Category: Death and Dying

Cultivate a Friendship with Death

Cultivate a Friendship with Death

Why We Fear Death

“Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.” – Bacon

There may be a thousand reasons why we fear death, but most of all we fear death because we fear the unknown, and death is an unknown entity to most people. We fear that dying may be painful and we do not know what will happen to us at the point of death.

Some people fear death because they imagine the dying process to be very painful. Death is not painful. In fact, death is often very peaceful and silent even for those suffering from cancers or other terminal illness.

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A Memorable Death

A Memorable Death

Marvin is 55 years old and he has a brain tumour. He is getting physically weaker by the day and is now having difficulty in breathing. However, he is still mentally very alert.

Although Marvin knows that death is imminent, he does not seem to fear death, at least not outwardly. As he is not talking very much about his impending death, I take it as a sign that he or those around him have not fully accepted the reality of his situation. I personally feel if this hurdle is overcome, it would make a tremendous change for all.

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On Death and Dying

On Death and Dying

While I was having my lunch two days ago, a patient of mine approached me and made a request that I go to her house to see her husband who is dying of cancer.

Her husband has been suffering of a cancer of the neck which has spread to the liver and other parts of his body for many months. He was growing weaker by the day and his body was getting thinner and more cachexic each time I saw him. I have been visiting him at his home once in a while to help change his urinary cathether.

When we reached her house, I went in and upon looking at her husband, I realised that he had died. To make sure, I checked his carotid pulse, a major pulse at the neck, and found that it was absent. There was no more spontaneous breathing and his pupils were fully dilated and not reactive to lights. I therefore pronounced him dead.

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How to Overcome the Fear of Dying

How to Overcome the Fear of Dying

As a doctor and a hospice volunteer, one of the most common fears that I encounter in my job is the fear of dying. In fact, this fear is so common that we have come to accept it as part and parcel of our life. In our fear-driven world where a lot of our actions are motivated by fear, the fear of dying seems like just another fear we need to live with.

However, I have had the good fortune to come across people who are able to die with courage, dignity and peace. During their final days and even up to the moment of death, they remained in peace and without a trace of fear. It almost looked as if they welcome death.

Regardless of the kind of illnesses they may be suffering from, each of these people have some common traits.

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