On Death and Dying

rani's picture

Sultans Tomb

Pardon me for being a little morbid in this writing. Death is an interesting thing. From my experience I can conclude two things. When death happens around me, I felt scared. But when I was face-to-face with my own death, I surrendered to it quite happily.

On Dying

So far, I have been face-to-face with death twice. The first one when my friend’s car skidded on the road between Jakarta and Bandung, I was sitting in front. It happened so fast, and during the skid I only thought “What’s gonna happen now? Ayayaya the car is uncontrollable! It’s just like in the movie! How exciting!” Only when it’s all over I realize I had been in a very serious and possibly fatal situation. If there had been a car, bus, or truck from the opposite direction, I would’ve been squashed flat to death. Only then I began to shake and sigh in relief that I was still alive.

The second time was when I gave birth of my first son Noe. I was hemorrhaging and I lost more than half of my blood. If you’re pregnant and may be affected by this story, stop reading NOW! But rest assured that my condition is not commonly happening, so you don’t need to be afraid.

I think the bleeding happened quite slowly, in a 30-minutes period after the birth. Blood was just gushing steadily from my underside, and I saw the concerned look from the doctor. During the whole thing, I wasn’t (or didn’t have time to be) scared of death. This is roughly the sequence events and my thoughts, as far as I could remember now:

  1. Initially : “Yay! I gave birth of Noe! Now the placenta should be out soon, and I should be able to rest in the ward
  2. Then the doctor began stitching my underside, I thought: “Ouch I can felt the needle. Hope it’ll be over soon
  3. Then the doctor began to clean up and wiping the blood off my underside, but it seemed never ending. On the other hand, I felt that blood was steadily gushing down after every wipe the doctor made. The doctor began to have a concerned look, “Hmm.. what happened now? Looks like it won’t be over so soon. Quick quick!
  4. The blood kept gushing, I had a flash of imagination of a chinese movie where a mother died of bleeding during childbirth (Is it Zhang Yimou’s?), I thought, “Ah I see, I think I am experiencing post-partum bleeding.. how cool! Just like in the movie!” I swear to you, I really thought like this!
  5. The doctor fetched a big metal tool that looks like a big clamp to yank open my underside, I thought, “What the hell is that big clamp? It’s going inside me? Oh no.. I don’t want to see!” and I roll my eyes back not wanting to see it.
  6. Meanwhile, a group of nurses entered the delivery ward to respond to what seems to be an emergency. She said, “We need to hook up an IV to you”. Then she went to poke, I thought “ouch!”. Couldn’t find the vein. Poked another spot, “Ouch!” again. I think my vein shrank due to the blood loss it was damn difficult for them to find it, and at the end there was a few poking. I thought, “C’mon, can you do this quickly? Don’t poke too much, can’t you see I have to worry about other things here, like, actually dying? Pfft!
  7. I started to become delirious, in and out of consciousness, I began to feel that I flew out of my body, and I began to feel that my body became colder. The doctor asked me ,”I brought a senior doctor, do you agree to allow her to help you?” I weakly answered “yes….” Whereas my mind thought “Whatever, lah.. do whatever you think can help to quickly resolve this.. just hurry up!” I meant it to hurry finish it in whatever way, dead or alive.
  8. The senior doctor was calm and positive, she said the bleeding has stopped, and the oxytocin drip has worked. So then it stopped there, I felt weak, thirsty and my body cold, but I didn’t go further as to see a tunnel and a light at the end of the tunnel.

When the doctor and nurses wrapped up everything, I began to realize the seriousness of the situation. My mum entered the room with a very concerned look. Later I heard that my husband cried at home because he was scared of losing me.

How did I personally feel? I felt relieved that it’s all over. But I could say that during the height of the event, I totally surrendered to the fact that I could either live or die. Not once did I think during the height of the event that “I don’t wanna die!”. Instead, I thought more of “If I have to live, I’ll live, and if I have to die, I’ll die”. After that, I was not relieved because I finally stayed alive, but simply because it’s all over.

In conclusion, I think, when we are actually face-to-face with death, we wouldn’t have time to be afraid of death anymore. I think we all would surrender to that event that would lead to death. Maybe it’s like, when you realize your parachute won’t open, you just surrender to the fact that it won’t open and you might as well enjoy the fall.

On Other People’s Death

Interestingly, we seem to be more afraid of death when it happens around us, rather than when we’re actually face-to-face with it. Have you ever been close to other people’s death? Perhaps you have, when your friend or family members passed away. For me, when someone close to me passes away, I became quite somber and sad. For a few days I could endlessly think why it happened and how it impacted the people around the person who died.

One of a death event that affected me quite profoundly was my cousin's death 2 years ago. Her death, which was caused by amniotic fluid embolism during childbirth, freaked me out because of two things. First, I was due for my own childbirth within 3 weeks after her death. It was inevitable that I became really distraught. Secondly, my first childbirth was complicated by pre-eclampsia and severe hemorrhage and that practically put me into the high risk category, even though I don't experience pre-eclampsia now.

So basically the first few days after her death I was very much distraught, and I couldn't sleep at night thinking about her and my death. I became very scared of childbirth that faces me in a few weeks time. But I couldn't explain to myself on what exactly made me distraught and scared. Come to think of it, I was scared more from thinking about what would happen to my family when I die, what happened to the baby if I were absent, rather than being scared of the afterlife. That was what I thought at that time. This was the time, when I thought, “I don’t want to die!

With the help of my friend, I went through my fear by writing about my feelings: fear, worry, anxiety, etc. So that’s what I did, and I also wrote my will before going onto childbirth. When my feelings were poured out in writings, I felt relieved and continued with my life. Fortunately my second childbirth was free of complication, so I didn’t need to use my will.

So.. in summary, death is an interesting thing! I think you won't have time to be scared when you face death, but you will definitely be scared when other people died! What’s your thoughts or experience with death and dying?




When it knocks, pasrah lah...

Death knocked on my door once when my car hit a big hole in the road and flew 50 or so cm off the ground, destroyed my two wheels. It was like you said, calm, exciting, adrenaline pumping, yet scared shitless in the end.

I think you're right, we

I think you're right, we seem to be braver in our own death. Fear from thinking about something that might happen is often worse than the real thing happening.

Like they say, a coward dies 1000s times in their life, a brave person dies but once.


I suffered an Amniotic Fluid Embolism and DIC two and a half years ago and was given a 10% chance of survival. I felt my Grandfather (who had passed away a year earlier) hold my hand during the seven hour "surgery". There is a peace that comes with hovering on the edge of life that one could never fully express... and an unimaginable anguish that remains when you manage to survive. My heart goes out to you.

I think it is interesting

I think it is interesting the deaths and near-deaths you write about are all quick and in a sense clean ones.
I can't think of any reason why we should, for ourselves, fear *being* dead (it helps to be atheist perhaps ;)). The grief is for those left behind.
but the *process* of dying can be awful: long-drawn out years of pain, indignity, institutional care, medical interventions inflicted in the interest of 'keeping the body alive' long after the will to live has gone - all the things done in a culture that won't tolerate death (and of course, hospitals which have far more to gain from keeping the body alive). I would go to some lengths to avoid that!

My comment

Please do not be offended by me saying this, since I really don't have any intention to make any offensive remarks of any kind. But I think those that are saying that they do not fear death, has never actually really in a situation where death looming very close to them. It is easy to say "I do not fear death" while our conception of death itself is limited to those around us, while we have never actually near death itself.

I personally fear death. It is the concept of not knowing what will happen after you die that makes me feeling scared about death... The concept where there is a great possibility that you will be forever erased from the world scares me...

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Life is priceless

Death and after death is a matter which is very mysterious. I was in the verge of death, but I am saved by God's mercy by allowing me to continue my life.

Me encanto las fotos !!

Me encanta poder encontrar artículos de interes en la red, sin lugar a dudas cada dia vamos mejorando. Saludos !


Something I fear, yes. Not "being" around, and knowing that I my time meant very little and that my mind will slip away into silence....scary stuff imho.

Excellent Post. Thanks

Excellent Post. Thanks

Facing death can be a terrifying experience

Facing death can be a terrifying experience. But Some of us do not care about that...just suicide themselves. This is because they think life is not value than death.
I believe in life after death. I also believe that i have life after my death in heaven. I am not that much scare of death but i don't challenge death.

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