Dying Is Terrifying, Which Is Why We Need Courage

The right to die and the right of dying with dignity issue is back. The reason seems reasonable but our Faith tells us it’s wrong and that God is the one to decide when we should come and go.


Perhaps I’m in the great minority, but I don’t think it’s so terrifying. :slight_smile: Not sure what the statistics are among practicing catholics for not being terrified. Maybe less than 10%?

Your question is poorly phrased.

Do you mean:

“Practicing Catholics who are terrified to die: under 10%”


“Practicing Catholics who are NOT terrified to die: under 10%”?

I’d suggest that neither is true, that maybe a minority are terrified to die, but that is because they can avoid thinking about it!


My question was just a digression, in any case, it seems. I think the main point is that we as Catholics should not fear death. When a person has Faith, why should we fear death?

Because it is hideous and shameful; because it ends human relationships; because of what it does to the human bodies we need in order to be human??!!


Well,it is a bit “gross”, sort of, in a visceral way, but not that shameful. God endured the shame, surely we can do as much.

I think if we keep our focus on what we believe as Christians then it’s not so bad. We can exist for a time without our bodies. From the NDE accounts I’ve read, it’s not so bad really. And God will give us back glorified bodies in due time. And relationships don’t end per se, they might be put on hold, but our most important relationship- that with Christ is finally elevated to a much more substantial plane, we will see him face to face, and we will also be reunited with those who have gone before us as well as all the other amazing Saints that are waiting for us in Heaven.

It seems best to look on the bright side, which is indeed bright enough to blind all mortal eyes not yet ready to look upon such a kingdom.

Have you ever read the 40 Dreams of St John Bosco? It’s a great book that makes some mention of how cool Heaven is in some of his dreams.

There is also a big difference between being fearful of “dying”, as in the painful process of dying, and being afraid of death, as in what happens after you are dead and the suffering is over. I think most people have a very understandable fear of the dying process, but as Christians, we have great hope for what awaits us in the afterlife. After all, even Jesus was afraid and wept when he went to pray in the garden at Gethsemane.

I don’t know, it’s the being dead issue that is hideous to me, not the getting there.

The getting there is often swift and merciful, but death lasts so hideously long!!



You don’t actually sleep, you know, once you die. It’s more like stepping into a kingdom you’ve never been to before. Once you’re there, you won’t want to return. Bet you $5.00.

I think it depends on how you die.

My son passed rather quickly after we found out he was going to die. Within 24 hours he died. He suffered greatly those last few hours but I’m thankful it wasn’t a longer period than that.

My dad died from alzheimers. It progressed slowly over a period of about ten years. During the last year he had two heart attacks, pneumonia, UTI’s. It was an awful period but for a lot of the time, close to the end, he didn’t really know what was going on so he didn’t have that fear of death.

But currently, with my mom, she is in the later stages of vascular dementia. It is horrible. I don’t have the words to describe what she is going through right now. She knows enough still to know something is not right with her but she doesn’t know what. She is scared out of her mind. She can’t do anything for herself anymore. Her behavior has changed to someone I no longer know. She’s not the mom I have known and loved for 82 years. It’s most cruel. I visit her everyday to every other day. I always leave in tears.

None of them had a fear of dying, even though it was more of an ordeal with my son because he was so young at 28. But my mother is living in terror over things she doesn’t understand and has no control over. So it is a very painful, frightening and drawn out death process for her. She was prepared to meet God when her time came but she doesn’t know what’s going on anymore.

Your mother is suffering terribly, I’m sure, and so are you. I’m sorry for what your family is having to suffer. Has she been able to receive the annointing of the sick? Once a week seems like it would be a good idea. God Bless You.

(The Father of St. Therese of Child Jesus, Louis Martin also had vascular dementia or something very similar in the last years of his life. He is now a canonized saint.)

If you had a good conscience you would not fear death very much. It is better to avoid sin than to fear death. If you are not prepared today, how will you be prepared tomorrow? Tomorrow is an uncertain day; how do you know you will have a tomorrow?

The Imitation of Christ.
The Twenty-Third Chapter

I’m sorry to hear this is going on in your family. God bless you and I’ll keep you in my prayers.

Wow, I am afraid of the getting there - once I am there I suspect all will be well. I think if you believe in eternity you tend to look at death as a transition from mortality to eternity. But what a transition! I’ve always thought Jesus did have one slight advantage over the rest of us going into death; he KNEW he was God and exactly where he was going and why he was doing what he was doing. I am not of course denying the full indescribable extent of his human suffering. He was going through all of that as well. But we just take our destination on faith (and don’t know if it’s heaven or hell). I really do think of death as entering another world or realm.

Do any of us remember our birth, before our birth? I mean, I think of that as a pretty peaceful time. :wink:

When I was in my teens and 20s I suffered a horrible, intense fear of death. My faith when it came did help tremendously with that. But I am never sure the fear is completely gone. I read Socrates on death (thoughts on the eve of his hemlock execution) in my 20s; I can’t remember where it is (I can find it if anyone is interested.) It actually really helped calm me down. It’s very powerful. Of course, we are Catholics here, so maybe that’s not necessary. :wink: Below helps too.

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

Nice poem. :slight_smile: Author?

I’m not terrified of dying. I don’t think it’s shameful.

Must be Emily Dickinson. A classic.


Emily Dickinson (USA, 1800s)


What could possibly be be more shameful?


Emily Dickinson


Check her out! Time very well spent. :slight_smile: On being a poet:

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

I would say not being a good witness to Christ is something that is shameful

The martyrs all died and by their deaths gave glory to God in their witness of laying them down to testify to His Truth.

Yes, we are just poor and weak creations of God in the sense that we can die, but that death is not permanent. I don’t think we need to feel any shame about it.

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