Based on my experience with expected deaths – the fundamental dichotomy that makes even painless departures miserable is:
- On one hand, we want to cling to life and remain conscious (either to see the loved ones, feel the sunlight on our skin or just be consciously alive) for as long as possible – literally, until the last microsecond.
- On the other, remaining conscious one can’t help but to think of the inevitable and near end, feeling completely powerless in the face of life’s finitude, counting the slipping seconds that draw towards the moment one ceases to exist, never to be alive again.
In my experience, this is, to varying extents, true for both the departing and the remaining of all different backgrounds – from retired military officers who have seen combat to housewives, with typically less exposure to death and dying.
This may be different for people of faith, but faith is not something one can acquire on demand. Also, it may prove challenging to some people of faith to remain so when facing the nearing (and, God forbid, painful) end.