Death is an emotive subject. You have little direct or personal experience of it. As a result, you are ignorant or afraid of death and dying. Rather than accepting it as part of your life experience, you find yourself running away.
Until the mid 20th Century, most people died at home, with their family and community around them. Death was an accepted part of everyday life, and old age was relatively rare.
Since then, our Western relationship with death has changed greatly. We live much longer, and most of us will die in a hospital, in a hospice or in residential care rather than at home with our family.
This means that remarkably few of us have been present at the moment of someone’s death. As a result, there is fear and sometimes even horror just at the thought of seeing a dead body.
Many of us therefore not only view death and dying with dread, but are unprepared to deal with issues that confront us when someone we love starts to die. We do not know what to expect or how to react, or how to provide the support our dying relative or friend really needs.
You may be fortunate in being able to approach your dying process at peace with yourself and with those you love. But that is not always the case. You can be frightened, confused, unable to express what you are feeling or what you need.
You may be afraid to die. You may feel you are a burden, to your family or society. You may be raging at the thought of being cheated of life. You may feel lost and alone, and desperate for someone to ask how you truly feel.
You may feel angry and let down by God. You may be clinging onto hope for a miracle cure. You feel as if you have wasted your life and be grieving missed opportunities. You may be desperate to die. You may want to make contact with ex-partners or estranged family or friends.
You may want to confess to things that have happened in the past, or to ask for forgiveness. This can be painful and upsetting for relatives, but it can also be powerfully healing.
You may become irrationally angry, blaming and resentful, or the medical and nursing staff, or the World at large. You may be missing relatives and friends who are unable to be with you.