Author Topic: Are you afraid of dying?  (Read 1624 times)

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Offline Dante

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2012, 12:07:08 PM »
While I find the prospect of living for centuries to be exciting, to experience all the new experiences yet to be dreamed, I'm honestly looking forward to eternal oblivion.

I've raised a good son. I've done good works. I've helped people, and I've hurt people. I've had a blast.

But this life? I could take it or leave it. I wont care when I'm dead anyway.
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Offline wright

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2012, 12:51:13 PM »
I think that a lot of what scares me is the uncertainty of how long we might live.

I'm hoping for a good 20-30 more years, which is probably realistic, but on the other hand there's also a good possibility of that being cut way short, and in some ways it would be  nice to know, for planning purposes.

Not to derail the thread, but this is really part of the same question: Who would want to know ahead of time when they would die? Would it be liberating because of the certainty of how much time you had left and the ability to plan for it, or would the certainty of that deadline loom so strongly that you would spend too much time dwelling on it? Especially if it was preordained that you would die young?

Interesting question. I think on the whole, I prefer not knowing. I'm nearly 50; it's really begun to sink in that another 2-3 decades isn't forever. If the means to determine when I died existed and it turned out I had just another few days- or even hours or minutes- I think I'd panic. That knowledge would be a burden I'd prefer to live my remaining life without.

I've made provisions for my death: disposal of monetary and material assets (such as they are), organ donation, cremation and internment of my ashes. I have no dependents save my cat, and I know my surviving family would take him in. That's as much as I care to plan for my demise.
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Offline LadyLucy

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2012, 02:05:45 AM »
Yeah, because I would leave my babe and husband behind, as well as my best friends. I am not quite ready to die yet.  ;)


Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2012, 05:14:31 AM »
I am not afraid of dying, but I guess that only comes from not knowing the when or how of it. I think I would rather go quietly in my sleep as opposed to something horrible like dementia or Alzheimers (or, *shudder* after being stuck for months in a semi conscious or vegetative state).

Yes.  That's what I fear (hardly suprising, given the last year or two).  While I am alive, I want to be able to live.  I fear the gradual deterioration of my mind and body, to the stage when I can no longer enjoy the things I love, or where "life" is a perpetual cycle of fear and sadness, and burden and worry to my loved ones.

I tned to think I'm lucky in that most of the things I enjoy are mental pursuits rather than physical - reading, board games, and so on.  I can't imagine how terrible it must be for someone whose life centred around physical activities - jogging, playing football, and so on - when their body reaches the stage that they can no longer do the things they love.

Who would want to know ahead of time when they would die? Would it be liberating because of the certainty of how much time you had left and the ability to plan for it, or would the certainty of that deadline loom so strongly that you would spend too much time dwelling on it? Especially if it was preordained that you would die young?

As I feel today, I would prefer to know.  Death and dying has been on my mind a lot lately.  Only 43, but already I'm looking at all the books in my room and wondering how many of them I will actually have time to read again?  How many times I will be able to play this game, how much of my pile of unpainted soldiers will forever remain bare metal and plastic?  At least if I KNEW, I could prioritise a bit maybe.  It would also make financial planning a lot easier, knowing exactly how long I need my money to last for.

But I agree there would be a downside.  I'm reminded of the Heinlein short story "life-line", and the effects that had on people, and on the world.
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Offline Whateverman

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2012, 04:33:31 PM »
Endorphins are said to be released in the brain at the later stages of death. I can't credit or discredit that, but if it is true, it seems to me that this is natures of way of evolution giving us that final comfort before we pass out of conscious awareness. That to me, says there is great beauty in evolution.
I'm very much afraid of dying.

And yet, I don't think this fear drives me to believe religiously.  To a lesser extent, it drives my behavior, but only in a pragmatic sense.  I try to stay alive, etc.

My Dad died this last January.  To make this long story fairly short, I was at his bedside when he passed.  A life long smoker, the doctors gave him 12-14 months, but complications from pneumonia took him in 6 weeks.  January 29 at roughly noon, he was conscious and happy to see us in the hospital.  At 3 pm, he was choking to death on the phlegm filling his lungs.  It was pretty dramatic seeing him slip into unconsciousness, but at some point he was still aware we were present; I'd hold his hand, and he'd squeeze back.

At some point, he was breathing/choking (and this went on for an hour), but he no longer squeezed back.  Nothing.  There was no response despite the fact that he appeared to be alive and in distress.  Over the last 15 minutes of his life, his face (eyes closed) took on a more distressed expression, but he never once gave a sign that he knew we were there and crying.

This haunts me.  He appeared to be physically alive but mentally gone.

I'm mentioning this because it's a real-world example of the kind of thing you seem to imply.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #34 on: September 29, 2012, 05:18:38 PM »
Seeing loved ones die does cause great distress for me.

My grandfather was on his death bed for a few years. On the day that he died we all knew it was coming, that day was special. Doctors had given him mere hours to live on several occasions over the past decade but that day was different and all of us could feel it.

My brother chickened out and I was more than willing to escort him to the pub to have a beer while we waited for his last breath.

Looking back, I was scared to be in the room and actually witness death take my papaw.

I regret this.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #35 on: September 29, 2012, 07:51:24 PM »
I'm not sure if I am afraid, but I can say that I do not want it to happen.  Maybe later...:P)

Yes, death is a massively disappointing thing, for a human that has invested so much of itself in whatever this pointless game is. It may be less pointless if we could have more of it, or perhaps just more pointless.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #36 on: September 29, 2012, 09:29:14 PM »
My philosophy is that we die all the time. We are a multicellular organism and our body parts die all the time, we don't really care. What makes us what we are, is our mind. Nor just our mind though, as our mind is worthless without our memories and we loose them all the time. As soon as my memories are gone, I am dead. My memories are always constantly fading away. My children are 1/2 me and know many of my memories because I am careful to share them with them. Through them I shall continue to live.
I want to live as long as I can, but I don't spend time fearing death.
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Offline Nickolas

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2012, 09:59:37 PM »
My Dad died this last January.  To make this long story fairly short, I was at his bedside when he passed. 

This haunts me.  He appeared to be physically alive but mentally gone.

I'm mentioning this because it's a real-world example of the kind of thing you seem to imply.

I, too, witnessed the death of my father, also of pneumonia. More than four years ago. He went into a shell three years earlier when his wife of almost 60 years, my mother, died and with the loss of the love of his life he also lost his joy of life. And he enjoyed life more than anyone. He had slept away his final hours. When he stopped breathing I took his big hand in mine and felt for his pulse. It was still there but over the next half minute or so it faded to a quivering thread and was gone. Then he opened his eyes and looked wondrously - that is the best way to describe it - into the faces of some of us crowded in and around the deathbed. He turned his head and looked into the eyes of one of his grandchildren, then another and finally locked onto mine. He held his gaze steady for perhaps 10 seconds, his eyes as clear as spring water, and then he was gone. I closed his dead eyes and felt my heart break. He was a wonderful man. A far better man than I am. I mourn him still.

But, no, I do not fear my own death. What is there to fear? I lament in advance the effect on those I will leave behind, but there is nothing to be done. They will die too and eventually the pain that lingers after my passing and theirs will also pass. It is just the way it is.
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Offline stuffin

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2012, 11:06:53 PM »
I took my mother off life support. No big deal. Worked ICU for many years, seen many deaths, they are all the same, sorry if I seem cold, but death is the end, we need to accept it.

Obviously the death process is different for each of us and there lies the real fear.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2012, 03:35:55 PM »
Yeah I'm afraid of dying, I also am afraid of poverty. However I don't go around pretending there a magical truck of unending wealth in my attic that only becomes accessable after I'm broke.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2012, 04:30:13 PM »
I'm sure everyone is afraid of dying, to some degree or another.  It's just that some people have done a better job of facing up to it and preparing themselves for it, so they don't live in fear of it.  That, I think, is the real question that needs to be asked - not whether someone is afraid of dying, but whether they live in fear of dying.

To me, it's a little like worrying about dying from slipping in the bathtub.  Sure, it can happen, but it would be insanity to be live in fear of it happening.

Offline Gohavesomefun

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #41 on: October 02, 2012, 02:25:06 PM »
Thank you for the honest answers everyone.

A few people are confusing death with dying. I did not mean do you fear being 'dead' or the prospect and implications of death, but dying itself?
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Offline LadyLucy

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2012, 09:20:23 AM »
Thank you for the honest answers everyone.

A few people are confusing death with dying. I did not mean do you fear being 'dead' or the prospect and implications of death, but dying itself?

Dying for me is something I dread due to my family and friends, my great life, that I will be leaving behind. Death is accepted, and I do not fear it. It is a fact that the world keeps going even after an individual's death.


Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2012, 09:56:40 AM »
I'm not so special that I get to avoid death. I'm just like everyone else. So though I don't look forward to the day it happens (acknowledging that that could even be today), I understand that it is inevitable and I think I've worked through the denial stuff pretty well.

I'd like to fear death at least a little bit because I prefer the alternative, and fear can be a great motivator. And I assume I do. But so far, the issue just hasn't come up for me. I haven't had a close call in years, and as far as I know, I'm pretty healthy for an old guy. So I'm going to concentrate on the part where I'm still alive and have stuff to do.

Knowing that all deaths are not quick and painless concerns me a bit. I sat by my father as he died of prostate cancer a couple of years ago and that didn't look good at all. But he had a chance to say his goodbyes. And we had a chance to tell him we loved him. My mom, on the other hand, dropped dead in seconds of a burst aorta and neither she or the rest of us had a chance to say our goodbyes.

But we don't get to choose anyway, unless we're suicidal. So as of today, I'm not quite sure which sort death I'm going to have, hence I'm not very good at fearing it either. Everything seems to vague. In the meantime, I'm hoping that my self-assessment of being only slightly afraid of the process is accurate.

Needless to say, as an ardent atheist, I don't include what happens after my death in any of my equations. My death is it for me. It is cute that my atomic makeup continues to exist in a variety of other forms throughout eternity and all that, but that is just information, not comfort. Which is not needed.



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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2012, 11:49:47 AM »
I think that our general discomfort with and aversion to death is part & parcel of the survival instinct.

One thing that is a good perspective maker is the fact that unless you are a person of considerable fame, in about a mere 100 years, nobody alive will ever knew you existed.  In the meantime........


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Offline Tykster

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2012, 01:54:20 PM »
I view this conscious existence as perhaps the heaven that theists constantly harp on about. We ( westerners with the right attitude at least :p) get to "enjoy" our existence. Compared to not existing at all, on both sides - before we're born and after we die - this is a blast isn't it !?!?!
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Offline Aaron123

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #46 on: October 04, 2012, 02:21:26 PM »

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Offline Nam

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #47 on: October 04, 2012, 02:42:03 PM »
I have never been afraid of dying. When I was younger, I was more afraid of living, than anything.

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Offline atheist_squid

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Re: Are you afraid of dying?
« Reply #48 on: October 05, 2012, 12:12:39 AM »
I am afraid of dying.  I can't pretend I'm not... that would be dishonest.  I don't subscribe to the notion that just because it's inevitable that I should NOT be afraid of it.  It's natural to fear the unknown, but how we handle that fear is the crux of the matter.  I don't bow to a magical sky daddy--who is also his own son somehow--because I'm hoping he/they/whatever will grant me existence beyond death, though.  I just live, as best as I can, enjoying what I can *while* I can, learning what I can, and trying to make this world a better place in some teeny-tiny way while I'm here.