In western culture we are TERRIFIED of death. Completely obsessively terrified of it. We are scared of even getting old because of it. We vilify anything having to do with it, and we indulge in intense bouts of sadness over it.
Now, I’m not saying death is easy or not emotional. I am talking specifically about the over dramatizing of it. Everyone dies. It’s a natural cycle of living. Trying to live forever – the cryogenic freezing business, getting MASSIVE amounts of plastic surgery to try to not look old, treating people’s dead bodies with insane measures all work against a health response to death. Mourning is natural – and I am not talking about normal mourning. Death is hard. Missing loved ones is one of the hardest things.
But the central idea behind all of this sadness is disconnection. And in my opinion that is simply not the truth. Sure you can’t do the things you used to do with them, or physically see or touch them, but they are there. The other side is not so far away as we tend to think it is!
If we knew just how close our loved ones really are to us maybe we could be just a tiny bit less sad.
Looking at other cultures is amazing when talking about death and how people view it. Tribal cultures treat it as another passage we all go through, like puberty, and childbirth etc… They don’t vilify it. They honor it. Maybe that’s because they know it’s natural and that the other side is not some far away abstract untouchable place like “heaven.”
I would love to hear your thoughts of how to honor our loved ones as they pass. How can we help them pass with dignity instead of forcing them to live in comas, or other completely non-living ways, just because we (the living) can’t handle their death. Please comment below.