I recently read ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’, a beautifully written book about how Morrie, a professor approaches his slow, certain and painful end. He is reconciled to the inevitable and does not curse his fate. Instead of spending his last days mournfully, he wants to live them to the full. He neither indulges in self-pity nor wants any sympathy from others. Morrie does not want his close ones to depart from their normal routines to take care of him. This attitude wins him hordes of friends and admirers.
Most terminally ill patients will not die like Morrie. They will keep sulking up to the last moment, making things difficult for themselves and others. They will pass their remaining days in fear - fear of death. They will like their near and dear ones not to do anything other than make a huddle around them. They will depart for the other world only after having extracted their full share of attention in this world.
I think, with some effort and thinking, such people can develop the right attitude and behave like Morrie. What is the point in puffing and panting about something which is going to happen anyway? Why create an atmosphere of gloom before the end has actually arrived? Why crave for sympathy instead of love? Why not make the dying days as full of life as possible?
There is some merit in knowing in advance that one is going to die soon. One can plan how best to utilize the days one is left with. The knowledge of impending death can bring out the best qualities in the person. His concerns may change from the mundane to the lofty.
Perhaps, the biggest plus in knowing about the impending death is that it can generate a tremendous flow of love back and forth between the dying person and those around him. Death can reveal the love that life hides. A short death full of love is much better than a long life full of hatred and indifference.