Why do some people wait to die alone?

Contrary to the belief that every person opts to be surrounded by their loved ones during the final hours of their life, there are people who wish to die alone.

According to some hospice experts, having someone present at the time of dying is a personal preference. There are instances when a person dies in the middle of the night. There are also stories of loved ones stepping away briefly only for the patient to pass.

Glenys Caswell, a senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham, suggests that individuals have a certain level of influence over the timing of their own death, with some opting to wait until they are left all alone, with no loved ones by their side. Caswell adds that “contrary to societal norms, dying alone is not always viewed negatively by those facing the end of life.”

While this notion may appear grim, Caswell, who specializes in the study of death, highlights that many individuals prefer not to be fussed over when they don’t feel well.

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Study conducted by the New York University Langone School of Medicine, published in October of last year, explains that individuals remain conscious of their impending death even after their body stops showing any signs of life.

Lizzy Miles, a hospice social worker, believes that when they decide to die alone, individuals want to protect their family from seeing death up close and experiencing greater emotional pain. This is seen more at parents who are passing away than individuals who don’t have children.

This shows the sacrifice some individuals are prepared to undertake in order to alleviate the weight of their departure.

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Cultural factors and personal convictions significantly affect one’s preferences for the end of life. Glenys Caswell’s comprehensive research emphasizes that societal expectations frequently highlight the significance of having loved ones present during death, yet individual outlooks diverge greatly. Aspects such as healthcare policies, media portrayal of death, and personal comfort thresholds all play roles in shaping a spectrum of viewpoints regarding dying alone.

The truth is that dying alone is often related to a lonely, sad death. Many cultural references also suggest this to be true. For example, the death of Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is dark, lonely, and a way of dying to be avoided.

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When a celebrity dies surrounded by family and friends, the media portrays that form of dying as peaceful.

Engaging in open discussions can also alleviate some of the guilt imposed on family members who are unable to be present at the moment of their loved one’s passing.

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