Hey Cowboy :)
My (also ex-JW) sister and I were discussing this, as her father in law passed away weeks ago after an eight year bout with cancer. It literally took the man piece by piece, and was hell for his family to watch. I was amazed by the fact that even though he was in his late sixties, he was determined to try everything he could to stay alive.
She asked me the same questions you ask, and my response was, "Hell, I don't know what's after death." Interesting choice of words I guess, eh?
I am not afraid to die. This may or may not be a by product of the years (and I mean years) that I spent living with suicidal depression.
I haven't been suicidal in five years and am looking forward to a long life (my husband says I have to live to be at least 110 :)
I live with pretty hefty pain courtesy of MS and am, realistically, looking at a decline in my health in years to come. I refuse to waste too much time thinking about it now, though. MS will not shorten my lifespan significantly, but (according to my doctors at least) it will in time pretty well disable me. Unless they find a cure. I have already lost a lot of my independence to it, but I won't let it take my spirit with it.
I think that fear of death is so closely related to what you believe happens afterward that I can't seperate the two. I also know that in my case it has a lot to do with the quality of my life. As I've become happier, I dislike the idea of dying much more (not fear, just dislike)
I'm not making much sense. What I'm trying to say is, I don't fear my own death so much as I fear trying to have to live a life without the people I love most.
Very deep. Will have to ponder this awhile. I agree with the others who have said though that if death is pre-occupying your thoughts or you feel depressed, please seek help. (This is to anyone on the board who may be contemplating) Life is worth hanging around for. I can say this from experience.