RE: Proof of Brain: Life, Death... and Sometimes a Person Just Gets TIRED!
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Death is an unpopular topic. How good that you write about it. You speak from the heart of people.
Although our birth predestines us for death, everyone pretends it doesn't exist. People think other people are weak, overwhelmed, unable to face the facts that life is finite. I was talking to a friend about dying or seriously ill people who were visited in hospital by those closest to them and they said to the sick or dying person, "It's going to be okay. Soon you'll be fixed and you'll go home." The unwillingness to put oneself in the perspective of the dying person, the fear of how a sick person might react if one accepts his death or even lets it be known that one expects it, is great. We prefer to fib over this fact with phrases that are more meant to reassure the bystanders than the person who is actually at stake. To develop a real sense of the spiritual mentality of a dying person, to explore or to trust one's senses that this person has the desire to leave, is like a test of courage that we do not dare to pass. People who have not learned to listen to their own needs wait even on their deathbeds for permission from their relatives to leave. If they don't give it, it is difficult to say goodbye to life because you feel that others don't want to let you go. And so, some who are tired still agonise for days, weeks or months until their end. The selfishness of people knows no bounds here either, when those involved cannot bear to deal with death in a friendly way and actually want to banish it from their field of vision as well as their environment.
People like your aunt, who apparently did not need permission, are really worth mentioning because they show us that such a death is also possible. Those who have made peace with themselves will face this final journey with acceptance. "To die in one's sleep" is probably what most of us imagine as a good death. Without having to experience a long period of infirmity beforehand. Unfortunately, the health industry is such that infirmity is often confused with life support and, as you say, quality seems to be of lesser value, as long as you have a few months left.
It is claimed that such things are everyone's personal decision, but I observe the same thing as you, that even bringing up a rather unusual topic of death makes one a strange person. An octogenarian can still be legitimised to talk about it, but at 50 or 60, that's already abnormal. Yet we know that people die every day, regardless of their age.
I once heard the saying: You can expect old people to die, but not demand it.
We cannot keep the intergenerational contract, even if we have our own children, there is no guarantee that they will provide for us in old age. An impossibility in cultures where we know that it is the multigenerational community that has the old and the sick in its midst and accompanies them. As an individual, one hopes for the pension or the insurance sum, but how many people are cheated of this in inflationary times and have been abandoned by their government and circumstances? If you don't have a physical social network consisting of people and not pension funds, that is the life insurance par excellence. My mother provided that insurance by giving birth to six children (which she didn't necessarily choose either). You can assume that at least one or two children will take on the care. Which was the case with us. We children accepted her (strong) will that she never wanted to go to a nursing home. I'm glad she died the way she could before the present time and had a truly magnificent funeral. With a congregation of certainly 200 people who gave her last respects with traditional chants of a truly impressive nature. I have never experienced a more beautiful funeral service and burial.
My own time with her at her deathbed granted me strength and stillness, there were moments of great humour. I knew she was dying and nothing stopped me from doing what I felt I needed to do. I was at her deathbed from morning till night for a whole week, singing to her, massaging her limbs and stopping feeding her because she didn't want it. I treasure that experience.
Greetings to you.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, and for sharing your experiences!
Although this was many years ago now, when I first came to the USA in 1981 someone told me a bit of a joke:
Q: "What's the main difference between a European and an American?"
A: "The American believes death is OPTIONAL."
Perhaps because I was primarily raised by very old people — my parents were 39 and 43, respectively, when I was born — death was always very "natural" when I was growing up in Denmark... and continued to be so, in the context of my family. But the attitudes of the external world here in the US were baffling... as you pointed out, so many people seem incapable of truly empathizing with the dying or terminally ill person. I expect it is largely because if they actually did so, they would have to pause for just long enough to consider their own mortality... and they would rather forget that it even exists.
My mother was in her late 80s when she passed away, and unfortunately dementia had set in so she was not really aware of who and what was around her anymore. But even so, science doesn't know what happens from the inside to someone afflicted thus... maybe it was very peaceful for her.
HaHa! I must keep this one in mind. LOL. Thank you for the laugh.
Same with me. My mom was 42 when she gave birth to me. I often thought of her being my granny. Death was something natural in the community I grew up. In fact, my mom collected pictures of the deceased. They were photographed with the relatives standing around them. I found this a little strange as a teenager but the older I got the more it became reasonable to me why she was doing it. She died in the age of 86. She stayed clear minded until the end.
Yes, I see it the same way.
Here is one of the pics I found in our family photo-book (my father is on it, standing right next to the coffin):