The End of Life by John Cali

Last weekend around the dinner table, I was talking to some of my family about death. Not a subject most people want to sit around casually discussing at dinner. But death comes to us all, and we all think about it, at least now and then. Not necessarily in a somber, macabre way, but in simply acknowledging death is part of life.

Many years ago, I read the book Final Exit by Derek Humphry. As the book’s subtitle says, it’s about “the practicalities of self-deliverance and assisted suicide for the dying.”
It’s a great book, and I’d recommend to anyone looking for alternatives to the standard, often horrific methods offered by traditional medicine.

Here are some sobering facts from Deepak Chopra, MD:

  • 90% of all medical expenses are end-of-life expenses where we prolong suffering instead of alleviating suffering.
  • Nobody benefits from the vast majority of heroic (medical) procedures that are done at the end of life.
  • End-of-life care should be about compassion, kindness, comfort, and peace.

My spirit guides have often talked about death. Here are a few of their thoughts:

  • Ultimately, you are the only one who brings death to yourself. No one else has that power over you. But you may well choose to die at the hand of another, or from some dis-ease. Or you can die peacefully in your bed, in a state of perfect health. You all have the ability to do that.
  • Every death is a suicide. But not in the way you normally use the word “suicide,” where someone deliberately kills his/her physical body, for whatever reason.
  • You often say, when people are suffering from a physical dis-ease, and are in great pain, their death is a “blessing.” It certainly is that. But so too is every other death, even those you consider tragic or untimely. You all die in the perfect way and perfect time, and by your own choice.
  • Dying is the easiest thing you will ever do. That is the truest statement you will ever hear. After all, you’ve had lots of practice — you’ve died hundreds, thousands of times before. When your physical life becomes anything less than joyful, when you are wracked with pain, physical or emotional, death can be a healing.
  • Ideally, you will get to the point in your physical life where you are satisfied, where there’s nothing left you want to do. You’ve done it all and now it’s time to move on to your next adventure. Every death is a suicide because you die when and how you choose.

Apart from the legal aspects, are you for or against suicide, assisted or not? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Please share with us below.

We welcome your comments and thoughtful opinions, whether you agree or disagree with us. Please keep your comments polite and relevant to the topic of this blog post. If needed, we’ll edit for clarity. Also, we’ll delete anything we consider inappropriate.

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21 Responses

  1. anny

    Hello John,

    I do not really like the term suicide very much because it has become so loaded with negativity. And I like it even less to use it for something I see as positive, that it is the right of each person to decide when to pass through door to the next world.

    I think everybody has that right and when people need help in this respect we should be allowed to help them. In Holland this is called euthanasia and it is allowed but under restrictions. It is not as free (or even obligatory) as some people in America seem to think. We were really flabbergasted when we saw on TV that some politician claimed that elderly people over here are being ‘euthanised’ without their permission and that therefore many wear a sign that they do not want to be euthanised. Where in fact they wear a sign to make clear that if they have a cardiac arrest they do not want to be reanimated. However, persons who do want euthanasia have to apply for it and have discussions with several doctors and maybe other people as well and have to be of sound mind. When you are suffering from depression, it is not allowed. Also there has to be a reason for it (a terminal disease in its later stages or an incurable disease which causes immens suffering). Even then it takes time before the actual act to prevent that people will take this decision on impulse at a moment of intens pain. So it is only possible to get permission after a very careful procedure and in the end the final decision is still in other people’s hands.

    I think that it is really very strange that on the one hand the medical world seems to think they have the right to do very extreme things in order to prevent someone from dying and then to say that he has committed suicide if he decides to end his life because it becomes unbearable at a time he would probably long since have died a natural death if he had been left alone. Somehow priorities seem to have gotten lost somewhere in the process, only because both doctors and patients are afraid of death.

    My mother in law died in a completely different way. She was almost 94 years old and still lived in the house she and her husband had had built for them when they got married. All of her children had beenn born there and her daughter with her husband also still lived there, as did her granddaughter with her husband and three children. Her life had become limited to one room in those final days when she could not go out anymore, but everybody came to see her and her granddaughter’s children played in her room every day. She died in her own bed, literally while she was on the telephone with our son and his wife in Vietnam, who had just got married. Her final words were in English, speaking for the first time to her new granddaughter. She had always wanted to meet her and had even wanted to go to Vietnam for the wedding some weeks before, but of course that had not been possible. As it as, she had wanted to speak to her new granddaughter and when she had done that, she left. The days before the funeral her body lay in her own bed and everybody could sit at her bedside quietly to say goodbye and the children still came to play in the room. Death was not something to be afraid of for them. At her funeral we as a family closed her coffin in private after a final goodbye with even a five year old greatgranddaughter helping to screw the lid on. Being present at everything and being take serious helped the children a lot to deal with the loss of their beloved greatgrandmother whom they had lived with all their lives.



    • John Cali

      Thank you, Anny, very much. I think Holland’s system is much more humane (and practical) than what we practice in the United States.

      What a beautiful and touching story you tell of your mother-in-law! Thank you very much for sharing it with us.


  2. Ed

    Great blog John!

    My wife’s father is dying of cancer at the moment, lung, liver, kidney, etc. He had stopped eating and was literally beginning to glow in bed as he conversed with us between rests. I don’t believe he is intellectually ready to go, as he continued to see doctors at his families’ encouragement.

    He is now on a bag full of medication, has begun eating some, and has progressed to a sickly, yellow/grey, tired, limp look. He has more energy now, and is able to spend more time with the families when they/we visit. My wife is happy with his progress, even though we all know that this is only an extension of his time with us, not a cure.

    This I believe summarizes why death has become the event that it has on earth.
    – those dying are not ready for death, because they are intellectually unaware of what is next and have not looked within for guidance
    – those who are loosing a loved one, are only focused on the physical life because they are intellectually unaware of what is next and have not looked within for guidance
    – in an effort to deal with these 2 issues, we attempt to extend the physical life.

    This is not necessarily bad, because it can give time for all parties to have some guidance “leak” through to their physical intellect. Support those dying in whatever way they choose to go, (remember that we all choose everything we experience in life) as well as supporting those that remain “behind” is the best that we can do to assist everyone in the transition to spirit.

    Personally, I am looking towards Elijah’s method of ascension, rather than the typical death experience. While I am not “religious” in my beliefs, I think that there is information and insights left everywhere for us to discover and we are now in/moving towards the ability to transcend death.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Ed, for your thoughtful comments. I’m sure our readers will appreciate them.


  3. John Cali

    One of our readers just told me about a website dealing with end-of-life choices. It looks like a great resource. I think those of you interested in this sort of thing would enjoy it. Here’s their address:

    Thank you, Laurel!


  4. Sam

    My SO’s grandmother’s transition sounds much like Deepak Chopra’s father’s. She was at least 105,(documented), maybe more but records were lost in a fire. She was a poor Mexican woman who could barely hobble around but she radiated love like a stove radiates heat. I met her only once and I’m grateful for that much. Anyway, she got up one morning as usual, had breakfast,, as usual, announced, “I think I’ll die today,” (not usual), and later went back to her bed to rest, as usual. About twenty minutes later someone went in to check on her and she was lying there, dead. I’ve based my death of choice on her example. *S*

  5. Micki

    Hi John,

    My plans are very similar to Cinda Miller, when I chose to leave this life, it will be in the comfort of my own bed, my Dad and Mum of this life (and have now already passed on) said they would be there to welcome me home along with all the those who I have been with in this life and have gone before me…it will be celebration time…but in the meantime I will enjoy my my life to the hilt.

    Love and hugs to you John.

  6. jerry

    Hello John,

    I think the phrase ‘choosing to die’ in western culture is frowned because of the usual controls used by various groups. When we start to ‘choose’ how our life or death will happen, we are truly empowered.

    I had the privilege to assist my wife cross over in the hospital after doctors attempted to save her. It’s an experience I will never forget and has helped me to see life and ‘croaking’ as Abraham calls it, in a more enlightened way. I feel that as we lighten our life and see ourselves as creator, crossing over will be like taking our next breath!

    Love and hugs,

    • John Cali

      Hi Jerry,

      What a beautiful response! Thank you very much.

      I love Abraham’s lighthearted way of talking about death — “croaking.” 🙂 As my spirit guides have long said, neither life nor death are all that serious. It should all be fun.

      Love and hugs to you, Jerry,

  7. Shirl

    For whatever reason, I have never felt that death was a tragedy. Certainly for those of us close to the person “going home” we may have difficulty in their physical absence. It is a selfish thing. . .and I don’t mean that as a pejorative. . .we feel their loss and wish they had more time here with us because it would please us.

    Certainly it is my truth that all death is a choice regardless of the manner. We each choose when we are ready to leave for whatever reasons.

    I’m looking forward to going to sleep and awakening on the other side of that door. My
    “spirit friends” and companions have often equated death with just walking through the door into the next room. . .and wow! What a great and wonderful next room it is.

    My promise to myself and the Universe/Source/God/Goddess is that I agree to stay as long as I may be of service and make more of a difference here than I might make elsewhere in the Multi-Verse, whenever that comes around to my being more helpful elsewhere I am ready to go. I don’t need any planning or pre-cognition, I’ll just answer that knock on the door.

    The thoughts of “going home” are always very appealing.

    Peace, Love and Blessings to all

    • John Cali

      Thank you very much, Shirl, for your always-wise comments. We appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us.


  8. Nancy

    Free will is the greatest gift we have on this planet. So why do we not allow ourselves and others to practice free will regarding death? Why does our society say suicide (assisted or not) is wrong, or a sin?
    I’ve always found it curious that the most devoutly, religious people – who talk about how wonderful heaven is – have such sad ceremonies when someone dies. They also spread the idea that suicide is a sin and keeps one ‘out of heaven’.
    This contradiction is obvious and odd to me.
    I wish we were kinder to our elderly, especially. Give them the honor of deciding when to go, without the guilt, and yes, even with a helping hand if needed, to send them on their way.
    Then, go celebrate the life they had!

    • John Cali

      Thank you very much, Nancy. I have the same questions you do about our society’s attitudes toward death. Funerals, at least to me, have always been celebrations of the lives that have passed, not a mourning of what might have been.


  9. Stephanie

    It was probably not more than 75 years ago that those who were on their deathbed remained at home surrounded by family and friends … sharing prayers laughter and stories .. until it was time to make their transition.

    It seems that the FEAR of death .. and the fear of ‘not-doing-enough’ … has caused us to rely on hospitals .. creating an unnatural death-experience hooked up to tubes and machines .. rather than a natural experience in the comfort of home surrounded by loved ones.

    If ALL death is a suicide .. and we lovingly provide assisted suicide FOR our pets .. then why is this not acceptable for humans … ?

    • John Cali

      Thank you, Stephanie.

      I can remember, in my own family, those times when our relatives died at home, peacefully and surrounded, as you said, by friends and family. I cannot think of any better way to leave. It’s certainly far better than dying in the often-cold, sterile environment of a hospital.


  10. deborah

    I don’t have a problem with suicide, assisted or not. Those who commit suicide by their own “hands” do so because they are in so much pain, whether physical or emotional or mental. I don’t believe that their is any punishment for those actions. Why would a loving spirit world condemn someone for taking their own lives when they can see no options? I have an open communication with my spirit guides also and they have never said anything against suicide. I have seen some of my family members suffer terribly at the end of their lives and felt like they had no choice because suicide in any form is “taboo”. I agree with you that all death is a suicide even if another person is resposible because it is up to each person to decide when to leave. I often talk to my family members about my death. I’m still young and healthy but dying doesn’t seem to bother me. It does bother some people I talk to about it, but in our culture death isn’t something one talks about. this is a great article. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Cinda Miller

    Hey John,

    Food for thought.

    I have a very dear friend that has fought a disease since birth. He has said that when the pain get too bad, he will have a “going away” party and then drink his “cocktail”. His family and friends are understanding of his decision.

    I think that the hardest part about the dying process is leaving those that you love and that love us. For myself, I would have to say my good byes to those that I care for and receive their blessings. It would be too hard for me to make it a surprise exit, leaving my loved ones to bear the shock.

    I do understand that every death is a suicide. Jesus said “No one takes my life, I lay it down willingly”, that sounds like suicide to me.

    I am hoping to leave this life while sleeping peacefully, dreaming about shopping for shoes.


    • John Cali

      Thank you, Cinda, for sharing your comments. I particularly enjoyed what you said in your last sentence: “I am hoping to leave this life while sleeping peacefully, dreaming about shopping for shoes.” That’s great!

      Deepak Chopra once talked about his father’s death. Like his son, he was also a medical doctor. In his 80s, he worked at his medical practice till the day he died. That night, as he and his wife went to bed, he asked her to hold his hand — he was “leaving,” he told her. He died peacefully in his sleep that night.

      What a beautiful way to go!


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