It's not "can" in my view but "is" a painful process and on many levels. And it only "is" if you let it. The process of how you live your life to that end will pave the way to whether the end is painful or manageable or not.
As for the afterlife, it has been thousands and thousands of years, Millenium even but as must has been written thru the ages, not one iota of proof has ever surface and can be repeated time and again to show life after death. You can wish for it, you can sort readings to help you manage your fear of the unknown and grasp at anything of faith to make that end 'pleasant' then fearful. But we just have to accept that like everything else in this world, where there is a begining and a middle, there also is an end. If there is an afterlife...or not...well it is too late then when you close your eyes for the final time. But you have to also know that part of that fear factor in you about death, it is really an auto mechanism as a living being or an animal for self preservation...it is only natural that even though we are right at the top of the food chain, the concept of death triggers various state of well being in all of us. Unlike animals lacking the intelligents of humans to react but in just two ways. Flight or Fight, we humans then to be "creative" and sometime bordering on madness to come up with ways to look at death, defend against or even avoid it if possible.
For me, really..why are we even dwelling so much on the end when we should be doing more with the journey we are on. Do you need an afterlife to make you a good person now? What will you leave behind that is good or bad for the rest of the world when you leave this realm? What's your legacy? What do you want to do with your life today?
If you fear death then you will fear to live. That's me.