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seawulf575's avatar

How do you deal with death?

Asked by seawulf575 (12869points) 1 month ago
28 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

I recently lost my mom. She was old (88) and had been battling a problem with her esophagus closing up. When she was admitted to the hospital, she realized it was her time…that there was no real healing from a variety of things going on with her. She ended up at my brother’s home with hospice coming in and she was surrounded by friends and family. She ended up going fairly quickly and painlessly. She lived at the end of her life as she did during her life…with strength and grace, taking life (and death) on her terms.
I have a hard time getting really upset by the whole thing. Yes, I miss her, but I also know that death is waiting for us all. And she went well. And I got 60 good year with her.
So the question becomes, how do you deal with death? Does it matter how a person dies? Or is it just as bad no matter how they die? Do we fear death because of an unknown or an ending? What are your thoughts on death?

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janbb's avatar

First of all, condolences on your loss. I am like you. My parents lived to old age and did not die miserable deaths although my Dad had a long decline. I did not grieve overmuch at their deaths. As far as my own death goes, I am anxious about the idea of a long mental or physical decline but not that scared about being dead itself. I am hoping it will be as pain free as possible and I do not want my life prolonged by heroic measures.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I hold on others more tighter.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m so sorry to hear that. No matter how peaceful the transition is it’s still sad.

But to answer your question, I don’t think losing an elderly parent is the same as losing a child.
I would mourn my parents, but I’d be ripping my hair out and screaming on the floor over the loss of a child.
Not all deaths are equal.

seawulf575's avatar

So @janbb it seems the manner of death is a factor in your considerations and @Dutchess_III who dies seems to be a big factor in yours. And no, I’m not passing any judgements at all, just summarizing. Am I fairly accurate so far?

seawulf575's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 So are you saying you care more about the deaths of others and not as much about your own death? Is that because you have to live with the loss when it is others?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@seawulf575 No. I try to make peace with, and care about those still alive, because they will die one day too.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. Who dies is a big factor.

janbb's avatar

@seawulf575 Manner of death but also age. A brother died when he was 6, that gutted me.

rebbel's avatar

How and who, and at what age, and how close (or further) I was to them, makes all the difference to me.
I’m fortunate that at my age, I’m 54, I haven’t had to deal with death that often.
My grandparents from both sides have died (the last was around twenty years ago), a few uncles and aunts (some of which were friends of my parents, not real uncles and aunts), a few youth friends (young of age), and my brother-in-law.
The latter having had the biggest impact on my life (and my girlfriend’s), since he was young, close to us, and he ended his life himself.
One of my youth friends did so as well, but I was not that close to him anymore, and I was not in contact with my feelings at that time.
My grandparents’ deaths were traumatic, but also expected (they all got pretty old).
I got over those at a ‘normal’ pace.
And my mother’s first baby boy died after one day; that one is always in my heart, in a small back room.

My condolences on your loss of your mother.
I hope you have plenty of nice and warm memories to her, and you together.

cookieman's avatar

My level of grief depends on how close I am to the person who died and how untimely the death was.

I was very close with my grandmother, but she lived to 94. I was not very sad or upset when she died because it was a long full, life.

My dad, on the other hand, died at 62, 18 months after a cancer diagnosis; less than two years after he retired. That struck me as unfair and cruel and was very upsetting.

In all cases, I’m composed and fine through the services and even weeks or months after. Then it will hit me out of nowhere and I’ll be a mess for a bit. Not long though. Pick it up. Carry on.

I’m very sorry to hear about your mom.

gorillapaws's avatar

@seawulf575 Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your mother. I think the best way to process loss is by remembering that we keep them alive through our memories, and in our actions as they have shaped who we are. Also, don’t be surprised if you do get hit with a flood of emotions at some point. It’s not uncommon for grief to hit later. It’s natural and healthy to express those emotions.

Zaku's avatar

I start with accepting that death will happen for everyone, and relating to that, instead of pretending it won’t.

I also have long related to what “I” am as something not really the same as this physical body, thoughts and life. The one constant is always my conscious perspective, which is always the same. I’ve met this perspective again in ancient spiritual/mystic traditions, and it feels accurate to me.

That perspective also resonates with my experiences and way of being in some times of great illness or danger.

I’ve also read with interest many perspectives from people who have researched near-death experiences and past-life hypnotic regression and other such experiences, including skeptics and people who are rational and pretty clearly not attention-seeking charlatans, and it appears to me pretty clear from this (consistent with the intuition and traditional teachings I mentioned before) that some part of our consciousness exists outside a single life.

I’ve also experienced contact with ancestral spirits, and know people who practice ancestral healing work, which I’ve found to be extremely valuable, and which incidentally also fits in with all of this.

But even if I didn’t have any of the notions of consciousness being more than one physical life, I also had a realization when I was about 18 that it would at least eventually become “all right” to end this life. I’ve already had a good life, and thought I’d like to enjoy much more of it, I know it will end, and I wouldn’t relate to it as a tragedy even if there’s nothing more, and even if it had ended much sooner.

And particularly when relating to the death of loved ones and other others, while I miss them and could wish for more, I find comfort in realizing that all people die, and thinking of the great and positive things about those lives. There’s little point in wishing they were immortal, or that the past had happened differently, and less point in raging that those wishes aren’t true.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I’d have to ditto @Dutchess_III I feel pretty much the same way. If I were to lose a grand child or great grand child (we will soon have two!) I’d take it very hard. I imagine the only thing to stop me from offing myself would be a need to be there to get my wife through it all.

kritiper's avatar

I accept death as a fact of life.

filmfann's avatar

I tell people funny or happy stories about them.

chyna's avatar

I lost my dad when I was 17, he was 54. He died of a heart attack. I was a mess over that for a couple of years. I chalk that up to being young and that was the first death I ever had to face. My mom died in 2011 at age 80 after years of bad health. I was sad that she died, but relieved that she wouldn’t suffer any longer. Still, 10 years later, not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Not in a grieving way, but in a remembrance way.
@seawulf575 I’m very sorry you are going through this now. We all grieve differently, so there is no set way.

JLoon's avatar

Condolences to you, and respect to your mom.

I realize I’ve come close to death more than once. Because of activities involving risk, or threats from others who wanted to harm me. Still here and still living the way I choose, but it has made me think about some things.

Mostly, I think I agree with Socrates: “To fear death is to think oneself wise when one is not. No one knows whether death may not even turn out to be the greatest of blessings. And yet people fear it as if they knew for certain it is the greatest evil.” So I feel loss when someone I care for leaves this world, but I celebrate their life.

And I don’t worry about my own death – I just wanna look really good whenever it happens.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t handle it well. Denial, anger, numb then sad. My memories of important funerals are blurry.

My own death does not worry me at all.
If I had my choice I’d go out sleeping, love my bedroom.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So…you don’t want the bathtub going through the floor when you’re in it @JLoon? :D

raum's avatar

@seawulf575. I’m really sorry to hear about your mother. I hope you are finding time to spend with family and friends that also knew and loved your mother. That’s probably the best way to process and heal. And time alone as well.

I’ve read that you die the way you live. And the best way to make peace with death is to live well. And it sounds like your mother did just that.

I hope knowing that brings you some solace during these difficult times.

JLoon's avatar

@Dutchess_III – HA! As long as I’m wearing a tiara when it happens ;D

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sorry about your Mom.
As everyone has said we all grieve differently.
Dying scares the crap out of me,the dead part not so much.
I just don’t want the last part of my life laying in a bed crapping and drooling on myself.
Oh and as long as I go before Mrs Squeeky,if she goes before I do I don’t think I could handle that.

seawulf575's avatar

A few years back, when Hurricane Florence was coming for a visit, we (my family) debated whether to ride it out or to bail out and go visit my cousin in Atlanta. I even threw out the idea that they could go and I would stay to deal with the house if anything happened during the storm. My daughter asked “what if something happens and you die?!?” My response was that I would ask that they don’t cry endlessly about it. I suggested a party of family and friends to celebrate what I consider to have been a very good life. Tell stories about silly stuff or stupid stuff or kind stuff I did while I was alive. And then move forward with their lives. That pretty much sums up my views of my own death. It is a natural thing to die. I’m not ready to rush things since I am still enjoying life, but I certainly can’t live in fear of it.

flutherother's avatar

I mostly deal with it by not thinking about it. It is part of the natural order of affairs and only becomes painful when someone close to us dies. What helps in dealing with death are the formalities of the funeral and discussing your memories with others. The best way to avoid becoming overly morbid is to be among children.

A death is like a wound and it will take time to heal even when it doesn’t feel painful.

sincere's avatar

I retreat. Death is something I need to deal with on my own.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Death to me means leaving one world to another, like closing one door and opening another..deminison, spiritual realms.
For my late father and late mother I beleive that their pain was over and hopefully in a better realm.

Caravanfan's avatar

I strongly recommend grief counseling. May her memory be a blessing.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan I appreciate that, but really, I’m quite at ease with her passing. Her memory IS a blessing, and I continue to thank her for many things in my life.

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