Let me mention again how curious it is that we have a final-moments narrative not only about repentance, but about whether a person's life was happy on this earth. If a person has a generally wonderful life, with friends, family, productive activity, health, and all the fixin's yet dies alone in a last few minutes of pain and confusion, or even a bit neglected and lonely over the final year at a ripe age because loved ones are far or have already died we feel that it's all so terribly sad. In the opposite case, a person who was abused and struggled, suffered through bad health and general privation but comes in the final year to have come to a place of joy and acceptance we tend to think of it as a good life, solely because of the happy ending. I don't think the books and movies trained us to this (though they might have), but the books and movies reflect what is already installed in our psyches.
How the story ends works backwards on our understanding. Even as I find this not quite sensible, and even a little horrifying, I find the feeling in myself. To die alone is seen as a great tragedy, but is it? I might rather be left alone with my God myself - the rest of you will do fine without having to be there. There are worse terrors than being alone.
Is this so in all cultures or only Abrahamic ones, where the triumphant end to the spiritual story primes us to treat earthly life the same way?