The one thought that many people like to ignore is the thought of dying. As humans, most of us make elaborate plans about everything. Our education, career, marriage, family, vacations, and several other things. However, one thing that we hate planning for is our death. Planning for death? What a stupid thought, isn’t it? Death- The word itself has a negative tone to it. We cannot deny death. As much as we love life, death is the bitter reality of it. So in this article, we explore how we can die comfortably. We try to understand what a peaceful death is.
Of Death and Dying
We often hear people say, “Rest in peace”. This is the main reason why we should focus on how to die comfortably and peacefully. We all have heard about ways to live peacefully, then why is should we not talk about dying peacefully? Death is as much a part of human life as any other process or event.
What constitutes a comfortable death varies from person to person. The definition of a peaceful death also varies from culture to culture. However, every culture accepts that death is inevitable. There is an agreement that death is universal and an important part of life. Most of the discomfort around death springs from the general denial of death. We don’t like the idea that one day we may stop existing. This is why we don’t plan our death. We don’t plan it because we don’t like to think about it.
A comfortable and peaceful death would mean so many different things for different people. For one it would mean dying at their home. For some it would mean, getting to know the time of death so they can make important arrangements. Dying comfortably for some would mean that death comes to them quickly without any pain. Some would want to die awake whereas some would prefer to die asleep.
You can never really predict for sure what will happen at the time you die. Just like you have no control over the circumstances of your birth. Therefore it is very hard to exactly plan the process of death like you’d plan your wedding. However, what you can ensure is that the last moments of your life are spent peacefully.
How Do Die Comfortably?
Most of us cant say for sure when we will die. Except when we have a terminal illness or a rare condition for which there is no cure. However, there are several ways we can ensure that our last few years or days are spent in comfort.
- Save well: When you are young and healthy, you have a great potential to earn. However, you also have an urge to spend it. Often we forget to save some money for the future. The idea here is to save enough money for our old age or any untoward event such as an illness or accident. What can money do? Money can ensure that we receive the best medical treatment that is there.
- Invest: Invest money into pension plans. When we grow old, we may not have the strength left for a hard strenuous job. It is a good idea to invest money for retirement. Usually, when people think of a comfortable death, they think of a comfortable old age. Therefore ensuring that there is enough money for retirement can be a wise decision.
- Revaluation: Whenever we have time, introspect and reflect on our life so far. For many, dying comfortably is synonymous with a life well-lived. When people are satisfied that they have lived a good life, they can die with comfort. Therefore you can think of the journey so far. Fulfill the desires that you have. If possible, amend sour relations and spend as much as time you can with loved ones.
- Create a plan: You can make a will or a document where you can state your wishes. You can mention the kind of health care you need if you are in a position where you cant give consent.
How to Die Peacefully
Earlier we discussed the process of ensuring a comfortable death. Comfortable death is a death free from pain. A death where you can ensure that there are adequate medical treatment options that you have consented to. However, when we talk about peaceful death, we are talking about the near-death and post-death processes. It is also something we can consider for our loved ones who are dying- How can we make the process of dying peacefully for our loved ones?
We say that it was a peaceful death when the dying person did not suffer. Sometimes, when the loved one quietly slips away, we say that they have died peacefully. Here are some ways how we can reduce the pain of a dying person.
Do not take away complete control from the dying person. Honor their choices. It is important to consider their rights. To ensure that a person is dying comfortably, it is important to know what they want. If they cannot speak, it is important to treat them with utmost dignity. If a person has died already, one can go through their will to honor their wishes. It is important that the person who is dying feels that their wishes will be fulfilled after their death. This can lead to a peaceful death.
Hospice or Continued Care
The best answer to how to die comfortably is by providing sufficient medical care. A hospice can ensure that the last few days of the person are spent peacefully. Hospice ensures that the focus is not to extend life but make the remaining life comfortable and peaceful. To ensure that the person can die comfortably, continued care is very important.
Talk to the Dying Person
Whenever possible, talk to the dying person. Do not ignore the topic of death. Do not over-optimize death either. Speak to them about life in general, and help the person in recollecting their life memories. Additionally, you can speak with them of any last wishes they may have. You can assure the person that their wishes will be fulfilled. Additionally, you can also ask the person to share their thoughts and feelings with you.
Honor the Wishes of the Dying Person.
When we talk about how to die comfortably and peacefully, we also talk about the right of the person to actually ‘die’. As humans, we tend to save our loved ones from every circumstance. For instance, we may want to save our very very old mother, who is suffering from health ailments. We may give her the best possible medical facilities. However, we may not realize that we are only increasing her pain. Therefore we must be conscious of the person’s pain and suffering. We need to honor their wishes. We must avoid unnecessary medical procedures that cause more pain to the dying person.
Resolve Any Conflicts
If you are a caregiver to the dying person and hold any conflicts with the person, you can try resolving them. If the dying person has some other internal conflict that is disturbing them, you can listen to them and help them in finding meaning in life. A peaceful death is generally when the person has fewer guilts and is content with the life lived.
A peaceful death is not impossible. We have the knowledge and possibility of a good death. For the person who is dying, there will always be some amount of desire to live. That is natural. All of us desire continuity. However, death is the reality and life is an illusion. Death is the end of all good and bad things. Living life is effortful, death is mostly effortless.
If you have a tough time dealing with loss, at Epsychonline, you can find courses and articles that focus on the feelings of loss. They are self-help courses that offer tools for self-reflection too. Do check them out.