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What Are 6 Myths About the Dying Process? Death Misconceptions

6 Myths About Dying

Death is an inevitable part of life; however, a lack of knowledge has led to the following 6 myths about the dying process.

Death is undoubtedly the ultimate truth. Every person will experience death, and still, it is one of the least discussed subjects. As a result, there is often a lack of sufficient knowledge about death that leads to the spread of several myths concerning the dying process.

Some of the most popular myths about dying include:

  • Myth: Death is always a painful experience.
    • Fact: No, many people die peacefully in their sleep or after enduring minimal pain.
      • Good hospice and palliative care may make death a comfortable experience even for those suffering from terminal ailments, such as cancer.
      • Some people think that the dying process is always a tragedy or misery for the dying person who would always choose life over death. This is not the case. Many people have expressed a sense of calm and contentment even when they were aware of nearing death.
  • Myth: Hospice may hasten the dying process.
    • Fact: Hospice and palliative care help improve the dying person’s quality of life.
      • The medications and therapy help prevent serious complications that may worsen the person’s emotional and physical health.
      • Hospice helps relieve disturbing symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, and lack of sleep. This allows the person to get adequate rest, feel better, and have improved stamina that they otherwise would not have had. 
      • Hospice ensures that the dying person is not force-fed or subjected to anything that may make them uncomfortable.
  • Myth: One must do everything possible to prevent loved ones from dying, otherwise the caregiver is at fault.
    • Fact: Death is inevitable.
      • When a terminal illness results in someone’s death, no one but the disease process is responsible for the death.
      • Although technology has evolved to keep a person’s vital functions continue through support, all it does is prolong the dying process.
      • No caregiver would want their loved one to die, but nothing can be done when death arrives.
  • Myth: If you were not there during the dying of a loved one, it means that you lack enough love and compassion toward them.
    • Fact: Death does not tell you when it will arrive.
      • You must not feel bad or guilty if you could not be around a loved one during their last few moments.
      • Even people nearing death may take days to pass away. It is not always possible to leave everything and be by their side at every second.
      • You may be away for a moment and find them dead by the time you return. Hence, no matter how much you try, it may not always be possible to be there for your loved ones while they are dying.
  • Myth: One must always stay positive and not cry in front of the dying person.
    • Fact: Death, no matter how certain it appears, is one of the most overwhelming truths of life.
      • An outpour of emotions cannot often be held back. It is natural for you to be sad or shed tears when you see your loved ones passing away. 
      • Tears are a sign of love and care. If you need to cry, there is no need to hold your tears back.
      • Crying may help your heart feel a bit lighter than how it is by suppressing the flow of your emotions.
      • You may talk to them about the happy times and memories you shared. Hug and kiss them and tell them how much they matter to you.
      • If, however, the dying person wants to tell you how they are feeling, you must discuss with them without unnecessarily sugarcoating the facts. Be a good and empathetic listener so that they may express whatever they want to.
  • Myth: Allowing the person to sleep or stay in bed for long will make them die sooner.
    • Fact: The person may feel reduced energy and stamina because they are nearing death.
      • Allowing them to sleep and get rest will only make them more comfortable and relaxed.
      • One must not force them to stay active because it will put more strain on their little energy reserves. This may make them feel more fatigued and uncomfortable.
      • Thus, there is no harm in allowing the person to get as much rest and sleep as they want.
  • Medically Reviewed on 10/27/2021

    References

    Image Source: Morsa Images / Getty Images

    Caregivers Nova Scotia. 5 Myths About Dying That Too Many People Believe. https://caregiversns.org/images/uploads/files/5%20Myths%20About%20Dying%20That%20Too%20Many%20People%20Believe.pdf

    Sethi-Brown A. Myths about Death and Dying in America. Hospice and Palliative Medicine Physician. https://www.integrativeasheville.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/IFMA-series-Myths-and-Realities-of-Dying-in-America.pdf

    Lamers W. Signs of Approaching Death. Hospice Foundation of America. https://hospicefoundation.org/Hospice-Care/Signs-of-Approaching-Death

    Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Signs of Dying. https://compassionandsupport.org/death-dying/signs-of-dying/

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