People really need to learn how to talk about death.
On many different levels. It’s inevitable: sit with it.
It’s a painful, but 100% accurate teacher that will show you yourself and the truth of every relationship you have. What’s particularly cruel is that the test will come before the lessons.
Best come at least somewhat prepared because denial and lies will not help you.
I’ve never had a problem talking about death and am not bottled up now, but SO many people can’t even approach the subject or they block it’s reality with trite sayings learned by rote.
My Goddaughter, Kibra, said it well: “It’s a profound experience and people feel that they should say something profound but they’re really not up to the task.”
Nearly half the people I know have no will or insurance. They most certainly have no ability to hold a conversation, much less comfort or advise someone in grief. Part of the problem is that in the US, few people live with multiple generations and people don’t often die at home. The outsourcing of the elder care and “the medicalization of death put those realities at a remove from life” (Rebecca Karl) and the entire progression of life and it’s inevitable realities are problematized in ways that are ultimately antisocial and dehumanizing.
This is another area where our healthcare systems fail miserably and because people are so afraid of the subject, they don’t recognize the importance of fighting for a national healthcare system that would support at-home care as long as is feasible, as well as the handling of death and its after effects in a respectful, cost effective manner that would reacquaint families with a basic understanding of the process, which in turn might help grow genuine compassion, empathy, and grace in us all.
Death doulas are one immediate source of knowledge, but not accessible to all. Our fear of death and our inability to have these conversations is where it must begin. We must mature as a society and find kinder ways to deal with our problems, because I can assure you, Death, as a reality and metaphysics, is not going away.
Thus endeth the lesson.