It also explains, I suppose, why I'm a bit more serious than most. Though I'm not a physician and do not work in a medical hospital, I do think about life and death everyday. Not only the meaning of life, when I write, but the agonies of life, when I work. Struggles with mental health are struggles to maintain hope, balance and motivation in life.
For people who are dying, the mental health struggles are to maintain belief that they have lived a good and worthy life that will leave a lasting legacy, avoid guilt over people and problems they will leave behind, and faith that the death they face will be humane, and the possible afterlife they enter blessed.
Often, a reckoning with death will leave you with lessons for the living. There are found in books like Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom about his conversations with Morrie Schwartz, who was a great teacher. Or The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, also a great teacher.
I am not, personally, a huge fan of books like this because I like getting my lessons sideways rather than head-on. In other words, I don't like being told what to do. But these books do have great quotes and lessons and if you can apply them, more power to you. Here's some from Morrie:
On Getting Meaning into Life:
"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." (p.43).On Needing Others:
"In the beginning of life, when we were infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here's the secret: in between, we need others as well." (p.157)On Death :
"Death ends a life, not a relationship." (p.174)
And from from Randy:
“When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore that means they’ve given up on you…you may not want to hear it but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you and want to make you better.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
“Kids need to know their parents love them. Their parents don’t need to be alive for that to happen.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
“I love all three of my kids completely and differently. And I want them to know that I will love them for as long as they live. I will.”
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander. He went to heaven, and came back to tell us about it, and disprove all the ways it could have been a hallucination. It's pretty fascinating. It's more up my aisle--here's my mind-blowing experience, and how I tried to disprove it but couldn't. Make of it what you will.
But all you really need to know unless you want more :) is that we are loved by a higher being, and we are here on this earth to love others. When we leave, we retreat into a world of all love and no suffering. God is Love, and love is unbearably powerful.
There's nothing else.
"Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in its spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”
― Viktor E. Frankl