The topic of death and dying is not well understood and often misunderstood, possibly because many of us choose to learn about it when it is knocking at ours or a loved one’s door. Often, it is only at that time that we become curious about the topic and start looking for answers. I would say that I get about half a dozen frequently asked questions (FAQs) from new clients, but nearly all of them want to know if they will possibly be in pain as they die.
As an end-of-life guide, I feel that my biggest job is to do all that I can to assure a good dying experience for my client and their loved ones. One of the most important ways I help people to have an intentional, well-planned end of life is to address the fears that can often be paralyzing.
If we look closely, most of us can remember many times our fear caused us trouble. There was that job we wanted but were too afraid to apply for it. Or the boy we wanted to get to know better but was afraid to approach him for fear of rejection. Living is just better with less fear! And so is dying.
The really good news is that we literally can not fail at dying! Billions of us have successfully died and we will too, I promise! Some of us will have a better experience of it than others though, and the cause of this will likely be a question of how prepared we are. And if we can get fear out of the way, we can become mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the event.
While we can not know with certainty what the events will be in our final minutes, hours, and days, we can put in place certain details that will give us better odds of having a “good death”, whatever that means to us. The best way I know to assure getting what you want and avoiding what you do not want at end of life is to get plenty of help.
Life (and death) does not come with guarantees, but we can improve the odds of having a pain-free dying experience with the help of hospice. Their strong suit is symptom management and they do a very good job of it. The nurse works with the doctor and closely monitors the patient to assure the right medication is being used and the dose is adjusted for optimum effectiveness.
In my book, Dying Made Easy(er), I explain what is referred to as a state of “semi-coma”. My experience as a hospice nurse for many years, followed by years as an end-of-life doula, is that–aside from a person who dies unexpectedly–nearly everyone who is dying will enter this state. And it is from this state that the person will transition from life. I have been present at the time of death hundreds of times and I can say with certainty that none of them died in pain. So, although I do not have a crystal ball, I can say that if done well, the answer to the question, “Will it hurt when I die?” is likely a resounding no.
For answers to similar questions, please consider getting my book on Amazon.