Facing My Mortality by William K. Hall

It’s not often I get to send out a guest blog from one of my mentors. Dr. Bill Hall is a giant of a man. He lost his wife, Mary, after 63 years of marriage. Cathy and I loved every moment we spent with them. So beautiful, so kind, so generous, so committed to Jesus. I’ve put two photos within the blog. One is a photo of Bill and Mary at their 60th wedding anniversary. We were there and it was a wonderful celebration. The other photo was taken by me when I was speaking in Georgia at WinShape Marriage Conference Center. It’s the first daffodils of the season in Georgia. Mary was fanatical about daffodils.

Facing My Mortality by William K. Hall

The death of Mary has made me reflect on my life and how I am living it. Life is short! I will not waste my time on things that do not bring me joy or fulfillment. I will focus on the things that bring me happiness and make me feel alive.

Death is not the end, but rather a transition to something else.

We both contracted Covid on January 2, 2022, which was our 62nd wedding anniversary. By January 14 she was admitted to Mission hospital and immediately placed in palliative care with pneumonia. She also had leukemia a, which prevented her from recovering. Palliative care means treatment, but no expectation of recovery. I had to look up the meaning.

Mary was a woman of great faith.

She said, “Bring me the picture of my father, I will soon be joining him.”

Mary anticipated joining those who had gone before, and awaiting the arrival of the rest of us when our turn came.


Each of us has a due date or a “Best By” date somewhere within us and it is probably best that we don’t know the date. Steve Jobs said, “(all) … things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Many volumes have been written by religious men and women, philosophers, and fiction writers. None of these volumes are likely to provide the same comfort and anticipation of eternal bliss with a person’s loved ones as Mary had while calmly facing death.

38 years ago, at age 50 I was looking out my kitchen window at the Pacific Ocean and thinking, “I plan to live to be 100. I am now at the halfway mark!”

I decided to layout my life in five-year segments. I listed activities under several headings, such as family, work, intellectual development, spiritual development, and friends. I drew timelines for each activity, estimating how long each would be a part of my life.

Somehow, I imagined that Mary and I would live to around our 100th birthdays and die within a short time of each other. I did not anticipate either she or I living for any length of time after one of us died.  I had read of  other long married couples dying within a few days or weeks of each other. The surviving spouse had no desire to continue.

Although my chronological age was 87, my brain said I was a vibrant 40. On several occasions, my 87-year-old body would disagree, sometimes with emphasis!

Within three months of Mary’s death, I had signed up for Chris Epting’s memoir class, started two days weekly of Pilates and continued to work my usual

35 to 40 hours a week managing money for 89 client families. My 60-year-old widowed daughter had me join an internet dating site. She said, “I don’t want you to be lonely.”

My frantic effort to live each day fully was interrupted when my PSA hit a number that my urologist considered dangerous.

I had 28 days of proton radiation treatment for prostate cancer, which brought my PSA down from 6.5 to 0.4 only four months after the last day of treatment, September 26.

I suppose now I will have to think of something else to die of. The doctor agreed that I was exceptionally hard to kill.

I had chosen to LIVE!

Life is a journey and I plan to enjoy the trip. Life is precious and I will cherish every moment of it.

The Roman philosopher Seneca wrote, “Make haste to live, and consider each day a life!”


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[reposted by] Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi.

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