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Why Some People Prefer To Die Until They’re Alone


Why Some People Prefer To Die Until They’re Alone

There is typically a negative connotation associated with dying alone. That’s presumably why it’s portrayed in movies as depressing and tragic. Conversely, passing away in the company of loved ones is sometimes regarded as a positive death.

As they departed, the individual was cherished and given a sense of security. They didn’t have to suffer through death by themselves.

However, there is still much to learn about what occurs in the last moments of life. The big questions, such as “Does consciousness continue after you stop breathing?” and “Will you have a better death if loved ones surround your bed?” are ones that no one can truly answer with certainty.

According to Glenys Caswell, a death studies expert and social researcher at Nottingham University, some individuals voluntarily decide to die alone (via The Conversation).

In a 2017 study conducted by Caswell and published in the journal Mortality, 11 elderly people living alone and seven hospice nurses were questioned about their attitudes of dying alone.

Although several hospice nurses had the opinion that they would not support dying alone, Caswell discovered that for certain elderly individuals, “dying alone was not seen as something that is automatically bad, and for some of the older people it was to be preferred.”

They said it was better than having their independence restricted or being housed in a nursing home.

Why Some People Prefer To Die Until They're Alone

To spare their loved ones’ suffering, they might pass away alone

Some people have a choice as to when they pass away, according to Lizzy Miles, a hospice social worker in Columbus, Ohio, and author of Somewhere In Between: The Hokey Pokey, Chocolate Cake, and The Shared Death Experience.

She stated that individuals who opt to wait and die alone may be doing so out of concern for their loved ones in the hospice and palliative medicine blog Pallimed.

“We have those patients who die in the middle of the night. We hear stories about the loved one who just stepped out for five minutes and the patient died. We may have even witnessed a quick death ourselves. I believe this happens by the patient’s choice,” Miles wrote.

She continued by saying that this typically occurs when a parent is the one who is dying.She clarified, “I believe it’s a protective factor.”

Executive director of the International End-of-Life Doula Association and licensed clinical social worker Henry Fersko-Weiss has a slightly different take on the subject.

He acknowledges that some people may die alone, but in a YouTube video, he said that people want to feel comfortable and connected just before they pass away.

According to Fersko-Weiss, if we allow our loved ones to witness our death, “because of the way we think about death, [we] feel that we’ll be a burden to loved ones.”

Sparing loved ones the pain of it all might be at the heart of the decision but this is something friends and family should have an open conversation about, he added. 

Having an open dialogue with your loved one can help

According to the experts, it can be a good idea to arm oneself with the necessary resources to conduct candid discussions that promote mutual understanding, regardless of how agonizing those last minutes may be.

It could be helpful to consider what dying individuals would like you to know about their ideal final moments, as well as to examine your own feelings, prejudices from culture, and preconceptions.

Seek the assistance of hospice caregivers or even a therapist if you are unable to bring up the subject alone.

According to Fersko-Weiss in the film, it’s likely that the person who is dying is worried that the loved ones they are leaving behind will have the weight of seeing their passing for the rest of their lives.

Saying something along the lines of, “Of course, we want to be there. It doesn’t matter how it looks or how it sounds or how emotionally difficult it may be to be present. It is part of our love for you that we would want to be there,” said the death doula.

The experts say that both the dying and those left behind can decide together how best to be there when a loved one is dying.

Furthermore, “openness created through discussion might also help to remove some of the guilt that family members feel when they miss the moment of their relative’s death,” said Caswell (via The Conversation), in the event that your loved one choose to wait and die alone.

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