Healthy Living
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Death The Ultimate Fear

The ultimate fear we have as human beings is death. We all know it is the inevitable, unavoidable end of our life and yet it is the basis of all our fears. Yet maybe some things in life are worse than our personal death. Losing someone else we love through death may be worse.

Being injured and living with pain and disability may be worse. Being publicly exposed to some shameful event may be worse. Death is psychologically related to our fear of losing control.

Life can be a challenge death may be a gift. Socrates said, "To fear death gentlemen, is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not; for it is to think one knows what one does not know. No man knows whether death may not even turn out to be the greatest of blessings for a human being; yet people fear it as if they knew for certain that it is the greatest of evils." Perhaps he is right! Eighty percent of people recently surveyed believe that there is something beyond death; an after life.

some call it heaven. Maybe the pain of living is hell and that death itself is heaven because we are out if hell. Conversely, whether you believe that this life is your "one shot" or not, maybe we all should be living each day as if it is our last one.

Living it in a positive framework of love, selflessness and compassion, not for any potential expected future reward, but for the joy and satisfaction of having quality to everyday that you LIVE. Other Fears: How You Die For many, the fear of death in not so much about being dead but is about how you will die. Worries about physical deterioration and appearance, pain, panic, and dying alone or in an institution can preoccupy your thoughts and delay coming to terms with death. A sudden death removes these fears. But if you have a terminal illness specific personal fears will surface and be of great concern from the time when you are told the nature and extent of your illness until the end.

In the beginning, when you first acknowledged symptoms such as a tumor, pain, or unusual bleeding, you most likely also experienced a psychological fear and anxiety about the nature and extent of the physical problem. Maybe all the facts were unknown and unconfirmed at that point in time. When you were told the results and probable outcome of your disease after diagnostic tests or surgery, you may have felt relief at knowing the truth. Yet feelings of numbness, shock, disbelief, great anguish, and fear might also be present at the moment of truth.

You will grieve for the loss of your self. Death is easier when you have completed the tasks of your life. Such as raising your children, and retiring from your career. If you are lucky you will have on going loving relationships with spouses, children, grandchildren, and friends who will be there to support your leave taking. Your death is the final letting go ?do it with love.

This article is excerpted from the book Letting Go With Love: The Grieving Process by Dr. Nancy O'Connor. The book may be purchased at at bookstores and at .

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