Can we cheat Death?

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Death personified in Ingmar Berman's Seventh Seal

Death personified in Ingmar Berman's Seventh Seal

I’ve been away from blogging the past couple of weeks.  My mom has been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, liver and lung.  So I‘ve not been in a blogging mood lately.   I wrote about how my mum survived colon cancer 12 years ago, with the aid of serious vegetable juicing.  Back then she was given 6 months to live, but survived against all odds.  Recently she had her annual scan and was free of any sign of cancer.  Now it suddenly emerged form nowhere.  I find it grimly ironic and sad that after I blogged about how my mother survived cancer, it returned.

I have a friend who is a certified Pentecostal minister and another friend who is a pagan active in his local pagan community.  Both had prayers/healing rituals sent towards my mum.  I think Pentecostals and Pagans are both magical people in their own unique way.  Thank you Lettrice and Jamie.

Is it possible to cheat death?  Do we all have a time to die, set in stone, and nothing we can do will avoid it?  Do we have a date stamp on our lives, with an expiration date?

I wrote about a dear friend of mine who died of cancer.  How I hate cancer!  During an operation he nearly died and  he had an out-of-body, near-death experience.  At the end of this experience, a Voice told him “You have to go back, it is not your time yet.”  He survived for three more years before his cancer returned and took him down.  Back then we’d talk about his experience, and what was meant by “It’s not your time yet.”  This suggests we all have our time to perish and nothing we do will avoid it.

However, is it still possible to cheat death?

Can destiny and free will coexist?  Maybe our lives are like a movie.  Our past, present and future already co-exist.  Just like watching a movie, we live in the present.  But like a movie, there is a conclusion that we have not reached yet.  How else to explain phenomena like premonitions…glimpses of a few frames ahead?

I say we can cheat death, if only temporarily.  Our choices in the present create our future.  If our lives are like frames in a movie, then we are, to some extent, the director of our lives.  If we have a set time to die, we don’t have only one expiration date, but many possible dates depending on our choices in life.  Like a loaf of bread in the grocery store, we can pick the loaf with a later expiration date if we take the time to read the labels.  We can choose to live an unhealthy or risky lifestyle that will put us on one life track with its own expiration date.  Or we can live a life of good habits changing our personal expiration.  This is all obvious.

However, there is always the possibility of random chance emerging.  The chaos of life.  A disaster, a car crash, an accident, an unexpected illnes, something that has nothing to do with our personal choices outside of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  If lifestyle choices can cheat death to some extent, can we also cheat the Grim Reaper when it comes chance and luck?

I’d suggest this might also be possible, if we develop and listen to our intuition.  If life is a movie, we might change the ending if we have a glimpse of the outcome.  I think this happens far more often then anybody realizes.  Everyday someone senses something is amiss, and acts differently.  Don’t go there, don’t do that.  Avoid being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  And some people seem to gravitate to being at the wrong place and time like a magnet, attracting endless trouble into their life.  Do we want to go down that dark alley?  It can often be a fatal choice.  My family seemed to cheat death in 1967.

If we listen to our instincts, and sharpen our intuition, maybe we can cheat death (and other misfortune) for a time.

When it comes to cancer, can we still cheat death?  It reminds me of the classic Ingmar Berman film, the ‘Seventh Seal’, where a knight is playing a chess game with the personification of Death.  If the knight loses the game, Death claims him.  The film suggests we have some control over our life’s chessboard, if only for a short time and as far as it goes.   We all lose in the end; the point is to keep playing the game.  We have to be a fighter and not be passive when the Reaper is knocking on our door. 

In the end, we do all have our day, sooner or later.  Death is a part of life; we can hope it is later and painless.  I just hope my mom will be ok.  I love my mom.

10 Responses to “Can we cheat Death?”

  1. jim Says:

    They say our essential nature never dies.Don’t know if that’s true or not. It doesn’t make the loss of a loved one any easier true or not. Bless you and bless your mother. If it is her time,may it be as smooth a transition as possible. We will pray.

  2. David Says:

    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for the blessing. Personally, I have no doubt in the existence of life after death. We all will have to face the time our parents will part this world; it is universal. But it is never easy. I worry about my dad too. He has been married to my mom for nearly 50 years. What will dad do with himself without mom around?

    However, I am leaping to conclusions. Nobody has been planted yet!

  3. Stephanie Says:

    David, you have my sympathies. It is devastating to see a loved one face death and, even if it is outmaneuvered, it’s an unhappy reminder that that loved one will eventually be gone.

    It’s interesting that you wandered about to the possibility that we all have many potential dates with death that we take or miss for one reason or another. I think that’s so as well.

    The other side of the coin is that some decisions we make to prolong our lives might shorten it, the heart attack for the long distance runner or the reaction to the chemotherapy that sends one to the other side (as nearly happened to my father).

    The way I see it, it isn’t how long you’ve lived your life, it’s how you lived it. There is nothing sadder than someone who died before they had a chance to undo or appreciate their mistakes, telling the people they loved most how they felt, finding a path to reconciliation with estranged loved ones. There are old people dying alone and unloved who never learned and young people mourned by all who knew them.

    Enjoy the time you have, whether it’s weeks, months or years. There’s no more fulfilling way to cheat death than enjoying every minute of your life.

  4. David Says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for your kind wishes. You so right, how we live life is much more important then how long we live. And the quality of life is also important at the end of life. And when we have to go, may it be be swift and gentle, not long and lingering.

  5. Liudmila Says:

    Bad notice about your mom… Hope she can fight it and if she has to pass hope it’s easy for her. Unfortunatelly we can’t avoid tht our loved once leave us… And we have to have power to let them go…

    I live similar situation with (…) now and have an other problem: I was tired to wait the her death. Till I understood: I have not to wait for her death. I have to enjoy that we are together else.

    Excuse me if I did not find right words.

  6. David Says:

    Hi Liudmila, thanks for the encouragement. Looks like my mom might have a week to live. And a month ago she was fine. I at a loss to explain how cancer can spread so fast. It is really hard to see a parent dying being you, and being helpless. But we’ll all face that one day ourself, or to see our loved ones go away. A part of life.

  7. javier ortega Says:

    i agree that we cannot cheat death.And if we do then we will die a few weeks,days or yrs after…..dam death is very scary but who knows….all we can do is wait till out time is up and go 2 heavean or hell yeah 😉 anyways i believe that everyone has a limit on this earth and one could expand it or shorten it on their decisions unless something happens :():

  8. Andrea Says:

    I do think that it is just a waste of energy trying to guess whether there is something after death.
    No matter what you or somebody else may tell you, we WILL NEVER KNOW FOR A FACT whether that is true

    Dead people holding your hands or touching your shoulder?? Well, human imagination and wishful thinking are very powerful and they can make you feel real anything you’d lke
    The numan power of suggestion is an amazing tool that we don’t know very well, but that can easily lead us into unbelievable pseudo experiences without us being aware of it

  9. David Says:


    I respect your position. Proof of the paranormal is hard to come by, so why should anyone believe in such nonsense? I suggest an open mind on these matters is wise. Don’t believe in anything/everything, but also don’t deny the possibility that reality is more then it appears.

    I have an answer for people with reasonable doubts about matters outside science. Do what I did…and ask around your circle of friends, family and acquaintances. Inquire about stories of any near-death experiences, ghosts, or premonitions. We might be surprised that people we personally know had experiences with this. Then we have to decide…are they crazy?

    I also would recommend a site that examines science at the fringe, it is a podcast and quite excellent:


  10. Ian Roberts Says:

    When we learn to let go of the self and embrace creation we are on our way to cheat death maybe by dying before we die.

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