Many Christians are deceived when they believe the death of Self causes their agony. In reality, their suffering is caused by what remains of their old life.
Pain exists in living tissue, not in what's dead. The more suddenly a man dies, the less pain he feels. Death becomes more painful to whoever resists it and prolongs the process. Our imagination exaggerates its terrors; our spirit endlessly argues to keep our old life alive; our self-love fights against death, like a sick man in his final struggle. But the way we die inwardly should be the same as how we want to die externally: quick and painless.
God's judgment of death has fallen on the spirit of man as well as on his body; whoever accepts this humbly will actually receive new life, where the old one has been judged and executed. Our greatest concern should be that our spirits learn to die so that when physical death comes, there will be no fear and no surprises, only a peaceful falling asleep.
Happy are they who sleep this sleep of peace!
~ F. Fenelon