This past July I had a very vivid dream where I woke up, walked into my kitchen and saw my aunt (still alive) and my mother-in-law (already transitioned) standing in my kitchen. I hugged both of them and marveled at how beautiful and young my mother-in-law looked. She looked at me just as excitedly and said, "Your aunt has wonderful news for us. She's decided." I remember feeling very happy and hugging my aunt. She looked relieved but a bit scared too. I stared into her eyes and said, "Are you sure?" She nodded. I hugged her again and said, "This is the best decision you can make for your family and you're very brave. When will you transition?" She said, "In the next five to seven months."
When I woke up, I told my husband and he said, "No way. She's only 61 and is in perfect health."
I agreed with him and hoped my dream was wrong. My aunt had just welcomed her third grandchild and had just retired from a long and tiring career as a nurse. But two weeks later, we learned that my aunt was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She passed away this week, exactly five months after I had that dream. It's left me with more questions than answers. Do we really know when we're going to die? Do we really have any say in it? And if you could choose the date of your passing, why would you pick a few days before Christmas? And how could any of this be the right decision for her family?
I have no answers for these questions -- only more questions. But after the meditations I've been doing regarding my clients dealing with their elderly parents coupled with this experience, I am starting to wonder if we do have some say in our passing. I got the feeling that my aunt was strongly advised to die when she did and that if she hadn't her illness would have been a huge burden on the family. Could it be true?
When my husband was a police officer, I worried about him a lot. He would always say to me, "You have nothing to worry about. I'll fight my way back from heaven. I'll will myself to live." He said this with such conviction that I almost believed him. And years later, he proved this to be true. No one, not one doctor, believed he'd survive the shooting. And he faced one catastrophe after another in the hospital from complications with the tubes to pneumonia. But he fought every one and came back to his family.
So, I don't know, maybe we do have some say. This thought goes against everything I've ever been taught by my faith, and I'm going to have to sit with it for some time or just surrender it to one of the mysteries of life.