Often when I speak to medical professionals about my views on death they are very surprised and exclaim ‘you are very black and white about that.’ I realise my views on the subject differ to that of many other people, and they have done since I was a young child. I don’t know if this is partly due to my autism, or just my own weird take on things, so I thought I’d ask on here what other people’s views on death/dying are. To give you a flavour of my views, here are some of my comments on the matter:
I think that we all die so we should get used to the idea sooner rather than later and that’s it’s not worth worrying about as it is inevitable. I wouldn’t care if I died tomorrow. Further, if I was to fall terminally ill I would refuse treatment as I believe in letting nature take it’s course - after all, natural selection has worked well for thousands of years, so why mess with it? If I died prematurely due to illness I would just see it that this was meant to be. This is why, despite being in my early 20s, I have already requested a do not resuscitate to be in place (also, I kind of view CPR as a form of physical assault - having seen it done to others, I certainly wouldn’t want it done to me!) and I said I wouldn’t want a blood transfusion when I had surgery. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to refuse all medical input and I am very thankful for some of it, but I do draw a distinct line between what I consider acceptable and not.
My grandma is currently in a nursing home with dementia. She literally asked my mum and me to smother her, and she just wants to die because she is no longer able to live at home and do what she enjoyed. The home said she was depressed and tried to medicate her for it. They gave her a medication they new would increase her appetite as she was refusing food. I ended up arguing with them over it, explaining that my grandma wasn’t mentally ill - her thinking was perfectly logical and if I was in her position I would feel the same way. My grandma is very like me, and is very pragmatic about death also, and she hid the tablets rather than taking them, so that demonstrates what she thought about it! Maybe I was wrong to argue with the home, but I honestly couldn’t understand why they were trying to get her to feel different and eat more, as this would only prolong her suffering (aka life) and she just wanted to die! I think that keeping people alive at all cost is truly immoral and if they didn’t ask for it personally, it is selfish of those who did.
Disclaimer: I don’t mean to offend anyone with my views, and I certainly don’t expect others to comply with them. I respect everyone’s views and I know this is a difficult subject for some. I’m just wondering if anyone else thinks like me about death, or if I’m being obscure on my own here! Some may put it down to my current depression, but as mentioned I’ve thought like this from a very young age, so it appears intrinsic (maybe inherited from my grandma!).
My views on death are fairly similar to yours. I've never 'feared' death, even as a child. I remember, as a very young child, discovering that people didn't actually live forever and being quite astounded and fascinated by the idea but not at all scared by it.
I think it would be a lot healthier for people to talk about death like this: in a factual, real way long before they're forced into thinking about it's impending reality. That way the fear is addressed separately from the fear of either an illness or of leaving family behind. To me, these are all separate things.
Death itself I just see as a perfectly natural process, a point where we simply stop. It isn't exactly known when this point is reached but I think it'll be interesting to find out and to discover if there really is a fading or an abrupt full stop. After that point there's nothing else to consider from the point of view of being me, but I like the thought that all of my atoms and molecules are freed from one another and scatter around forever, endlessly dispersing and changing. I think that has a sort of beauty in it. I'm not afraid of death itself.
As to what may cause my death, some of these things I do fear! I believe people should have the right to assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia if they no longer have any quality of life or if they are suffering from a degenerative or terminal illness. I firmly believe that only the person themselves should be able to make that call though and that's why I support discussion about the subject much more openly than is the norm in our society at the moment. People shouldn't be forced to keep living at all costs, we don't allow animals to suffer in that way and I've never understood why we force people to. The things that would make me want this option are, Dementia, being in a vegetative state, being in a constant high degree of physical pain requiring powerful medication (if there was no chance that this would / could ever be alleviated), or being entirely physically incapacitated with no chance of recovery - in that order. These things, serious illness, I am very afraid of.
The final point, leaving family behind, I fear at the moment because my children are still young. I won't know how my feelings may change as I / they get older until it happens but right now I think that I'll feel less scared of them being without a mother once they all have their own lives and are in their late 20's at least. I reserve the right to change my mind on that one when the time comes though!
Endymion said:The final point, leaving family behind, I fear at the moment because my children are still young.
I often wonder if my own views would change if I had children of my own, or people I was very close to. It’s difficult to say as I’ve never experienced that, and though I do love the children I coach dearly, I know they would move on quite happily in their lives without me, so I don’t really have any ties to anyone that would change my views at present.