To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).
This topic may sound morbid but I really became interested after my beloved grandma passed away at age 93. Grandma was ready to die. She mentioned it many times. She had a large family and was always there for her children and grandchildren. Though of modest means, Grandma was rich with unconditional love and caring. My children, her great-grandchildren, also loved her deeply. But Grandma was one of the last survivors of her people and her generation. It can be lonely to be the last.
After Grandma fell the first time, she was never the "same" grandma. I think we all knew it would be the beginning of the end. She insisted that she live in her home--in case anyone needed a place to stay, and she cooked and cleaned, entertained, attended church, continued to travel to relatives homes and live as normally as possible. However a couple of years before she died, she had an episode like a mild stroke that seemed to change her personality. Whenever I was around her she was very much the same and recognized me, but I knew that some of her behaviors were not right.
Grandma talked to me about her loved ones now gone, and how she was the last of her very large family. Even some of her twelve children had died and a few of the grandchildren. It seemed like life had become more of a struggle than she could bear. This was sad for me because I couldn't imagine a time without Grandma. Even now as I write this, I want to reach out and hug her small, bent and fraile figure once more.
I knew that it was Grandma's time to die and I wish I could have done more to help her through it. I was sad for my aunts and uncles who seemed to not deal well with her slow demise. They almost seemed to resent Grandma for leaving them--I think we all depended on her more than we knew.
However, I think I can accept the death of an elderly loved one more than the death of someone in the prime of life. That's what I fear the most. What I learned from this experience is to get my affairs in order in a clear and concise manner. I need to let my loved ones know what I want so that they can help me die with dignity and peace whenever that time comes. I recommend reading It's OK to Die, by Monica and Kris Murphy for anyone who needs help preparing for the eventuality of death.