Premonition of death- The feeling that one will die soon

Over the years, newspaper reports of tragic death by accident, sometimes grieving family members would mention about the behavior changes or something their loved one said that indicates the person seemed to know he is about to die.

This can be a premonition of death- and this type usually happens to those of unexpected and sudden death like heart attacks, accidents, natural disasters …..and not by suicide or long illness. When one is not able to explain this, one goes into depression and sadness.

These recent weeks, I came across a few newspaper articles about these premonition that made me decide to write this article, the experience of a family I knew as well as my own personal experience of this.

Newspaper articles:

It was reported that during a landslide in Penang,  some foreign workers were killed on a construction project. One of the victims had a wife who is 3 months pregnant:

Canteen worker Noraini, 32, who is three months pregnant, said she and Ali Razak Mohammad Jamil, 23, were very excited about the pregnancy but now, he would never see his first child.

His body was found by the search and rescue team at 3.27pm yesterday.

“He had been in Malaysia for three years. He used to work elsewhere before finding employment at this construction site a month back.

Noraini added that about two weeks ago, Ali Razak suddenly asked what she would do if he died.

“And three days ago, I cooked his favourite ikan siakap dish but he did not really enjoy it and I did not think too much about it,” she added.

Source: Pakistani killed in tragedy was a father-to-be


In another story where a few children were suddenly swept away from a strong current at a waterfall, the father had a premonition about his daughter the day before the tragedy:

He was heard calling out his daughter’s name as he held the tracksuit.

It was a sorrowful scene, as onlookers and rescuers could only watch as the father called out to his child in a weak, shattered voice.

The tracksuit was found stuck on a tree root by members of the public at 11.15am today, some 500 metres from the location where Aisyah was swept away by currents.

Kassim confirmed that the tracksuit belonged to his daughter and said that she had worn it yesterday morning.

“I sensed something was different about her yesterday as she kissed my cheek and laid down on my lap, as if she was going somewhere very far.

Source: Langkawi waterfall tragedy: Body of last missing child found

True story of a family

One day in October, two siblings were chatting and somehow they arrived at the topic about death. The brother told his sister that he also had the feeling he would not live past 30 years but he already turned 30 so he sort of doubt his feeling. Shocked, the sister asked since when he had that foreboding feeling…because such kind of feelings are not something to be taken lightly. He mentioned since he was about 22 years old.

His sister happened to be involved in spiritual practice for few months and she got a little worried. This was further so when out of the blue, her spiritual teacher told her that she had to practice to help her brother. By November, she got her mom to accompany her to a religious pilgrimage trip and told her mom to pray for the guy’s safety and wellbeing, which the mother did together with his sister.

One day, during the end of December, the guy was on his way back to his house when some snatch thief tried to snatch his bag. The guy, thinking he was some martial arts hero (since he knew a little bit of martial arts) tried to fight the robber off. He then turned to walk off. The robber who had a parang knife hiding inside his jacket, took it out and attacked him from the back. He slashed his head multiple times, almost severing one of his ear.

At the final slash at the back of his neck, strangely, the knife just broke into 2 pieces. Shocked, the robber ran to the bike of his accomplice and they sped off.

In a daze, the guy stumbled back to his home- he was bleeding profusely. A neighbor who happened to be driving past asked him what happened….and why he was covered in ‘red paint’.  The guy managed to vaguely replied that he had been slashed. He then made it home, went into his room and sat on his bed with blood oozing out. His mother who was at home went into a complete panic and rushed out to ask help from the neighbor, who fortunately had decided to turn back from where he was going. The neighbor quickly rushed him to the nearest hospital. Fortunately that day fell on a public holiday so there was not much traffic (as the road to the hospital is well known to be always congested), else, the guy would definitely not make it.

The moment the car arrived at the ER, the guy suddenly felt very cold and he was losing consciousness. The doctors who saw him did not think he would make it but they still tried their best. He was given 6 pines of blood and had the operation to stitch back the wounds and reattached his almost severed ear. The doctors told him it was a miracle that he survived as he had lost so much of blood. And the last slash just missed his jugular artery by a mere milimetres.

Also, he had been slashed at the head and was bleeding profusely. It is at least 30 minutes from the time he was slashed till he arrived at ER.

This case was related first hand to me by the guy. After that incident, I did ask if he ever had the feeling he would die soon.

He told me he no longer had feeling that he was going to die. The experience changed him- he knew it was a miracle he had lived and had profound gratitude. He also donated blood regularly to hospitals.

Feeling as if one is going to die- is it accurate and if it is true, can anything be done to prevent it?

Usually a person who have a premonition would not know precisely when or where death would happen. He just somehow felt as if his time on earth was coming up.

I believe that in most of us, there are markedly a few ‘danger’ periods in our lives in which either we would make it or we will not. That can be marked by incidence of death resulting from illness, accident, attacks, natural disasters or self induced, ie suicide.

Not everyone would have the impeding premonition of doom but if one has it, it does not mean that one will not make it. Over the years, the best preventive attempt I observed that one can take to reverse or nullify it is through spiritual practice.

Even if….. one does not make it alive, the spiritual practice could give one a peace of mind. So there is nothing much to lose.

Each religious faith have ways of trying to overcome this issue.

As I am a Buddhist, I am only able to share what some Buddhist would choose to do based on the real life examples of people whom I know.

In Buddhism, some would make the wish in exchange to undergo temporary ordination as monks or nuns to go into full time spiritual practice for certain period of time. A lady I know was quite a well known Chinese medicine practitioner who is also an advanced meditator (she went into jungles and stayed on her own to meditate for days). At the age of 40, she wrapped up her practitioner business and ordained as a nun- full time due to her spiritual inclination and also the fact that she knew if she had remained a lay person, she would not survive.

True enough, she lost consciousness while on a spiritual pilgrimage in India and nearly died once but was being rescued by another nun with strong spiritual practice. Then she developed neck spondylitis which her head was constantly in a cast. Despite being a good acupuncturist and healer, she could not heal herself (even though she had healed many other people with success in the past). She mentioned to someone the illness was kammic and had to run its course. Also no specialists dared to do the operation as the location of her neck spondylitis made the operation very high risk that there was a high chance that she could be reduced to a vegetative state, losing functions from the neck down. About few years of suffering the painful condition, she encountered a visiting overseas professor who taught chiropractor course at a local university who managed to heal her.

For most of us, it is to make the best use of our time and also to put our affairs in order. For example, ensure we have a will and those of our employee funds or insurance policies have the intended recipients as our beneficiaries. We may also make a pledge to dedicate some of our time to help others if we were to survive ….but such promises must be honored.

I personally known of a lady who suffered from breast cancer in a rural area in Malaysia. Being a Buddhist, she pledged that she would undergo short term ordination for 3 months if she got cured of the cancer.

Her cancer did went into remission. But life got too busy and she was too worried about her children, grandchildren and her farmed vegetables that she kept postponing her ordination.

5 years later, her cancer came back and it had spread to her brain. Panicking, a remembering her promise, she went to a temple to ordain. The moment the teacher shaved her hair, the teacher knew she made a promise and asked her why didn’t she honor it? Eventually she made it to 3 months as  nun and it has been almost 10 years and she is still alive today.

Personal experience

When I was young, during a vacation a group of us girls went to see a quite well known fortune teller in Ipoh town. We waited many hours for our turn to see him. He made some prediction on each of us. For me, he told me that he had a concern that I may not live past a certain age due to certain energies in me not being strong enough.

One may totally disbelief such predictions or take it with a pinch of salt. Some of the life events he predicted about me did come true so I decided to keep in mind of what he said. From then I tried to live life the most purposeful that I could…. not the empty day of indulgence and enjoyment, though I do occasionally indulge myself. But overall, I worked towards using my skills and talents to help others. Also I constantly search for answers in life.

Eventually as my age neared the ‘danger period’, I had a strong sense that I had to quit my job. My brother at that point of time was looking for a better job for few years without any success. I mentioned that I could not quit so long as my brother could not work in a better company (as financially, it would be hard for the household to survived as he had very low salary). Two weeks later, strangely he managed to land in an interview in the multinational company (even though he had not managed to do previously).

The day he signed his letter of offer with the new company, true to the promise I had made, I tendered my resignation. Then through a serious of circumstances, I spent a year in Thailand doing voluntarily work and also deepening my spiritual practice.

I made it through that year.

Earlier this year, one particular night that I was driving home from work – I nearly got hit by a truck while turning out from a junction. Actually, I was supposed to stop at the function but I just don’t know why…. honestly, I really failed to see the oncoming truck. So I turned out the road to go to the other side and was surprised to hear desperate hon sounds. The truck was travelling on that road, a downhill slope and due to its weight and speed, it was moving at a high momentum. The driver must have seen me turning out and by the time he sounded he hon, I was right on his path…my side the driver’s seat being closest to the oncoming truck.

I stared at the coming truck…you know something like a deer caught in the headlights…totally frozen. Thoughts flashed through my mind… that’s it….any regrets? Nope, my heart answered I knew I had done the best I could but I did wish I could have time to contribute more.

Suddenly, the truck, in screeching brakes, managed to stop in time…. very close to hitting my car. Needless to say, the driver looked upset with me. I signalled my apologies profusely to the driver and his co-driver.  I reversed quickly to the back and could see through the rear view mirror the driver at the back staring with his mouth half opened. He quickly reversed his car so that I could have space at the junction to allow the truck to pass.

Should this be taken seriously?

If generally we are not neurotic or suffer from anxiety, but suddenly have this gut feeling of impending doom, I think we should not take this lightly. And I feel that if one have a premonition, it also means one is not doomed and there is a chance to be able to overcome this. The only way I know of how to do it is through spiritual practice like prayers according to one’s religious faith. One should also do one’s best to kind, ask for forgiveness and do not harm others. We ask for forgiveness of any persons or beings that we have harmed in the past or present, knowing or unknowingly. We really have nothing to lose as such practices can put our minds at ease. And it is always good practice to keeps our estate and financials in order, and nominate our beneficiaries or create a trust for our next of kin.

A recommended reading which I found through: The Death Instinct…A Time to Live, and a Time to Die?

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