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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 09:58 AM
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The acceptance of Death
Back in 1971, I saw a movie of the week on TV called "Death Takes a Holiday." It starred Yvette Mimieux and Monte Markham, the former being the soon to be departed, and Markham as "Death" himself.

I was all of 15, and the film impressed me a lot. There was talk of how in the few days that Death wasn't "working" that people were suffering beyond measure, and that if it weren't for death, our lives here would be very different. It pointed out that death, in and of itself, is not something to fear. Death can be a release from suffering, regardless of what kind of life you might believe exists beyond our mortal existence. It is an ultimate reality, and for most people, it is simply part of life.

There are those, of course, who will battle death to the end. They do not want to accept that death is as natural as life, and they refuse to give in. Sometimes, this makes them suffer even more at the end, but many people admire those who engage in a war with the forces that be, and many who fight are often given legendary status. Dylan Thomas even wrote a poem about his father battling death at the end ("Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night") and for many, death is the one enemy we will never completely defeat.

A few years later, after I graduated from high school, I began work in a nursing home setting where many patients were terminally ill. I had to take care of patients both suffering and dying, and I often saw that death was often a blessing to some patients who suffered interminably. I came to accept death as just another part of living.

How do others feel about death? Has there ever been a case in your own life where death was desirable to someone who was suffering horribly? Has anyone ever fought death near the end and come back from the brink? Is there someone in your life whose passing influenced you to do something with your life that you would never have done otherwise?

Is it fear of the unknown that makes people defy death? Or is it hubris or arrogance that perhaps someone is too important to suffer the same fate as everyone else? When your time comes, will you be enough at peace with the world to go without too much resistance?

I have lived through multiple deaths in a short period of time. In August, 1983, my aunt died, followed by my uncle in October, 1983, and in January, 1984, my dad passed away. Two brothers and one sister all went within that time period, and within a couple of years, the rest all passed as well. The youngest sister, my aunt Barbara, was the last one to pass away in 1997 or 1998. One has to wonder why so many went so closely together, and if there was some sort of genetic marker that would have foreseen those events. But it also places a burden on those of us who remained--is the indication of their passings at relatively young ages just another indication that we, the children, will also perish at a young age?

Death is powerful, in more ways than we will ever comprehend. But it is also going to happen to all of us. Are we prepared for that final battle? Are we willing to move on to that stage, regardless of our beliefs on what lies beyond? Or are we too stubborn in some way to accept the natural end of life on planet earth?
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 10:06 AM
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1. My mother died when I was young.
And I was present at the death of a very dear friend who was terribly injured at a motorcycle accident.

It's part of life -- it's natural. I believe that the universe itself is a an enlightened being and that we are all parts of it, and that our essences are infinite, stretching into the past and into the future. Death is something that will happen to all of us, so coming to terms with it is paramount for our happiness, IMO. After all, "Death, to a well-adjusted mind, is the last great adventure."
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 10:08 AM
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2. Have you seen _Jacob's Ladder_?
Edited on Thu Jul-07-05 10:10 AM by leftofthedial
I'm not a fan of "afterlife" mythology, but that movie is pretty amazing.

People are afraid of reality for some reason. I guess I blame mythology and "religious" conmen. Once people become convinced there is a place where eating ice cream all day every day is healthy, it's hard to get them to eat, much less enjoy, their brocolli.
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Mizmoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 10:09 AM
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3. A good friend died in 1991 when he was only 24
He was hit by a drunk driver. He's been dead for 14 years. It's hard to think of anything about it that was/is positive or natural. In fact it still feels like a robbery.

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jackelope72 Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 10:21 AM
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4. I don't fear my own death...
except in the sense that my dying would leave my mother and little brother to fend for themselves, which would be a hardship.

I do fear the deaths of others, especially those close to me who I love dearly, and especially my little brother, who is only 9 years old and still has lots of livin' to do.

I don't know what's beyond this world, or if one even leaves this world when one's body dies. I myself have a very strong suspicion that before I was born into this body, I was killed in action in VietNam. I personally will savor the adventure when it happens, but the thought of someone I love being someWhere without me knowing Where they are just frightens me.

My grandmother died about a year and a half ago, but I didn't really look on it as a sorrowful death, because she was in such physical pain and was so far gone with dementia that she wasn't even herself anymore. Plus, she was mean and evil, but that's a whole nuther story.
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Patiod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 10:44 AM
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5. It's a topic that the Hospice movement is helping people face
Not the kind of death Mizmoon describes, but the type that is inevitable at the end of a long illness.

A study I read a few years back showed that people are equally or more afraid of pain that comes with a terminal illness as they are of death.

Hospice care makes that situation more bearable in so many ways - state-of-the-art pain control (docs that are more concerned with patient comfort then they are of FDA review), people who are comfortable talking about end-of-life issues, support for caregivers, the ability to be peacefully at home instead of in a hospital environment (constantly monitoring, intubated, woken-up, interupted, etc).
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Tallison Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 02:08 PM
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6. "Wheel of Life," E. Kubler-Ross' autobiography a great discussion of this
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