You’re going to die one day. I know, I know. You don’t want to read this. You don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to acknowledge that. But it’s pure truth. Not morbid. Just real honest this is how this life shit works. We live. And then we die.
We’re terrified of death. We don’t talk about it. We turn away from it. We speak of it in hushed tones. Or not at all. We cast our eyes down, away, elsewhere. We ignore and deny and bury our heads in the sand. We wrap it up in a cloak of fear and shame and hide it away.
When what we should be doing is looking at it head on. Talking about it. Educating ourselves and each other about it. Honoring it. Honoring ourselves and our loved ones. Holding space for this inescapable rite of passage.
Yes. Honor. Death. When you honor death, you honor love. You honor life.
It’s our ultimate final act in this play we have a part in. We spend our whole lives LIVING and when death comes upon us, we just succumb. We go quietly, sometimes alone, with no fanfare and no comfort. We slink into the shadows and just stop being. Why? Why can’t we BE until the very end? Why can’t we LIVE through that final breath. Why can’t we talk about it and celebrate it and honor it?
Fear. Fear of death. Fear of loss. Fear of pain. Fear of what’s next…or what isn’t. Fear of missing out. Fear of the unknown. The only way to tackle fear is HEAD ON! Open up the conversation. Talk about it. How do you want your last days hours breaths to be spent? Where do you want to be (at home? in a hospital? in a home? at your favorite place in nature?) Do you want quiet or music? Do you want a room full of people or just a special few? Do you want the room to smell like something in particular? Do you want particular books read to you? Songs played? Your hand stroked? Your hair brushed? Your feet rubbed? Prayers recited?
And then there’s GRIEF. And fuck, no one wants to talk about that, either! But we all experience death and loss and pain and grief. So why are we ignoring it? If we don’t acknowledge it it won’t happen? W.R.O.N.G. Uh-uh. Nope. Not how it works. Grief and loss are complete game changers. Life changers. DNA changers. Future changers. Once we experience true grief, we’re never the same. But again, no one talks about it, so no one realizes that this is NORMAL. This is part of being an emotional card carrying human being. And since no one talks about it, we hide. We bury the the feelings. We suppress the tears. We stuff the anger down deep. And it all sits inside together and stirs around and seeps and simmers and burns and ignites. And then we fall apart. Broken into a million little pieces, with no idea how to be whole again. And then we realize that we’ll never really be whole again. And then what?
The thing is, this is not a one-off rare occurrence. This is not just me. This is not just you. This is fucking life and death and loss and grief. And this is every single one of us going through it, sooner or later. And still…no one is talking about it. No one is speaking up and out and saying the words that need to be said. No one is honoring this time in our lives. (generalizing here by saying ‘no one’, I get that).
Talk about it. Write about it. Sing about it. Make art about it. Create opportunities to start the conversation and help to make death and dying, loss and grief not such a taboo subject. It starts with you, and me, and words and art. Spoken out loud. Shown to the masses. To ourselves and to each other.
How are you going to start the conversation?