Taken from this great spiritual author's book, Bread for the Journey
Many people say, "I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid of dying." This is quite understandable, since dying often means illness, pain, dependency, and loneliness.
The fear of dying is nothing to be ashamed of. It is the most human of all human fears. Jesus himself entered into that fear. In his anguish "sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood" (Luke 22:44). How must we deal with our fear of dying? Like Jesus we must pray that we may receive special strength to make the great passage to new life. Then we can trust that God will send us an angel to comfort us, as he sent an angel to Jesus.
We often wonder how death will occur for us. Through illness, accident, war, or a natural disaster? Will our deaths happen suddenly or gradually? There are no answers for these questions, so we really should not spend time worrying about them. We don't know how our lives will end, and this is a blessed ignorance! But there is an important question that we should consider: When our time to die comes, will we die in such a way that those we leave behind will not be devastated by grief or left with feelings of shame or guilt?
How we leave others depends largely on how we prepare ourselves for death. When we are able to die with grateful hearts, grateful to God and our families and friends, our deaths can become sources of life for others.
How do we make our deaths gifts for others? Very often people's lives are destroyed, harmed or permanently wounded by the deaths of their relatives or friends. We have to do whatever we can to avoid this. When we are near death what we say to those who are close to us, whether in spoken or in written words, is very important. When we express gratitude to them, ask forgiveness for our shortcomings and offer forgiveness for theirs, and express our sincere desire that they continue their lives without remorse but remembering the graces of our lives, then our deaths can become true gifts.
Hope and faith will both come to an end when we die. But love will remain. Love is eternal. Love comes from God and returns to God. When we die, we will lose everything that life gave us except love. The love with which we lived our lives is the life of God within us. It is the divine, indestructible core of our being. This love not only will remain but will also bear fruit from generation to generation.
When we approach death let us say to those we leave behind, "Don't let your heart be troubled. The love of God that dwells in my heart will come to you and offer you consolation and comfort."