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Death, Dying, and Grieving

Death is a very difficult stage to understand and accept, such for the person who dies as for the
loved ones. As well it remains a great mystery, in which religion and philosophy helps a lot with
its understanding. Even though Dying is a natural part of existence and our last stage of life,
most people are afraid of it, and this is why it has its stages, which are Denial and Isolation,
Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. After the death of someone we love, we face
Grief, the sadness and loneliness that accompany the loss of someone we loved. Death, dying
and grieving are part of our life, as it is for the person dying, as it is for the parson surviving.
What is Death? Well for science its brain death, which is a reversible brain damage causing the
end of independent respiration, it means also the stopping of all electrical activity of brain for
specified period of time, which indicates death. For religion, it is something very different, it can
be a new beginning, where the spirit leave the body and continuing living on somewhere else, a
much better world or place than it.
According to fastStasts, the leading causes of death are: Heart Disease(611,105), Cancer
(149,205), Chronic lower respiratory diseases (130,557), Stroke (128,978), Alzheimers disease
(84,767), Diabetes (75,578), and Influenza and Pneumonia (56,979). The life Expectancy is until
78 years old.
Before we die, we are supposed to leave everything in order, and think about an Advance Care
Planning. When taking care of it, were talking about advanced directive, which should
include: Living Will (legal document used to declare your desire to do not have life-prolonging
measures be taken if theres no hope of recovery, for example, the event of brain death or
terminal illness. It is limited to deathbed issues); Healthcare Proxy (legal document that lets you


to appoint another person to express your wishes and make health care decision for you if you
cannot speak for yourself); and Health Care of Attorney (it covers all health care decisions, and
last only as you are incapable of making decisions for yourself).
Death is something inevitable, thats why people should have an adequate end of life. A Good
Death includes physical comfort, support from loved ones, and an appropriate medical care. For
this, there is Hospice (a program committed to making end of life as free from pain, anxiety, and
depression as possible), it emphasizes on palliative care, which reduces pain and suffering,
helping die with dignity.
Unfortunately, not everybody has a Good Death, there is many people with terminal disease,
having an unpleasant, painful, and depressed death. Is there any way we can choose our death?
Well, there is a way, and it is called Euthanasia, which is used to have a painless ending of life of
those suffering from incurable disease or severe disability.
There is Passive Euthanasia which occurs when patient dies because the medical professional
withholding treatment. Some cases could be the switch off life-support machines, disconnect a
feeding tube, dont carry out a life-extending operation or dont give life-extending drugs, for
example. Active Euthanasia occurs when medical professionals, deliberately do something that
causes the patient to die.
Even though we should have the right to choose our way of die, it is not totally legal in every
state. There are many states that opposed to this right or peoples choice. According to the
opponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide contend doctors have a moral
responsibility to keep their patient alive as reflected by the Hippocratic Oath. They argue there
may be a very little difference from euthanasia to murder.


One notable case of supporting the euthanasia Law was Terri Schiavo, who was struggle over
end-of-life care in the United States from 1990 to 2005. She was a woman in an irreversible
persistent vegetative state with feeding tube. Her husband argued that Schiavo would not have
wanted prolonged artificial life support without the prospect of recovery. And after many years
of courts discussions, the Court made the euthanasia law legal for her, so the doctors took off the
feeding tube, which allow Schiavo to die in March 31, 2005.
Even though having all those resources to have a Good Death, it is not easy when facing ones
own death, according to Kubler-Ross stages of dying, there are five stages that we go through
before we die, and those are: Denial and Isolation (dying person denies he or she is really going
to die), Anger (dying persons denial gives way to anger, resentment, rage, and envy),
Bargaining (dying person develops the hope that death can somehow be postponed),
Depression (dying person perceives the certainty of his or her own death), and Acceptance
(dying person develops a sense of peace, an acceptance of her or his fate, and in many cases, a
desire to be left along).
When losing someone we love, we face and experiment the emotional numbness, disbelief,
separation anxiety, despair, sadness and loneliness called Grief. There are two kind of it:
Prolonged Grief (involves enduring despair and is still unresolved over an extended period of
time), and Disenfranchised Grief (involving a deceased person that is a socially ambiguous loss
that cant be openly mourned or supported). However, the type of death makes it more difficult
to overcome, because the impact of death on surviving people is strongly influenced by the
circumstances under which the death occurs, for example the death of a child, which could be
our son or daughter are likely have more prolonged effects and more difficult on surviving
people, on this case the parents, than the death of someone that is not a child.


Grief is a natural respond to loss, and the emotional suffering we feel when someone we love is
taken away. People grieving different, this is why we should try to find support from friends and
family members, or draw comfort from our faith as well. However, grieving help us making
sense of our world, and think about what we want, and where we going, for example.
According to Kenneth J. Ph.D, grief is more than just a feeling, it affects our body, mind, and
spirit. For some of us the experience of grief is very physical because our body hurt, it can
experience pains and aches, stomachs feels upset, sleeping disorder, feeling tired and sleepy all
the time, for example. Bodys energy level gets lower or may goes away, so that makes us feel
As well he says, grief influences the way we think (making it difficult to focus or concentrate),
so people is not in a position to think clear and make decisions. It may changes our behavior,
making people get upset easily, others may be more lethargic and apathetic, or people will rather
to be alone for certain time. At the same time it can make people avoid reminders of the person
who died or vice-verse. Grief may affect us spiritually also, according to him, we can lost faith
on it, or find our self spiritually deepen, attending worship, prying, reading scripture, or
sometimes people needs to be spiritually threatened because we my struggle with anger and
doubts, for example.
Death is an inseparable part of life, so we should understand it is inevitable. Life starts with
Infancy and it ends with death. We born, grow up, reproduce, and die, this is the life cycle, and
so we need to be prepare for it. Enjoying our life, should be our priority. Even though some
people are prepared, some other are not, we react differently to death, and some are consumed by
grief and agony that they nearly succumb themselves. And some others, take a moment to reflect


on life. Death influence our world, and helps sometimes to make sense of it. Euthanasia should
be a legal right, because as we have the right to live with dignity, we have the right to die with it.

By Esmeralda Anguiano


Kenneth J. Doka Ph.D.
More Than A Feeling
Santrock, J.W. (2016). Essential of Life-Span Development (4th ed.)
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education
National Center for Health Statistics