Education, End-of-Life, Grief/Grieving/Bereavement, Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Hmmm…Convos on Death?

An article I came across on LinkedIn today by a colleague whom I know through LinkedIn is titled:

What we can learn from death rites of the past will help us treat the dead and grieving better today

 

“This taboo around death is a fairly modern, Western phenomenon. Past and present, societies have dealt with death and dying in diverse ways. It is clear from, for example, the outpouring of grief at Princess Diana’s death, and the conversations opening up around the 20th anniversary of the event, that these outlets are needed in our society too. High-profile celebrity deaths serve as sporadic catalysts for conversations that should be happening every day, in everyday lives.”

There is a group of individuals around the world trying to change this taboo and make death part of life again, meaning discussions and planning need to occur! I am one of these individuals; there are many more of us.

Why the fear? What changed over the past 100 years? Death happened at home in the past. The funeral and wake took place in the home and the whole community attended and assisted with the burial.

Then WWII happened and all changed. Too much death maybe? Too much destruction? More wars followed after….and still death is taboo today. Slowly this is changing….more of us are being vocal about the need for change, for discussions, but we are also the younger generation meaning baby boomers and younger.

Funerals are expensive! Burials are expensive! The average person needs 10-20k to die if using traditional funeral homes and doing a traditional burial. That is a lot of money and many do not have it. I do not have it. I opt for a more green burial and less expensive one as I am sure many others do or will as well.

“It was not so long ago in the UK that public outpouring of grief and practices that kept the dead close were acceptable. For example, in Victorian England, mourning clothes and jewelry were commonplace – Queen Victoria wore black for decades in mourning for Prince Albert.”

Today, death has been outsourced to professionals and, for many, dying happens in hospitals. But many doctors and nurses themselves feel uncomfortable with broaching the subject with relatives. Why is this? Are they not receiving training while in school? Why no training or discussions in the work place?

To work in a hospital, hospice or palliative care unit, to work with older adults…one must realize that patients and clients will die. Heck, we are all going to die one day! Accept this fact, stop trying to look younger and live longer with unnecessary tests, medications, and treatments if there is no hope, no proof it will help.

Instead, spend time with loved ones, enjoy life, and make the most of the time we have left…