Of all the things that occur in the life of a human being, the most feared is the last one. Death is feared by most people in the world since no one has ever come back to tell what it feels like. To begin with, death is the termination of all the functions that sustain any living organism. Here, we mainly talk about biological functions since they are the ones that ensure life sustenance. Death can be caused by many factors, some of which can be natural. For example, there are people who die of old age, because their bodies cannot function normally anymore. However, deaths caused by things like injuries, murder, accidents and predation are not natural deaths. They can be considered by a layman as premature deaths.
Life is too short to live in fear of death. Long time, people used to live for many years. However, the life expectancy has gone to as low as 45 years in some countries. Therefore, the fear of death should be eliminated among people. Everything is OK until it is not. Otherwise, we are just a bunch of people with no aim in life but just waiting to die. On page 108 of Lewis Thomas’ article, he has quoted Montaigne who said, ‘If one knows not how to die, he/she should never be troubled. Nature will in a moment fully and sufficiently instruct you. She will exactly do that business for you; take you not care for it’. This shows that death is not to be feared. Most people’s fears are about how they shall die. The quote shows us that this is not for people to worry about. It is the work of nature to decide who dies, when he/she dies as well as how he/she dies. Therefore, fear of the same would be unnecessary since it cannot alter the course of nature.
The main reason why people fear death is because it associates with pain. On page 107, Thomas summarizes his findings in a quote, ‘Pain is useful for avoidance. For getting away when there is time to get away. But when it is the end game, and no way back, pain is likely to be turned off, and the mechanisms for this are wonderfully precise and quick’. Therefore, when one is in immense pain, he/she should not fear death. The pain does not lead to death since death does not associate with pain. What happens is that pain prevents death from occurring rather than causing it to happen. Therefore, the fear of pain should not be viewed or substituted for fear of death. He proved this by comparing the death of a mouse in the mouth of a cat and that of a tree. Thomas noticed that wherever the cat had a mouse in its mouth, the mouse seemed to dangle helplessly from the mouth of the cat (Robb 300). However, when the cat dropped the mouse, it just lay still and died anyway. This shows that there is no pain in death. Where there is pain, there is life and death has not arrived. This is because, at the occurrence of death in a living organism, all the mechanisms, which are responsible, for the feeling of pain and other functions shut down. This ensures that pain does not occur when death accrues.
On page 105 of Elizabeth Kuhler-Ross, she says, ‘… there are many reasons for this plight away from facing death calmly. One of the most significant facts is that dying nowadays is more gruesome in many ways, namely, more lonely, mechanical and dehumanized; at times is even difficult to determine technically when the time of death has occurred’. This is another main reason why people fear death. As times go by, technology is changing and the things that come with it may cause people to fear death. For example, Elizabeth uses the illustration of an extremely injured or sick person in a hospital. This person is normally surrounded by dozens of people. If questions occur in the minds of these nurses, they normally consult the family members of the patient. The patient is not considered or consulted. Any attempts that the patient may make to rebel causes sedation. The patient may have a question or two to ask the doctors and nurses. However, each of them is busy trying to save his/her life. If they wasted a little time listening to his opinion, it could cost his life. Therefore, when that patient dies, it is normally a lonely death with no loved ones around. This could cause fears in the mind of people who picture themselves in such a situation. Elizabeth on page 438, says..'re many diseases that have taken an impressive toll among the young and middle aged has been conquered’. This is because human beings have advanced technology, which has been widely applied in the medical field. This ensures that the number of people who die as a result of diseases reduced. It causes dependence on machinery for saving of human lives. As Elizabeth says, it raises the question of whether we are becoming more human or less human. However, it is this loneliness and awkwardness that should be feared and not death itself. When the death occurs all these feelings go away, and peace comes.
In this world, every body has goals. Of all the goals that a person sets, death is always the last to achieve. However, there are many other goals in the life of a human being. They are the ones that make life worth living. Without these goals, there is no hope in life since it is aimless. Therefore, the achievement of these goals should not be hindered by the fear of death. On page 107 of Thomas Lewis’ article, he quotes Montaigne who says, the goal of our career is death. It is the necessary object of our aim. If it frightens, is, how is it possible to go a step forward without feverishness? The remedy of the common herd is not to think about it’. Therefore, the death of oneself is helpless as well as unnecessary. The only thing that it achieves to do is hinder one from achieving some or all of his goals. It is, therefore, valuable for people to realize that they should live life to the fullest absent fears of death. This gees along the way in helping them to achieve their goals in life as well as be successful. After all, when you are dead, you cannot realize that you are dead.
Apart from the fear of a person dying, there is another fear that can be justified. This is the fear of losing a loved one to death (McWilliams 158). This is one that cannot be ignored, however, strong the individual might be. This is the situation where acceptance must apply. The best way to cope with the death of a loved one is to accept their death and try to move on with life as soon as possible. Thoughts of the death just lead to self torture and may make an individual undergo an extremely hard time during their lifetime. This is where the religious aspect can apply in a person’s life. Elizabeth Kuhler-Ross says (P. 437), ‘Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them’. This proves that death cannot be prevented whatsoever. The only thing that a person can do is to try to be calm when the death occurs. This makes sure that unnecessary suffering does not occur to an individual unless the death has already occurred.
Thomas gives a story of the worst accident that he has ever seen (P. 107). It was that of a jeep running into a troop carrier. The jeep had MPs who were now trapped inside. People who gathered around sympathized with them since only their heads and shoulders could be seen. They assumed that they were in immense pain. When people said that they were sorry, one of them said that they were fine. He confirmed that the others were fine. Then, they died. This shows that, at the time the death occurs, things do not happen as they do in normal times. All the mechanisms of pain, as well as fear, shut down, and the individual is no longer in problems. They die without the slightest trouble in them. Therefore, even worrying for our loved ones who died and thinking about how they suffered is not useful. They die peacefully just caring about other people. They do not even think about death itself (Schneier 27).
Death can be seen as a mystery in the lives of many people. However, as the essay illustrates that it is just the cessation of the biological organs and functions in the body of an individual. Thomas Lewis calls it natural since it has to occur in everybody who is alive. Therefore, it can be concluded that when people are living, they should not waste their precious life fearing death. Instead, they should just try to think about other goals in their lives. This goes a long way to ensure that one lives a healthy life before they die.