When asked the following question, Adrian Allotey, Owner of You Are Not Alone Elder Care LLC and Certified End of Life Doula, responded as such.
Q: In your experience, why are people afraid of death? How does your line of work help ease those fears?
A: Not everyone is afraid of death. Those who are may be afraid for different reasons. Most are afraid of what they don’t know. In addition, we have so much to leave behind in this world. The person with the terminal diagnosis may have experienced death secondhand with a family member or friend dying. Outside of the supernatural, we only get one chance to do it for ourselves. These final moments are unknown. No matter what has happened in our lives, we all know and understand what living is all about. We aren’t that fortunate to know what dying is all about, the fear of the unknown.
Some of us have a belief system of afterlife. I have seen people with no religion or afterlife beliefs, develop them in their last moments. I have also seen people with a very long history of religion and afterlife beliefs question them and doubt their own readiness to die. There are so many societal messages that foster the good life vs the bad life and the effects of each on the afterlife. These messages can bring on fear as well.
In this world, we have many roles that we play; family member, friend, worker, pet owner, etc. There are so many wonderful reasons to live and the thought of leaving that all behind can be fearful. I find people want to make sure others are taken care of in their absence. Some people are not only afraid for themselves but their loved ones as well.
When I enter into a relationship with someone who has a terminal diagnosis, I listen intently. I allow them to feel what they are feeling. I allow them to ask the difficult questions of themselves and their belief system. I don’t rush them through their feelings. That is not my job nor is it beneficial for anyone. Fear does lessen over time with the proper care, support and education. I haven’t ever personally worked with a person whose fears haven’t been minimized. If I ever do, I am ok with that too.