Yes I do realise this is a morbid topic. It's been a very long stressful, sad and tiring week for me and my family. We buried my Granddad of 85 years. 

My Granddad knew he was not going to get any better for a long time and he was terrified at the prospect of death. But when he was taken back into hospital after a bad turn, he told us all that he was not afraid anymore. When he told my mother this she claims that she saw him looking up at the ceiling as if he "saw something". This was the day before he died. 

My theory on this has always been that when a person is going through the prospect of dying that they perhaps learn to adapt to the realisation that they do not have much life left within them; and that this perhaps actives some sort of coping mechanism.

What is your theory on this matter?  

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In a comparative anatomy & physiology class I once referred to the formaldehyde as the frog's Hereafter Shave.

As far as how it feels to be dead, I'm sure it's nothing more than just sleeping without dreaming... and never waking up, of course, but there is no pain or fear to feel or worry about.
Another worry of mine when contemplating death is whether I've actually tried hard enough to succeed in leaving the world better off than when I found it.
I wonder if any other animals have the capacity to imagine death, or to fear it, much more than the common fearing of painful situations in general. I'm not concerned about the death of cattle becoming beef as I am about their time when alive, or as I am empathetic with people in fear of (e.g. Nazi) extermination even if said extermination is understood to be painless. It may be only pain and discomfort that numbs the fear of death in many people?
I've noticed in myself less of a concern of dying when I'm really sick or in great pain. My thoughts are more focused (as they probably 'naturally' should be) directly on escaping or mitigating the discomfort. The longer the duration and the severity of pain and discomfort, the more it feels plausibly unavoidable. Drugs help, which also numb consciousness, which most of us would consider more humane (especially, say when imposing the death penalty on a criminal) than to prolong the suffering.
When really sick, I also feel (again, probably 'naturally') more focussed on how to survive without burdening others. Animals often leave the group before they die, and who knows what they're really thinking, but it happens, and I suspect they're also numb to the possible implications of it. I feel that many if not most of us have the additional, conscious empathy to care more about the pain of those we're leaving behind than about ourselves, or at least I hope I can do that.

No, Popie, it's not like anything because there will no longer be a you to experience anything. 

You can't compare death to anything you can feel. In fact, if you want a simile. It'll be just exactly like before you were even conceived. 

I always say, "Dying is an experience. Death is not." 

The hardest thing for a person to imagine is that they, their being, their mind, everything, is gone. 

I agree.  DYING might be like going to sleep and waking up dead...but BEING dead is just not being alive, period.

We don't have anyone's description of being dead, who was dead enough to not be saved by medical efforts/resuscitation,, we ONLY know what someone who WASN'T DEAD when recounting the story, told us it was like, which was mostly along the lines of oxygen deprivation and tissue break down causes when those conditions are triggered....which is actually more aligned with Dying than being dead.

There is no "Oh shit, I'm dead" moment. If anyone believes that, they believe in spirits which exist apart from the mind. The mind is an epiphenomenon of the brain, and when the brain becomes nonfunctional, that is death. The decay and disappearance of the brain is just the final nail in the coffin.

On the plus side, most descriptions of the afterlife sound exceedingly boring and tedius.

I heard when you die you get 30 seconds to make god laugh. My advice is to have some good jokes in hand...he really digs humor that involves El diablo...To me death makes life valuable...this living forever business cheapens life to such an extent we must deal with  suicide bombings..the ultimate act of stupidity.

There is no "Oh shit, I'm dead" moment.

Well yeah, same for that sleep moment, I can never recall. I only know I'm "back" when I wake up, or perhaps in a few rare dreams while dreaming.

I don't blame you for misunderstanding my comparison. It's probably due to the lack of obvious paragraphing in my post... I didn't know that was happening on my mobile device.

To be totally clear, when I say that "Dying is an experience," I was referring to the whole process which might in a particular case involve a diagnosis of cancer, months or years of treatments, chronic pain, reaching a point where more treatments would be useless, and having to just live out the last months, weeks, days, moments of THE END perhaps in excruciating pain.

In 2011, I moved from Oregon to Ohio, to be with my dad in his time of dying. He died in 2013.

Believe me when I say that it was not pretty or pleasant in any way. That is what the experience of dying is like for many and perhaps most of us. A messy and unpleasant business. 

Yes, and sorry about your dad.

Dy-ING is the experience, as is Liv-ing.

For most of us, the last part of living is what we call dying.

BEING dead is not an experience.

Keith: It's always saddening to lose a relative, unless their death means the release from pain and suffering. I recently had an experience in which I believed I was going to die because I had a CT scan and an MRI that found a large mass in my pancreas. Eventually (five weeks later) a final examination found that I had no tumor, just an enlarged, otherwise normal pancreas. I spent five weeks preparing for my death within the next year (that's the usual prognosis for a pancreatic tumor the size of the one they thought they observed). I wrote up my experience in an essay entitled "The Day I Found Out I was Going to Die." Most interestingly for me was the great solace my atheism gave me because I had no false hopes, need for prayer, wondering what would happen when I died, etc. The essay, if you want to read it, is at


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