14 February, 2012

Am I dying...or what?

Is it fair to characterize America's culture as death-denying? Except for the fact that nearly everybody would admit they will indeed die some day, it is true that most would prefer not to talk about it, especially by using the word "death". This is why we say people pass, pass on, pass away, croak, decease, buy the farm, cash in one's chips, give up the ghost, kick the bucket, perish, expire, go, go to a better place, etc...etc.

It is difficult to find people willing to talk about death. I regret that, more than 30 years ago, when my father was dying I didn't talk to him about death. I chose to ignore, at the time, the signals he was giving with statements like, "I guess I'm on my way out." (There's another one for the list.). It wasn't until after he died that I started to feel it was a mistake on my part to not help him talk about his impending death.

I have a life-threatening disease, so it is natural for me to think about death more than if I was healthy. (Being healthy, I struggle to remember what that feels like!). Sometimes I discuss death with Dee, my wife, who has given me love and support so strong that it makes the marriage vow for better or worse shamefully mundane and boring.

I suggest that you don't shy away from talking about death. This doesn't mean you open a chat group with death as the theme, or bring it up while eating your corn flakes in the morning. My wife and I don't talk about death often, but when the time seems right we do, without hesitation. Not any time soon will the nature of our culture change...but this doesn't mean we have to go along with the crowd.

So that's my opinion. May I pass on right now if I'm wrong!

~PITTSBURGH starts with PITT!~

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