What will dying be like?

It’s common to have misconceptions or fears about what dying is like. Many people say they don’t fear death as much as the unknowns of dying. Having some idea of what to expect can make the process easier, while not being prepared for what might happen can be distressing for you as well as for your family and friends.

If you’ve been with a person who has died, this experience will influence how you feel about dying. It may have left you reassured, thoughtful, sad, angry or scared. You may have been disturbed by some of the physical changes that happened to the person. For example, perhaps it appeared they were having trouble breathing, or they seemed to be in pain or uncomfortable.

It will help to talk to your doctor or to the palliative care staff. They can explain the physical dying process and reassure you that you will be cared for.

Modern health care means that people should not die in pain or distress. If you have symptoms that are not well controlled, you can ask a palliative care team to help. Learn more about the physical dying process.

  − Nurse

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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