Almost none of us talk about it---the subject of death. We hide it under a blanket named the cares and concerns of daily living. Undertaker cosmeticians meanwhile dress the deceased to appear as if in deep sleep. It is all of it understandable; yet so momentous the passage from life to death, is it not worthwhile to suggest it be afforded thoughtful and considerate preparation?
Wills put in order. Funeral arrangements made. If death is imminent, farewells extended to family and friends.
But is there a responsibility to prepare to die for the sake of oneself? Is there duty to contemplate the matter, to weigh the pounds and measure the feet of what is the last act of living? Is there value to ask oneself--- how does a person die well? Is there worth to evaluate an enigmatic question? How do I die with peace of mind even if in physical agony?
Decades ago, a friend had hurled himself out a four story window. He had approached near to successful suicide. An attending surgeon, at his hospital bed after the operation, reportedly said to him that after we doctors did everything medically possible to save you, you hovered between life and death for two hours.
This fellow experienced a lesson he tells me he will never forget. Yes, without emergency medical aid he'd have died, undoubtedly, but it was spiritual healing that saved his life.
Is living then as to cultivate the spirit of life--- as opposed to the spirit of death--- a beneficial method to prepare for death?
I say yes. Whether or not individual, personal consciousness exists after death is not so much the question at hand here. The question being asked is how can we die well if we have not lived well?
My friend who attempted suicide still lives. He learns. I can see the changes myself in this now much older man. He is learning to live to add rather than detract from life. He is learning to respond rather than react. He is learning how to distinguish, so to speak, between clever disguise and authentic apparition. His character development is more important to him than material accomplishment, yet he does accept the call to make the most of his talent. In fact, he believes he will live after he does die. Scientific absurdity. But to him, this personal belief is the most succinct ingredient in his recipe book on how best to prepare to meet death.