In this post, I will be giving my opinion about the pain and fear of death. Note that what I am talking of here is the pain and fear of dying when people are faced with a fearful diagnosis like cancer.
In my life and experience, I have come across patients of different kinds. Some are calm and peaceful even in the face of death, and some even died calm and peaceful.
On the other hand, a scary diagnosis makes some fret, anxious, gloomy, depressed, worried, and running from pillar to post just to fight the fear and pain of dying and leaving their loved ones behind.
This prompted me to ask why people respond differently to death and even the thought of dying soon. I thought on this and researched and I came up with just two reasons.
I will be sharing my findings in this post. And I believe it will help a lot of people to prepare well for the day of their death because everyone must die.
It is compulsory, it is an appointment we can’t miss. The Holy Book says “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” –Hebrews 9:27.
2 causes of Pain and Fear Of Death
1. A feeling of “God is not happy with me”
Well, many might call this religious jargon but a strong and personal relationship with God is indispensable nourishment for our spirits and souls.
When this area of your life (Spiritual) has been neglected, it will lead to searing pain when faced with death, the mind will always rebel when the thought of death comes.
Whether you deny the existence of God (atheism) or believe in evolution, your subconscious mind doesn’t and it knows that there is God and that you will stand before him at the end to give an account of your life.
The subconscious mind becomes more active and stronger when faced with death, it is at this point that people become sober, a feeling they’ve never had during their healthy days.
- For the first time, people faced with death start living in the present.
- All the things of life pursued now look irrelevant and useless (political and financial status, educational qualification, prestige, etc.)
- They begin to savor every minute of life
- Life’s brevity becomes exposed and you now understand the true things that matter most
- They come to understand life’s true flavor
- People faced with a deadly disease without cure feel as if a veil has been lifted and their sight restored.
- For the first time, they see people as they are, appreciate them, and don’t wish they were someone else. They don’t judge or doubt people as before
- They don’t quarrel with their spouses or nag them as before, they become sober
- They start appreciating the “little” things they once took for granted
- They regret missed opportunities to do and act better when they were in good health
- And finally, they remember that they are not immortal
All these are just signs that your subconscious mind is now awake and operating at its maximum. And it is also a sign that judgment has already started.
People who recover from chronic diseases (And this can only happen through holistic treatments or integrative approaches) don’t go back to their old selves.
The change remains permanent. The life-threatening disease now looks like a form of liberation that gives a new intensity, savor, and resonance to life that they’ve never known before.
People who have lived a spiritual (Not religious) life are sure of their stand with God and they take death peacefully and calmly as it comes. They view their health condition as the means through which they are to exit this world and they are okay with it.
There was a cancer patient I was once handled who said to me: “I have entrusted myself into the hands of God, I am his handmaid, he should do to me what seems right in his sight”.
And her actions showed she meant her words. She was calm, not fretting, even though she couldn’t go to church, she was always sending in her tithes and other commitments she entered.
The thought of death never bothered her, she was even waiting peacefully for it but her case took a miraculous turn. And at the time of writing this, she is still alive after close to two years of aggressive breast cancer.
2. A feeling of not being useful to others
Humans are wired to feel useful, we are created to solve problems and feel useful to others. This is also necessary for our spirits and souls.
The feeling that your life didn’t have any meaning or impact can bring the fear or pain of death. This is why you hear people talk of “purpose”, “destiny” or “making an impact on their world“.
When you think that you’ve lived in vain or that your existence didn’t make any difference to anyone or anything, the thought of dying becomes unbearable.
In his book, Anticancer, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber wrote a story of a cancer patient Joe. He was a young man with a long history of drugs, violence, and alcoholism and covered with tattoos.
He was deranged when he heard he had cancer. He started trashing everything in his room, and nurses couldn’t go close to him. Dr. David approached him and introduced himself as a psychiatrist and he agreed to talk to him.
Dr. David said to him, “I’ve heard the news that you’ve just be given, I know you are very upset. I imagine that it can be quite frightening”.
Joe then launched into a long diatribe and broke down in tears after 20 minutes. He had no one to stand by his side, not even friends and he was feeling lost.
Dr. David told him he doesn’t know what to do to help him but he promised to see him every week as long as it helps. Joe calmed down and came to see the psychiatrist every week.
During those meetings, Dr. David didn’t have much to say, he only listened to Joe and got to know him better. Joe was an electrician but he couldn’t hold down a job for years.
He lived on welfare, he didn’t talk to his parents, (his dad was an alcoholic and his mom was emotionally absent and withdrawn). He spent his days watching TV, he was terribly alone.
Dr. David recognized that the fact that he hadn’t done anything with his life made his death intolerable. He then asked him if he could do something meaningful to someone with his remaining time.
Joe had never thought about this in his “healthy” days. He considered it for a while and said “there is a church in my neighborhood, I think I could do something for them. They need an air-conditioning system. I know how to do that”.
Dr. David encouraged him to go see the minister who was very pleased with the offer. Every morning, Joe got to work on the church’s rooftop, installing air-conditioning for the church.
The work was progressing even though he was slow because of his large brain tumor. He experienced difficulty concentrating sometimes. But he still did the work.
The parishioners got used to him because they were always seeing him on their roof, they spoke kind words to him, and some even brought him sandwiches and coffee during lunchtime.
He was in tears when telling Dr. David about his experience because, for the first time in his life, he was doing something that mattered to others.
Joe became a new person, he never exploded in anger again, and his true nature came out because, in reality, he was a nice person hiding under that rough appearance. Those tattoos masked his large heart.
One day, Dr. David was called. Joe couldn’t go to work, his end was near, he was admitted to the hospital and was going into hospice care.
Dr. David saw him almost asleep, laying on his bed very calmly. His hospital room was flooded with sunshine and the atmosphere serene. They had removed all his IVs.
Dr. David sat on his bed to tell him “Goodbye”, Joe opened his eyes and tried to speak but he didn’t have the strength to do so. He lifted a weak hand and signaled him to come closer.
Dr. David took his ear right next to his lips and Joe murmured: “God bless you for saving my life”.
Joe could face death without pain or fear because a psychiatrist helped him fulfill a deep human desire to make an impact. And Joe saw that as saving his life even in the face of death.
My late dad also had a very peaceful death. He was a peaceful man, he had impacted a lot of lives and he had a strong and enviable relationship with his God.
Don’t worry, if you’ve not done any of the above. There is still time.
How To Make Changes When You Still Have Time
These are some of the tasks we give to our cancer patients and other people we treat to help revive their spirit and souls to fight hard for the body to live.
And in case it’s late to do something, still, these tasks are not a waste because it helps people die a peaceful death.
- Amend your relationship with God. It is never too late at any point, even your last breath can be used to do this.
- Start looking for ways to make an impact. Mind you, you can do this even when bedridden. You can give, encourage people, just do something and that is when you will see miracles happening.
- Make a vow to God. This might look simple, childish, or religious but this is very powerful. I know a Naturopath who was at the point of death, she made a vow to God that if he heals her, she will help people and teach them about achieving good health. She is still alive today and impacting lives. I also have a similar story and here am today freely giving out health knowledge.
I hope this post helps you correct your ways and prepare well for the day of your exit so it doesn’t become painful, fearful, or unbearable.
If you need counseling, emotional detox, or any other issue; feel free to contact us.