Life & Death

What would life be like if we didn’t have to constantly worry about dying? If we were content enough in our daily lives to give up the fears of simply living then we could be comfortable in a simple death. If you think about it, there aren’t many absolutes in our world. We can count on two things…birth and death. Birth is often celebrated with open arms. We are more than happy to discuss the likeliness of a baby being born, but the same enthusiasm is often not found when planning a funeral for a loved one. However, there is a group of people that believe you should have the same sentiment about death, as one does about birth. Death shouldn’t be this lame, somber occasion. It should be a happy one, filled with all of the love and sentiment as welcoming one into the world. The fine people of the ‘death positivity’ movement would like to remind us of the fact that we are all going to “go gently into that dark night”. We often do not want to be reminded of our mortality or the fact that we have an expiration date. We do not want to think about what our death will look like or what will happen to us afterwards. But what is the worst that can happen if we do think about it? Some researchers say that embracing death is the way to go. 

A group of “death doulas” are being sought out to help stand by the sides of those that are dying. As much as we have people to bring us into the world, there are rarely people that are comfortable standing by the side of death. The resident social worker, Henry Fersko-Weiss, who works with these women said this “There are tremendous similarities between birthing and dying,” he said. “There’s a great deal unknown, there’s a great deal of pain and a need for support for the people around the person who is going through the experience.” These women sit with people that are dying. They talk with them, comfort them, and bring them into the afterlife. We often don’t discuss dying people so their final wishes rarely come to mind. For many of these people their dying wish is to simply have someone to be with them. We hardly think of the dying, but someone has to. The more discussions we have about death, the more we can advocate for those that are dying, and the more we can normalize it in our death-phobic society. 

Lauren Skvorak

New York Times:

“The Positive Death Movement Comes to Life”

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