"There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But
those who do realize this settle their quarrels." -from the opening
section of The Dhammapada
"I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in
order to enjoy ourselves."
"Death is not an event in life: we do not
live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite
temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those
who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our
visual field has no limits."
"Tell them I've had a wonderful life."
I don't think there can be a prescriptive answer. I suggest the open-ended answer: How to be ready to let go. Because:
"If you're frightened of dying and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth." -from the film Jacob's Ladder, allegedly paraphrasing Meister Eckhart, but not really
How a story finishes,can substantially but not unlimitedly, affect how the narrative is understood. We have conventions, that at that stage of a narrative we look for lessons, the moral of the story,to understand how a hero's journey has changed them. And our attention remains on loose ends, unresolved tensions or injustice, legacy and epitaph. People will experience and respond to that differently. But approaching death that isn't sudden, means taking stock of the shape of a person's life as a whole.
It is fascinating to me how these things, needing to reconcile with the new situation of concretely finite time left, and to shift mental gears to reflecting on your whole situation, are being impacted by psychedelics in palliative care. Eg
These substances are understood to act primarily through inducing greater neuroplasticity, linked with providing time when activity of the default-mode-network is suppressed, which seems to be a system linked to constructing and managing our 'social self'. The period when death is known to be coming soon, while in hospice care or recieving palliative care, is a time that can be critical to relating to your life as a whole, and making the most in whatever way, of your impacts on the world. Above all, to make peace with who you have been, and reconcile yourself with what you will leave behind. To not be stuck in old habits, is crucial to using the opportunity.
I don't recommend trying to die happy. But, to aim to die at peace. You don't need to wait for your death bed though to make peace, as the Dhammapada says. Aim for a life worth having lived; a wonderful life..
"And the earth looked at me and said "Wasn't that fun?" And I replied
"I'm sorry if I hurt anyone" And without even thinking cast me into
space But before she did that she wiped off my own face She said
better luck next time don't worry so much Without ears I couldn't hear
I could just feel the touch As I fell asleep softly at the edge of a
cave But I should have gone deeper but I'm not so brave" - When I
Was Done Dying, Dan Deacon
"It's just a ride." -Bill Hicks