Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Last Words: Talking About Death

In general, in northern and western culture at least, we are uncomfortable talking about death. This is generally not a problem because there are many other topics to claim our attention. However, the lack of fluency in the language of death can become a problem when the real thing confronts us.

If death were a rarity, only experienced by a few, the fact of such a stumbling block would be a minor matter. Since it is not, since death will come eventually to each one of us and to people we love, it is regrettable to settle for being tongue-tied when other possibilities exist for us.

It begins with the use of the word "death" and its derivatives: died, dying, dead.

We have become a culture unused to such words when it comes to people. Plants die, legislation dies but people "pass" or "cross over." "He got bad news," we allow, or "she's losing ground," we say, as though the process of dying was something that could be exchanged the next day for good news or ground gained.

There are good reasons to learn to call death by its name:

  • it can make it easier for others around us to broach the subject,
  • it can be a concrete way to model for children that death is a part of the experience of this life,
  • it can allow those who are dying to come in from the cold of our conspiracy of silence, and
  • it can help us reclaim the end of life, as its beginning, as a time of opportunity.

One of life's truths is that times of crisis can open doors and create new options. This is true for the crisis embodied in approaching death. Many are the stories of mended relationships, discovery of purpose and finally getting to a place of saying "I love you" right out loud when death draws near.

These things happen because the fact of death shakes us up and sometimes we need that in order to set appropriate priorities and seek to make the most of each day.

To talk about death is to talk about life, ultimately. It is to be open to the possibilities of the moment and to find perspective. It is a call to examine what each day brings and focus upon relationships. It is to acknowledge our mortality and in so doing, to find opportunity to handle matters of meaning and truth.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6274035

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