A Thought About Death: is There any Best Way to Die?

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

Death, a part that ends every life cycle, will there be an afterlife? or will there be nothing at all? We simply don’t know. But all things aside, there will be a way for us to face death itself maybe it’ll be old age, illnesses, some kind of accident, or maybe we’ll simply cease to exist caused by some kind of cosmic explosion or somekind. Thinking about this stuff makes me wonder “is there any best way to die?”. Is death suppose to be painless? quick? or maybe peaceful?

Out of curiosity, I asked my friends and colleague to think about their version of so called “best way to die” and their answer is simply entertaining and somewhat surprising, to me at least.

Personally, I think getting sniped while walking down the street is the best way to go. Short, surprising, and also too quick to feel any pain. Sure, it’d be traumatic as hell for the people nearby. But who knows, your death might spark a social movement, a yearlong news story that launches media, legal, and criminal justice careers. What a death!

Or I was thinking maybe just being left alone floating on an iceberg slowly drifting accross the arctic ocean, slowly dying from the temperature while seeing the northern sky constellation, thinking about life and whatever has happened, wouldn’t be such a bad way to go. Because from what I understand, the process of being freezed to death is supposed to be painless because you’ll eventually just go numb and don’t feel anything while slowly losing consciousness and eventually breathe out your last breath.

That is definitely beautiful end, in my opinion.

Most of my friends simply said dying of old age, surrounded by our loved ones is the most peaceful and normal way a human can ask when it comes to dying. Well, it’s not wrong.

Take the case of Brittany Maynard for example, she was an advocate for the legalization of the assisted suicide for the terminally ill. on january 2014, She was diagnosed with grade 2 astrocytoma (a form of brain cancer). The cancer returned in april 2014 and was then elevated to grade 4 astrocytoma, also known as glioblastoma, with a prognosis of six months to live. Long story short, she decided to take advantage of Oregon’s death wiht dignity law and planned to end her life on the 1st of November 2014 with drugs prescribed by her doctor. eventually it was reported by various media sources that she ended her life on the 1st of November, surrounded by her loved ones. A beautiful end to a life well lived.

But there is one of my friend answered my question with simply “being drowned”. It’s interesting for me because at first I thought drowning is definitely a painful and panic inducing experience and not to mention the relization of the inability to breathe must be terrifying, but apparently it only last a couple minute before we start to lose our consciousness. She said that drowning in fresh water must be one of the most peaceful experience human can possibly feel.

Some research stated that the condition of asphyxiation or the oxygen deprivation from human brain cause a condition called “hypoxic euphoria” which means that human brain may feel some moment of calm and maybe even happiness when it really needs oxygen. A study from 2011 stated that the level of serotonin, one of the chemical inside the brain that contribute to the feeling of happiness was tripled in the brains six rats. but, we can’t really rule out the same thing will happen to human. But it is still an interesting fact considering that endorphine and serotonin does also exist in human brain.

Then, there’s another question whispering inside my head, should death be painless?? The simple answer is, no. Realistically speaking, we can’t really choose the way we die, it may be painless but there is also a possibility that your death can be excruciatingly painful. But to the very least death should be comfortable. but this also may not be an option because more than 70% of the world don’t have access to opioids, the painkiller for people diagnosed with terminal stage of cancer or other illnesses. However, there are a lot of things your brain can do to ovecome the severe pain, from the balancing of the brain’s chemical itself or making a suggestion placed in it’s own subconscious that eventually create a placebo effect, which is actually a very powerful tool for human brain to overcome pain.

By that statement, death may be the most peaceful feeling human will ever feel, but death is still something we can’t really describe. I mean, we can describe how we die by drowning or maybe an accident that blow half of your head off, but the death caused by cancer or some illnesses is still tricky for us to figure out.

I think, death, as something we can’t really avoid isn’t supposed to be scary at all. We need to understand that death is something accompanying life, it is guaranteed to happen. We aren’t supposed to be afraid of something that eventually will come. Instead, we suppose to embrace it and see it as the final exit of life or rather the final moment of life we get to enjoy.

But, we need to go back to the reality where the chance to choose how we die is extremely thin, most of us maybe will go out surrounded with family or loved ones and maybe because of old age or maybe some organ failure will take our conciousness slowly and eventually kick the bucket.

Since death is something guaranteed to happen, there is something I need to say. That is to hold our dearest loved one close, to feel every moment in life as good as we can, to make every moment count. Just like Marcus Aurelius wrote and I quote “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live”. And we might all agree that the best way to die is simply to live our life the best we can, leaving no regrets and a ton of memories to be remembered by our loved ones.

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