Why Dying Is Different for Doctors
A few months ago my 95-year-old mother reached a point where we had no choice but to move her to a nursing home. It took a few weeks for her to adjust to her new environment. Still, she calmly notes, "I have lived too long and I just want to go to sleep and not wake up." I do not doubt her honesty. She seems to have accepted the transition to her final "home," but she wishes that her death would be painless and sudden.
Last fall, my wife almost died. While she has recovered, the experience of "near-death" has extinguished her fear of dying. She tells me that had she not awakened from her coma, she would not have known any difference. She points out that there was nothing unpleasant about the experience. She wants to see our grandchildren grow older and plant more flowers in her garden, but her voice reveals no anxiety when she speaks about her inevitable death.
The attitudes of these two very different women in my life make me realize that I need to examine my attitude toward my own mortality. If they are able to accept death so easily, why do so many people fear death?