Embrace death; it’s a part of life

Zoë Donovan, Staff Reporter

As young vibrant college students, we don’t usually think about death on a regular basis as anything more than an abstract concept.

For the most part we aren’t writing wills, choosing caskets or thinking about what we want to be dressed in at our wake.

We as a society don’t like to contemplate our own mortality very much; we don’t like to be reminded of the fact that eventually each and every one of us will be dead.

We all know it, but we don’t like to talk about it, so let’s break down that wall and talk about death this Halloween.

In the past decade there has been a mostly online but also in person movement away from the fear laced, death phobic culture that we live in and try to focus on a more death positive life.

Started in January of 2011, by California mortician, Caitlin Doughty, The Order of the Good Death seeks to work towards a more open and nuanced look at not only death but also the funeral industry.

Death is a natural part of life, and hiding it away doesn’t make it any less real. Hiding it away only creates more anxiety in our society and in individuals. It’s not advocating for death, it is about the acknowledgement of it as a normal part of life.

One way that can help you to be more death positive is through simple, honest and open discussion.

Doughty advocates the presence of family and loved ones with the deceased individual after death, and that they should be involved if they so choose to and want to be involved in the post death processes, and reform within the funeral and death care industry.

The current funeral care industry treats death like it is an emergency that everything has to be taken care of right now, but as Doughty states, after someone passes away in a hospital, hospice care or at home, there is no emergency. Time can be taken for ritual, be they spiritual or secular.

“What I believe to be the problem is the lack of the dead body, the lack of reality, the lack of the ritual around the death,” Doughty says. “The solution is a return to all that.”

By being present and not removing ourselves it helps to create a more real sense of what is going to happen and can allow people to better take a look at and prioritize their lives, by embracing death positivity you can live a better life.

Zoë Donovan is a junior journalism major. They can be reached at 581–2812 or at [email protected].