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Death is the end of a living beings life. An organism maintains life through the vital processes; they include photosynthesis for plants, chemosynthesis, cell generation, cellular respiration and a balance in homeostasis. Scientifically speaking, death is the failure of such processes to maintain the living organism to be able to sustain itself. It should be noted that life’s ending is different from the condition of losing life is different. Death can define both .
As such, the terms ending of life can be said to be quite ambiguous. It may mean the processes by which a person’s life is gradually extinguished to the final stage where it is gone. In another view, it could be seen as a momentary event. To understand the process better, we can look at the same in three phases. The first is that it might be the end of the whole death process- final loss of any traces of life. It can be called denouement death. The second is where at a point in the dying process, death is a certainty no matter the steps taken to save the life. The moment can be called threshold death. There is the third possibility that is called integration death and is defined as life ends when all psychological systems cease to function together or as a whole. This means that death could be a state, a process to eventual extinction, or any of three events that characterize the process of dying.
Up to 1969 death was seen as a taboo. The class text book seeks to review death in a way that impacts on the reader. There are stages of death just as there are stages for a young child. They are five in total and include denial, anger/annoyance, bargaining, personal depression and finally acceptance. Critics believe that the person’s adaptation to the terminal illness can be attributed to factors such as sex, age, ethnic background, personality, interpersonal relationships and lifestyle. The book reveals the stages as they are faced and helps to remove the myths and fear surrounded by death.
In relation to some sample cases in the book, when the sick person has a partial acceptance that they will die, family members will continue to grieve over lost ones. This as if they believed life was permanent. Even when they were well prepared for the death, it leaves the family with wounds that take long to heal. Issues of finance and the will keep her the dead person alive in their minds. The death process on the patients side is characterized by personal life bargaining. The ill person will say to themselves that if only they had done certain things differently, they would have lived longer. They would have had time to clean up heir behaviors and lead a better life. This section is very important for our day to day lives. It helps us to self examine our lives and find out whether whatever we do is worth the life we have.
Recent developments in the view for life have been necessitated by technological advances in the medical field. Bioethicists have come on cross roads in matters pertaining to life-support an when to consider a person on these machines as dead. When the patient has been on the machine and the family seeks disconnection due to the expenses or deteriorating conditions, bioethicists have a hard time. Often, the patient could have the whole body dead apart from the vital organs. Questions have arisen as to whether it is ethical to disconnect the machine on grounds that it is unfair fir the patient to remain hooked to machine and drugs. These contentions clearly mirror bigger debates in the medical field on when and how to limit the application of medical technology to prolong the life of a terminally ill patient.
Some professionals in this field argue that when these machines are used to prolong life, especially when there is no cure to the extent of the disease, the patient is forced to undergo an unnatural and very horrifying death. They believe since I is unnatural, it is also sinful bearing in mind that the patient is in no position to give their opinion. They criticize the process as one that believes that death is curable or can at least be prolonged temporarily. To them and to everyone, death is inevitable and as such should be left to occur naturally in extreme cases.
Attitudes to death have changed over the years. In Europe, a person’s death was viewed as a reflection of the person’s fears and anxiety for example a long and very painful death. There were questions on what happened to the self of the individual after death. They questioned whether death equaled a fight for ones soul. In the west, the dead were impure and were buried outside towns. Between 500-1100 AD, it becomes a public and familiar event. The belief is that it is merely sleep. The poor were buried in common/mass graves as the rich have graves around churches. As people get civilized, the idea of death becomes better understood. As of 1600-1800, the view is that it is natural and a beautiful thing. It is the transition period as eroticization is introduced as people seek to store body parts of loved ones. In the turn of the 1900, death is made a medical case, and as such take over by doctors. It is not natural and is thus a failure of the medical staff.