Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The "D" word.

So, today's homework sounds simple enough. Choose someone and talk about IT. The "D" word.

Death. Dying.

In our society, the "D" word is just as taboo as the "F" word. I guess it is our hope that if we don't talk about it, it won't occur. My mom, for example, believes that if you discuss death you are inviting death. She's not talking. My sister was willing to listen to what I had to say - and even interjected a comment or 2 - but was clearly uncomfortable with the topic of conversation and wanted to move on.

I look at it this way: it's gonna happen. It's inevitable. No one knows when. Not everyone gets sick and is put on notice, or given time to get their house in order. Long before this course I started telling my family what my wishes were, simply because I wanted things done MY way. Anyone who knows me as the control freak I am wouldn't be surprised by this. The only thing I want less than dying, is for someone else making the decisions on my behalf based on their beliefs, their fears, their wishes.

Our language regarding death is indicative of our attitude and general feelings with the concept of dying. Our terminology and images of death only increase our fear:
~ the grim reaper
~ kick the bucket
~ last curtain call
~ your last enemy
~ meeting your maker

A pastor, facilitating a module on Spiritual Issues Around Death and Dying raises this question:
"Now if you and I are uncomfortable with the idea of death (and we are largely on the outside looking in) can you imagine what the prospect of imminent death must do to the ones you'll be called to care for? They're facing their own demise; the general weakening of their body reminds them everyday of their mortality. They aren't what they used to be, and can't do what they used to do so they are going through the various phases of grief."

Try as we might, death can not be ignored. It is an inescapable fact of life. Since it can't be ignored, isn't it time we learned about death? Opened up and discussed death?

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