I see my light come shinin’
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released
— I Shall Be Released, The Band

After our visit to a casino last weekend, Maggie and I came down with colds — bad colds. I don’t need to elaborate on what a bad cold is like. Everybody knows.

By Day 3 of The Great Misery, I got to thinking that I might not mind so much if the angels of the big sleep came for me. It would be liberation from the damn cold, yes?

Then I got to thinking about what it must be like for people suffering with serious terminal illnesses, and how the thought of dying might not be all that scary to them. Au contraire . . . Bring it on, baby. Get me outta here.

I thought about an elderly woman I once knew who wanted to die. She was in her 90s, frail and almost blind, and in failing health. She wanted to die. She’d had enough of life, she told me. And one morning not long after, we got the call: she had passed on during the night. She was liberated from her suffering . . .

Today I’ve been thinking about sudden death vs. slow, agonizing death. Which would I prefer?

Well, I believe the spirit simply sheds the mortal coil at death, that it carries on, and that it is actually a joyful experience.

So with a slow, agonizing death, I’m pretty sure I would welcome the great release — at the last moment, anyway, if not afterward.

But a sudden death when I am healthy and happy with so many things still to do in life? That might put a damper on the joyful journey through the tunnel into the bright light, yes?

Oh, damn, excuse me, I have to blow my nose . . .

— Jillian