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A thread about Death

Vendrah

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Well, its a delicate subject yet I think this might be a good place to discuss it.

As we know, our forum base is getting older and its a lot old than the internet. This community is probably not full of people on their 20's, but rather on their 30's and some people on their 40's as well. Sure, there are some teens - "younglings" - comming here at times, yes, but they became a minority (I think, I don't know the stats). One recurring trend that I noticed by reading some of the deepest section of the forum for those >500, its that some people here had started - I am not citing any names or examples, its delicate - to lose their grandparents, parents and some close family as well, getting very sad. These kinds of messages are not really the messages we see in forums at all, specially because we were younger back them on the forum's age.

So, I think we should have a thread that discuss... literally about death. The death thread.

Just giving my two cents.. "my relationship with death" becomes because I did had a strong and recurring suicide thoughts on the past (and its not a distant past) on which I've wanted to die in some moments. I even had a dream where death appeared as an entity right on my door. I wanna get out of bed and be taken by it, but one side of myself still wanted to live, much to the my own dismay at that day. I do wish for a peaceful (and not painful) death and dying on sleep is one of the best deaths ever.

This had changed my relationship because I sort of lose - at least a bit - the fear of death, since there was still at least one day in my life where death was not a fear, but rather a wish. Even when I don't have these death wishes anymore, it still changed it permanently.

I had a co-worker which his life had lost his mom... Although her mom was already really sick for more than an year, it was still very sad and a schock.

I havent experienced the death of close family members yet, but, still, I see death as a natural part of our lives. Its more of a fact, actually. Deep down, I even saw this through typology a bit, we live on an environment where there is an important balance between life and death. Life ends in death, but also, more rigorously, life mostly starts in death as well. The food our mothers ate came from plants and animals (well, you remove the animal part if mother is vegetarian) who were dead at time when eaten, and these substances are related to our very first cells. Its life coming from death. And as well, death needs life because no thing can be dead if it wasn't ever alive. Death ends in life but also starts from life. And life ends in death but also starts with death. I don't think its a pretty cicle and circle (even if I may sound poethic) but it is what it is, and with time I've started to see it as more of a natural thing than ever, its something that we have to accept. Actually, deep down, at least for me and for people like me, there will always be a side closer to death and another that will resist death, and even the lack of harmony between these sides can have not so good consequences for me.

Reminder: This thread is not about my experiences alone, its about death itself.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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I've thought about death often, even dating back to an early age.

I think people are encouraged in this country to think death will never happen to them or anyone they know, or at least, it may not happen soon. I felt this way in my teens and early twenties.

But I think many people, even as they age, don't think about it. I don't think that's a good thing. That leads to assuming there will be a "next time" with family and friends, when there may not be. For instance, I regret not doing more to stay in touch with my grandfather during his last year, even when I said would.

I find it interesting the way other cultures approach death. I think Mexico is particularly interesting in how they approach it, and I'd love to read an anthroplogical approach. From what I can seen, it seems front and center in their culture, from Day of the Dead to Santa Muerte to the film Y Tu Mama Tambien. Ironically, when I visited, it seemed as though people were alive. I wonder if it's because there's a culture understanding that they never know when their last moment might be. Coming to face with your own possible death (something which is likely to happen if you are reminded of it every year) might help with living life more vibrantly.
 

ceecee

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My grandmother died a few years ago. She was in her 90's so it wasn't some shock or tragic event. It was like watching a battery slowly lose its charge over a couple years. Then she had a stroke. She was living with my parents at that point and I was there when this happened. But she came back most of the way from the stroke. After that, she really just longed for death and would point blank as me, my husband or parents to please let her go. The only sadness that I had was that our society won't honor these wishes of dying people. It's cruel.

As far as myself and my husband, we planned for end of life over a decade ago, including medical living wills and all that and it gets revised as needed. My in-laws don't want anything back in the US but Finland seems to handle things in a similar way so it should be fine. My own parents have all their plans. It's hard to say how death and grief will be handled. I just don't think it's something anyone can plan.
 

Totenkindly

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When I was little, I remember having horrible nightmares when I was five and for a period needed someone to sit with me as I'd cry in bed. My mom thought I scared of dying; I was actually terrified of eternity (I remember all of this) -- the thought of something being so relentlessly endless and unfathomable, as I was taught to believe from a Christian background, was more than my little brain could handle. In some ways, there are worse things than death so to speak.

My mom is 81 now and will regularly say she doesn't want to live much longer -- she'll be happy to die within 5 years. She's not in poor health, although she has ailments. But I think it's been hard on her to watch a lot of people she knows die, and her two siblings are not in good physical shape and it's hard for her to watch them suffer or struggle. Since my dad died 10+ years ago, she's been living in a facility with various stages of care (she doesn't need any right now), and so she has seen a lot of people her age and older die especially during the intense moments of COVID. She believes in a Christian heaven, so she just views herself as having a happy afterlife, so why hang around?

I think as I get older (and I'm in the second half of a century now), I fear death less than just not being independent and/or being in pain or infirm all the time. I don't want people to care for me. I don't want to live a life where I can't see or hear or move under my own power. The weakness (which I feel coming on more and more as the years pass, I can feel my functionalities and faculties slowly changing) is more frustrating than just being dead -- especially if death is just a forever sleep, and once you nod off, then others experience the loss but you don't experience anything.

I usually don't think about death, it just is an accepted part of life now, and to dwell on it has no purpose. Maybe that is a younger person's game; when I was depressed during my first 3-4 decades of life (a heavy depression), all I wanted to do was die to end the pain and yet feared dying before I really lived. Now that I don't experience that crushing weight, I just live life and don't think about death. I can't really control when it happens. I could be dead in ten years from natural causes, or I might make it another thirty, but when it comes it will come, and meanwhile you should just live as you can. Experience what you can, make the most of it, find contentment, find purpose.

I don't really like USA society much in our fear of death. It's like our whole economy has shifted away from family orientation, where it is easier to care for aging relatives. Maybe having to observe people aging and dying, maybe being part of that kind of network of 4-5 generations of people (rather than this loose network at best or even detached and living isolated lives) would make us confront the daily realities of aging and infirmity and death, acquainting us with the hard reality of how it manifests and not fear it so much. But everything seems like a frantic scream after youth, wholeness, and hiding away the ill, old, and incapable so that we don't have to live with it. I also agree that people should be able to opt out in situations based on their own volition, although some people fear others could make hasty decision or be forced into it; but it's not a bad thing at times to choose one's time and manner of departure. Again, there's this frantic screaming and forcing life as a priority above all other concerns (and sometimes only certain lives based on religious belief.)

It might be why my culture seems to have such a fixation on horror films too. Just to feel something, and find outlets for the horror of not actually being able to living openly under the shadow of death so to speak.
 

danielfox

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Each of us, from time to time, ponders the meaning of life and the inevitability of death. Especially in our time, when the news is filled with events that remind us of the fragility of our existence. Saturated with information about conflicts, natural disasters, and diseases, they make us reflect on how fragile our lives are and how quickly everything can change.

Such reflections come not from fear or pessimism, but rather from a desire to understand and realize our own essence. We live in a world where misfortunes and losses coexist with joy and success. And in this complex world, we cannot help but contemplate the final outcome of our existence.

But perhaps it is precisely these thoughts about death that help us appreciate every moment of life. They remind us that time is precious and that it is important to live with awareness and gratitude, not missing any opportunity to be happy or to do something good for others.

So, thinking about death does not mean being gloomy or pessimistic. It is rather a call to mindfulness, to the value of life, and to the desire to live each day as if it were the last.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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But perhaps it is precisely these thoughts about death that help us appreciate every moment of life. They remind us that time is precious and that it is important to live with awareness and gratitude, not missing any opportunity to be happy or to do something good for others.

So, thinking about death does not mean being gloomy or pessimistic. It is rather a call to mindfulness, to the value of life, and to the desire to live each day as if it were the last.
I think this says it beautifully:

 

Totenkindly

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gee, I love ChatGPT:

The meaning of life is one of the most profound and subjective questions humans grapple with. Different people find meaning in different things - relationships, accomplishments, spirituality, creativity, and so on. Some find meaning in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, while others find it in serving others or contributing to the betterment of society. Ultimately, it's a deeply personal quest to find purpose and fulfillment.

As for the inevitability of death, it's a fundamental aspect of the human condition. While it can be daunting to contemplate our mortality, it also adds a sense of urgency and preciousness to life. Knowing that our time is limited can inspire us to live more fully, to cherish our loved ones, and to pursue our passions with vigor. It's a reminder to make the most of the time we have and to leave a positive impact on the world in whatever way we can.
 

Haight

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Without reading it I will just assume it states that we regret not working more hours during our lifetime. In the very least, the deathbed would be much more comfortable.
 

xenaprincess

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Without reading it I will just assume it states that we regret not working more hours during our lifetime. In the very least, the deathbed would be much more comfortable.
No, actually it’s about visions the dying have had, of loved ones who had passed… and very lucid or energetic moments the dying had, shortly before passing. The visions provided great comfort.

There were also many visions or coincidences experienced by their relatives, if they were separated, sort of premonitions. There were 1,000+ comments. Many readers shared similar experiences.
 

Totenkindly

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lol I think he was being a little sarcastic, no one lies there on their deathbed and thinks they should have worked more hours -- they typically regret the time they did not spend with the people they cared about.

I did read through some of the article, i plan to go back later. it was pretty lengthy but interesting.
 

xenaprincess

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The article is behind a paywall.
One way I’ve gotten around a pay wall is to do a google search.

Try googling ‘NY Times article death bed’.

It’ll be the top of the list.
 

Tomb1

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Death is having no more outs. You've been checkmated by the grim reaper...simple as that
 

Tennessee Jed

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On the subject of death, Dylan Thomas said:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


In another poem called "The Old Fools," the poet Philip Larkin describes old people sitting around with their mouths hanging open, drooling, pissing themselves, and he asks, "Why aren't they screaming?"

In the book "The Old Devils" by Kingsley Amis, one of the characters, old and ailing, compares infancy and old age and says, "From round about seventy, all those years of maturity or the prime of life or whatever you called it looked like an interval between two bouts of vomiting. Approximately."

I'm in my late sixties and the idea of death doesn't bother me one bit. The only thing that scares me is the slow fade before death: A long, drawn-out process of dying--a painful cancer, or senility and dependence on others to manage even the basics, or something else along that line. I already did one of those slow fades. When I was a kid I had a stomach blockage that turned into a severe infection. I wasted away in the hospital until I was skin and bones, hooked up to tubes and machines and immobilized so that I wouldn't pull out the tubes in a feverish delirium, slipping in and out of a coma. They eventually managed to pull me back from the edge, for which I'm grateful. But even today I recall that long illness and lingering at the edge, and I don't want to go through that again. That was absolute misery.

So in an ideal world I would prefer to see assisted suicide easily accessible. It seems cruel for legislators to act as gatekeepers on death and to deny old people a quick, easy, pain-free exit. Of course, I also realize that if death were too easily available, every angsty teenager or depressed misanthrope would be clamoring for release as well. And those deemed a burden on society might be pressed into it. So the gatekeepers deliberately make death as difficult and troublesome as possible, to keep it away from those who would be too quick to pull the plug on themselves.

In any case, self-deletion isn't all that difficult. It just makes a mess, especially if the attempt is bungled. But people have to do what they have to do.

I'm still more or less in good health, so I'm not worried about it for a while yet. And like I say, I don't actually fear death at all. It's just the dying part that comes before the death that gives me pause: I want to keep that dying part as short as possible. No long drawn-out slow fade for me if I can possibly avoid it. Been there, done that.
 
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Vendrah

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So in an ideal world I would prefer to see assisted suicide easily accessible. It seems cruel for legislators to act as gatekeepers on death and to deny old people a quick, easy, pain-free exit. Of course, I also realize that if death were too easily available, every angsty teenager or depressed misanthrope would be clamoring for release as well. And those deemed a burden on society might be pressed into it. So the gatekeepers deliberately make death as difficult and troublesome as possible, to keep it away from those who would be too quick to pull the plug on themselves.

We don't live in a society where there is true freedom, otherwise we would choose our death freely. This is one among many reasons why many of us aren't truly free. I agree for assisted suicide however I do also believe that maybe even the public that you don't think should have it available maybe should have it available.

I'm still more or less in good health, so I'm not worried about it for a while yet. And like I say, I don't actually fear death at all. It's just the dying part that comes before the death that gives me pause: I want to keep that dying part as short as possible. No long drawn-out slow fade for me if I can possibly avoid it. Been there, done that.

I either, I actually hope I die from heart attack or something very softy. Sadly, that probably won't happen.
 

Tennessee Jed

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We don't live in a society where there is true freedom, otherwise we would choose our death freely. This is one among many reasons why many of us aren't truly free. I agree for assisted suicide however I do also believe that maybe even the public that you don't think should have it available maybe should have it available.
[...]
I either, I actually hope I die from heart attack or something very softy. Sadly, that probably won't happen.
Oh well. One important aspect of dealing with death is dealing with and accepting your own mortality while you're still alive. As you get older and nearer to your own end, death will start to loom larger in your thoughts. So it's good to get a handle on it; you don't want to live your life with one foot in the grave. No need to go running scared of death; it's just a fact of life. :)

My own way of thinking, as an old retiree whose death probably isn't too far off:

1) Have an exit strategy against the possibility of infirmity or other major loss of independence. It needn't be elaborate:
  • A length of rope and a strong beam in the attic or basement, or a strong tree branch
  • A gun and some hollow-point bullets
  • A high place with a hard landing below
  • And so on. There are plenty of quick ways to die if you think about it a bit. And there's literature on the subject if you need ideas.
I don't consider it morbid to have a favorite exit strategy picked out. I've talked to other old people about it, and they often have their own. My 94-year-old father has made his exit strategy known to family members, and they don't deny him access to it by putting it out of his reach. If he ever decide that he needs it, that's his call.

2) Once you have a favorite exit strategy nailed down, ideally that should free you up from morbid worries about approaching ill health and death. From there, focus on life:
  • Find a long-term project or hobby that genuinely interests/challenges you and is fun; it's easier to ignore the little irritations of life when you have something fun happening in your life on a daily basis. It doesn't have to make you money or earn you fame; it's just important to have a bright spot in the day--a fun project--that you look forward to when you wake up each morning.
  • Put in a little preventive maintenance on your body: Get on a health kick, do a little exercise each day, and get your medical check-ups. Learn how to eat healthy and get your weight under control. Quality of health matters; life sucks when you're sick all the time. Get your life on an even keel and in a good routine, and it will pay off in terms of postponing your death further into the future and giving you extra energy for the things you enjoy.
  • Have a good philosophy of life. A good philosophy will help you prioritize what's important in your life. As you get older and nearer to death, there's no need to be worrying about long-term or distant concerns of life. Leave politics and saving the world for the young idealists; just focus on what's right at hand, impacting your life on a daily basis. My own philosophy, as an old man approaching 70 and circling the drain of death: "If I can't eat it, fuck it, or fight it, then I don't worry about it." :)
I'm still hoping to hang on for another 20 years or so. I'm still in pretty good health. And my father is still alive at 94, so I have some longevity on one side of the family. I mostly just joke about the subject of death or ignore it entirely. But I've already seen some of my own friends and family keel over and die or settle into long-term infirmity, so I know it's out there and waiting. If my own time comes later this year or next, then that's fine. I won't bitch about it. It is what it is.
 
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The Cat

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My preferred exit strategy is to marry a feisty redhead and just let nature take its course.
Hopefully it's not a dry wake.​
 

Vendrah

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  • A length of rope and a strong beam in the attic or basement, or a strong tree branch
  • A gun and some hollow-point bullets
  • A high place with a hard landing below
  • And so on. There are plenty of quick ways to die if you think about it a bit. And there's literature on the subject if you need ideas.
All of these and the methods are forbidden my country.
 

Tennessee Jed

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All of these and the methods are forbidden my country.
They don't allow you to own rope and have access to trees? You can't get access to high places? You can't step out into traffic on a busy highway?

What country are you in? Are you forced to live your entire life handcuffed to a radiator in an empty room? That's one tough country you live in.

[Edited to add:] I'm not trying to convince anyone to contemplate self-deletion. It's more just a question of attitude: You can't spend your life living in fear of death. As an ex-Marine and Vietnam vet, I have learned that you have to make death your bitch. Only then are you free to live your best life.
 
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