Acceptance and Denial of Death

In the season 8 finale of Grey’s Anatomy, a plane with many of the leading doctors of Seattle Grace crashed in the middle of nowhere.  Everyone is injured and scattered throughout the forest they crashed in.  Meredith Grey, Mark Sloan, and Cristina Yang are searching for Meredith’s half-sister Lexie.  They find her crushed under a piece of the plane.  Although Mark, Meredith, and Cristina are injured as well, they try to move the piece of the plane off of Lexie.  Realizing that they can’t remove it, Sloan holds her hand while she’s dying.  She realizes and understands that she’s going to die and tells him that, but he refuses to believe it.  He tells her that she isn’t going to die because they are going to spend the rest of their lives together.  Eventually, Lexie passes away while still holding onto Sloan’s hand.

When I watched this season finale in the past, I didn’t think much of it.  It was sad that Lexie passed away because she was a major character in the series, but I didn’t realize how she was accepting her death while Sloan was in denial of it.  It raises the question of how to console your loved ones when you know that you’re dying and they don’t want to accept it.  Are you supposed to attempt to comfort them as much as possible? Or is it okay to pass away knowing that at least you accepted your own death even if your loved ones didn’t?  Most people would probably say that being at peace with your death is considered “good,” but I wonder if that is valued more than whether or not your loved ones are at peace with it.  I also wonder if people who accept their death feel unsettled if their family or spouses don’t accept it as well.

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