I often wondered what it was that caused
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One patient, a psychologist, needed to know exactly what was going on in his body as it shut down. We'd established a rapport when he still had hope of survival and was exploring metaphysics, so it was easy for us to talk about the physical aspect of dying. This was how he coped, emotionally. Spiritually, he was searching for understanding, so we'd talk about what it meant to die. Many of the other nurses couldn't handle his need to discuss every minute detail of the dying process and often broke down in tears. But he and I connected on a level that was profound. We looked at the process as an adventure to explore. We laughed at death, we got angry with the dying process, we cried through the pain, and reasoned our way to acceptance. He thanked me for my willingness to explore the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the dying process with him. He was grateful for my ability to allow him to be and experience everything without judgment. Toward the end, I knew I'd be off for three days and said my goodbyes at the end of my shift. I asked him to say hi to my dad when he got to the other side. I was shocked to see his name on the board when I returned. I walked into his room and asked, "What are you still doing here?" "Just hanging around, kicking tires, trying to see if any are flat," he said. I interpreted that to mean he was just biding his time, ready to go, completely at peace. That day he was put on a morphine drip. He slipped into oblivion followed quickly by death. The nurse in charge of hospice came to see me shortly after. She said he wanted her to pass on to me how thankful he was for my ability to help him face death with grace and ease, that I helped make breaking news his final moments here meaningful. Each time I helped someone find peace in dying, and God as love, I was also realigning my own beliefs. Each time my beliefs were realigned, I felt a greater understanding of God's infinite source of love and guidance. With each insight into the infinite possibilities and resources available, I sensed the courage to step into trusting God and myself more, and fear continued to shrink. This manifested in my relationship with my dying psychologist friend, and unbeknown to me, our relationship had already influenced my future.