Sep 20, 2007

Do you believe in the power to control your own life or death?

I received this story from Chicken Soup the other day. I have seen it before, and have heard of similar stories of couples (usually older) that have passed away close to each other. Here is the story:

The Promise
By Thomas F. Crum

One evening I found myself at a conference in Washington, D.C. And as fate would have it, Bucky Fuller happened to be making a presentation that evening at another conference in the very same hotel. I got to the ballroom in time to hear the end of Bucky’s lecture. I was in awe of this little man in his eighties, with his clear mind, deep wisdom and boundless energy. At the end of the talk, we walked together through the underground parking lot to his airport limousine.

“I’ve got to go to New York City tonight for another presentation,” he said, looking at me with an anxiousness that I had rarely seen in Bucky.

“You know, Annie’s not doing well. I’m very concerned about her.”

We hugged.

Bucky Fuller had once confided to me that he had promised his wife Annie to die before she did, so that he could be there to welcome her when it was her turn. I took the comment as a hope, not a commitment. Which shows how greatly I underestimated Buckminster Fuller.

Shortly after Bucky’s presentation in New York, he learned that Annie had lapsed into a coma in a hospital in Los Angeles. Doctors felt that there was a good chance she would not regain consciousness. Bucky took the first flight he could get. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, he went immediately to Annie’s bedside. Sitting beside her, he closed his eyes.

And quietly died.

The power to choose life fully was something that Bucky exemplified. So much so that he had the power to choose death when it was time, peacefully, with arms wide open to the universe that he served. It was simply another courageous step forward.

Hours later, Annie peacefully joined him in death. He had kept his promise. He was waiting for her.

My question to you all is, Do you believe the mind has the power to control whether or not you live? I don't know. I have heard the stories, and am fascinated by them. When my wife Kathy had cancer we went to a meeting at an organization called Qualife. They had a speaker who was an Oncologist that had an interesting story. He told of a tribe in New Guinea that was deep in the jungle, that was still living the same as they had for hundreds of years. The medicine man had an ornately carved bone that the entire tribe believed was magic. When there was some sort of punishment to be delivered to one of the tribe members, they were brought before the medicine man who pointed at them with the bone, saying that they were soon to die.

All of them died.

He then went on to tell that as an Oncologist, they are the modern equivalent of this medicine man saying you have 6 months to live. When they went back through patients records, they found that most of the patients who were given this report lived pretty much the same until about 5 months, then went drastically downhill. That is why he was on a mission to change the way Oncologists worked, giving hope instead of bad news.

Kathy chose to live, and is doing fine today. I wonder how many others died simply because they chose not to live?


  1. I absolutely believe in this. At a cancer counseling session I attended with my sister, the counselor said there were at least two types of reactions to the news that a person has cancer. First, a person who was previously in very good health and quite accidentally finds they have cancer can go home, put themselves on the couch, and die within days or months. Others receive the news, say this isn't going to happen to ME, and fight it tooth and nail--and often live for many years following diagnosis. There are of course other reactions to the diagnosis, but these are the most common.

    I watched this with play out with my sister. She was NOT going to let the disease end an extremely productive and vital life, and her very faith kept her alive for an additional 25 years following her diagnosis. Doctors told us she would die within a year, but she chose not to believe them and amazed everyone with her belief that she would conquer her cancer. Only at the end, when she grew tired of a body that had been ravaged so horribly over the years, did she tell me, "I'm ready to go. I want to go." And from then on, I watched her descend to a place I never wanted to witness, and she died within months. ... Yes, I believe we make choices.

    Very interesting article. Thanks so much for posting it, SD.

  2. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Life and death are very driven by choices - if we are aware of that, or not. Science and medicine definitely have their place. If you are bleeding, go to a hosptial and get stitched!

    However, it is very naive to think that our brain isn't able to do much healing (and killing) by itself. After all, if we get a minor cut, our brain automatically heals it, right?

    Very few people can consciously tune into the deepest part of their own souls to clearly 'see' the mind body connection, but since humanity has been talking about the concepts since the dawn of man, it seems logical there is some ring of truth to it.

    There is a soul within each of us that either has the will to live or not; the will to do good, or not; the will to make change, or not.

    The choice is either conscious, or not - but it is a choice, regardless.

    Suggested read: Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl.

  3. I definitely think the mind is very powerful when we want it to be.

  4. I think I witnessed something of the sort with my grandmother. One of my aunts was literally clinging on to her mom for dear life, while my grandmother suffered horribly for years. If it wasn't for the rest of the family finally asking the hospice worker to talk to my aunt through her own grief so she could let her mom go, I hate to think how much longer my grandmother would have had to suffer.

  5. Being Pagan, I've always believed in mind over body. I am a huge believer in the power of positive thinking. I watched my grand mother fight cancer in her own way for 10 years when she was told she had 18 months. She didn't believe it and wasn't ready to give up. My aunt, who was always a bit of a hypocondriac die in 6 months.
    We do not understand the full potential of our brains yet, and as much as people say ESP and other paranoramal exeriences come from those uncharted regions, I believe the power to live or die is in the same region.

  6. Anonymous3:24 PM

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