I don’t know what it is about the year 2016, but it seems like everyone is dying. We’ve lost Prince, Mohammed Ali, David Bowie – and then there was Brussels, Orlando, Istanbul – and then Jo Cox, just to mention a few. I feel overwhelmed by death. Every time I hear about an attack or a passing, it feels closer and closer to home (even if it’s not). I cry, and I feel like I shouldn’t because it hasn’t happened “to me”. It’s like a snowball effect.
Actually it’s more like I have a limit to how much death I can take/hear about and I think I’ve pretty much reached it. You would think it would be the opposite, that I would be becoming more and more desensitised, but that is not the case and I think I know why.
No one talks about death until it happens — then it’s big news for a day or so and then it goes silent again. We don’t want to talk about it again. We might talk about the after effects, the memorials, the lawsuits , the politics behind it, but no one talks about the fact that someone died and what that really means.
It’s a taboo to talk about the fact that someone died – it’s morbid, it’s distasteful and it’s sad. But that pisses me off, because it’s the only thing that is 100% absolutely certain and inevitable and true. The only reason talking about death has a stigma is because we gave it one.
Is it really that big of a deal? Does it really mean anything? It’s sad, yes, and yes it can change the lives of the people left behind, but life is sad and life changes. Shouldn’t death just be another form of change that we should welcome and discuss? If we talked about it more I think it would be less scary, less of a big deal, more real. It’s like periods – why does nobody talk about them? Why have we just had the first advert with actual blood in it? Why are woman embarrassed when a tampon falls out of their handbag? It’s totally natural …just like death. Death will hurt regardless of whether we talk about it or not, but am I wrong in thinking that it would be a little bit more bearable if you could bring it up at a dinner party without feeling like you’re darkening the mood?
I don’t remember the last time I had a conversation about what happens after death. It’s a huge unknown for most people. Which partially explains why people don’t want to talk about it? People don’t like talking about what they don’t understand. That’s fair for things like Quantum Physics – I could go my whole life ignoring Quantum Physics and I would be just fine. But death is going to happen to all of us. So wouldn’t we do ourselves a favour by just talking about it. And not just when someone dies, but all the time. We should it a part of life, teaching our children not to fear it, but teaching them the value of time and the finite nature of our experience on this earth.
We all ignore death in our day to day lives. We don’t think about it until it happens and when it does we are totally lost at sea. No one knows what to say, what to feel, what to share online…When to stop crying, when to go back to work and of course, when to start living again. There is no rule book with death, but if we remembered every now and then that it will happen, and we spoke about it a bit more and a bit more openly, I think it would help us live richer and less ignorant lives. I think we would all be a bit less scared of saying what we think and of following the path less travelled. It would be so cool if everyone changed their fear of death into a love a life.
I know that is so cliche but man it is so true. Fear is such a bitch, but why are we all fearing something that WILL happen? IT WILL HAPPEN – MULTIPLE TIMES! I think amazing things can happen when you accept death as part of life. I’m not exactly speaking from experience, but from now on I’m definitely going to give it a try.