It’s like the alarm clock going off in the middle of a beautiful dream. Or like being shaken awake by some asshole, just at the good part where you’re about to have sex with a supermodel. That would leave me in a pissed off mood. I’d act like a grump, and then my departed relatives might not be so eager to welcome me.

Anyway, how many people actually die in their sleep? I suspect it’s a lot less than some of us think. After all, heart attacks are very painful. So if someone’s asleep and the BIG ONE hits, the pain is probably going to wake them up. It seems to me like there’s a good chance they’ll be spending a few minutes writhing around in coronary pain before the grim reaper finally hauls them off to the next world.

As for me, I don’t like the somniterminous choice. I want to be wide awake when the time comes. Let my last words be, “OH SHIT!” shouted at the grill of a semi truck, for instance. Then, if there’s an afterlife, I can leave the scene of the accident without having to deal with cops, insurance, or any of that hassle. It would be the ultimate hit-and-run.

I think dying in one’s sleep is overrated. What a boring way to go. As Hunter S. Thompson once advised:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Hunter S. Thompson, by the way, was the original gonzo journalist. The cartoon character, “Uncle Duke,” of Doonsebury, was originally based on him. He lived a wild life, riding with, and writing of, the Hell’s Angels, covering counterculture and Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, drinking heavily, doing drugs, shooting off guns, and thumbing his nose at authorities.

But ol’ Hunter couldn’t take aging and bad health. So at age 67, two weeks after football season ended, he shot himself in the head. His suicide note read:

No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun–for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your age. Relax—This won’t hurt.

His funeral was held exactly six months later, on August 20, 2005, with his ashes being fired out of a cannon, accompanied by fireworks. 280 people attended this funeral, including John Kerry, George McGovern, Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray, Sean Penn, and John Oates. Yep, this bastard was well-loved, inspired many, and was not the type to die in his sleep.

I don’t advocate following Hunter’s example. I’m sure I’d wince like hell if I put a gun to my head. But I’m also no fan of dying in my sleep. Just the same, I suspect that’s how it will happen. After we reach a certain age, we can’t protect ourselves from well-meaning young people who haven’t appreciated the deleterious effects of old age. So they insist on incarcerating our enfeebled bodies in nice, safe rest homes, where our half-lives fizzle out into nothing, while we wither away and disappear.

They’ll stave off death at all costs, gavaging medication down our throats, poking us with needles, and performing CPR as needed. And when we’re in that situation, perhaps the only practical escape will be to wait until lights out, pull our covers over our heads, and slip peacefully away into a sleep they can’t shake us out of.

I may not be able to avoid such a fate, because I’m too chicken to shoot myself. But until then, I may look into how I can arrange to have my ashes fired out of a cannon. That’s the least I can do.

Categories: Opinion

108 replies »

      • Science will never do that. Science is funded by the host country, and no country wants the “old folk” to stick around too long as we are a drain on the financial resources. Given that those same resources are being fuelled by a younger generation’s taxes, and given that they have a bigger voting impact than us ….. need I say anymore? 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

          • LOL!

            What a load of horseshit. They may be planning that crap for themselves but, “…dey ain’t a-gonna share whit us…”

            Take your “somniterminous” and add it to the Urban Dictionary. You could start a fad…or maybe a “Tweet Storm.” Seriously…

            So…what got you in the mood to discuss dying in your sleep and Thompson’s offing himself?

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’m getting old, you see, and my health isn’t the greatest. When you get this way, your mind turns to death a little more frequently. Besides, I think contemplating death is a healthy exercise. It helps prepare us for the inevitable.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I have some minor health issues but, at this point, the only way I’ll exit by my own hand is when the forced vaccinations start. And, then, I’m taking some of the sons of bitches with me, first. Or, if rioting overflows into my small town and winds up on my front porch…many will come with me, too, in that scenario. But, all of the above comes under the heading of “higher self choices.”

                Past all that, I (and my group) are working on reintegration. I’d much rather deal with my internal shit, communicate with my higher self and evolve, than to inch forward, like a bulldozer with the blade stuck in the ground, another day in my sub-human existence. We are SO much more than we realize and “dems dat run da world” KNOW that, as long as we are frightened and stirred up, no awakening can occur.

                I’m sorry you are having problems. Many are. I’ve improved some of my health with diet and exercise. A good psychological outlook does wonders, as well…which, I admit, is hard as hell in the current climate.

                Liked by 2 people

                • I remember forced vaccinations when I was a kid. We had to have them if we were going to attend school. If they try that with adults, I think they’re going to have some big problems.

                  Sounds like a good cause to me, working on internal shit. We all have something to reckon with, inside. I think it’s a never-ending, ongoing process.

                  I agree that diet, exercise, and a good psychological outlook are helpful. That doesn’t always cut it, though. Sometimes we just need conventional medicine.


  1. Getting old is not for sissies, that’s for sure. Too bad Hunter didn’t have the balls to handle it. I hope I do, however I meet my end – whether it’s a long slow shuffle or a more immediate “lights out”.


    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve always liked that Hunter S. Thompson quote, and I’ve already burned-off a third of my life sleeping. And a benefit of living a full life is that when it finally flashes before your eyes, it’ll last awhile.

    Kind of puts life into perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh gosh, what thoughts. I can sooo see you requesting to be shot out of a cannon!
    Sad about Hunter and the choice he made. I have always liked the quote you shared. Living each day the best you can!
    God help the employees of whatever Rest Home you go to if the time comes that you have too! 🙂
    I think dying while riding on the back of a unicorn would be a good way to go.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Maybe because I’m a Hemingway fan, but suicide seems like a romantic way to go. Just like the man you quoted, live until you decide you’ve lived long enough. But I don’t want to leave everyone pissed off at me, and I’m not quite as manly as Hemingway any way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My understanding is, Hemingway was suffering from a horrible, terminal illness. I don’t blame him for taking his own life. I hope if I ever find myself in his situation, I’ll have the courage to do what he did.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All I know is that I want to go fast when my time comes. Like my grandfather who was enjoying his winter in Florida and didn’t feel well one day and just dropped of a heart attack. He was told before he left for Florida that he had the health and body of a young man. He was 68. It devastated my grandmother and all of us but, he never suffered. My one grandmother suffered horribly and from RA I don’t want to go the way she did. Now why are we talking about death since you’re going to be around until you’re 150?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. johnny depp paid for much of the funereal Xpenses (so i seam 2 (dis)remember). and … my mom (most my family xcept me livid in aspen @ the time) votid for him for sheriff! (partially ’cause i had a sort of altercation (which, sumwhut astonishingly, did not involve a jail sentence) with the sheriff (whitmire) when he was a bit rude to my mom during a minor traffic incident prior to elexion time).

    Liked by 1 person

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