We are obsessed with not dying.
Whether by breaking the barriers of biology, praying for a place in the afterlife or simply ordering a headstone, the quest for immortality – even if subconscious – pervades cultures worldwide.
As Robert C. W. Ettinger approached his 92nd birthday, he described the process he dedicated his life to in the hope that it will save him from his death.
"Cryonics means very low temperature storage of legally dead people in the hope that eventually advanced technology will allow them to be revived and rejuvenated and restored to good health," he explained. "I think we'll start seeing revivals sometime between 50 and 200 years from now."
Upon his legal death on July 23, 2011, Ettinger, known as the father of cryonics, became a patient at the Cryonics Institute he founded in 1976. His body is cryopreserved alongside his mother and two wives, awaiting revival.
Similarly, Karen Moore knew it would not be the last she heard from her son when he waved goodbye before passing away on May 17, 2010. Thirty-year-old Adrian Moore-Pleasant died 16 months after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.
Before he passed, she assured him he would be happy on the other side.
"I think when we die, it's just merely a shedding of the physical body," she explained. "The spirit goes on."
"There are times when I'm envious of Adrian," Karen explained. "I would much rather be where he is than to be here."
Rev. George Exoo has heard that sentiment many times. The former Unitarian Universalist minister and assisted suicide activist has been present when more than 100 people have ended their lives and has aided another 20 remotely. Before one of his patients passed, she told him she would send cockatoos as a sign she made it safely to the other side.
He traveled with a friend on a sales call the day after helping her pass. He walked in to the house to find a cage full of cockatoos.
"There she is," he said. "She's giving me the sign."
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