I mean – seriously! Its actually something that is appearing on death certificates! More so in the States than in Britain – but the UK have some equally alarming records of deaths.
I know I have made ‘light’ of it in my opening line, but I actually had to STOP researching this as it was utterly horrific and I felt sick to my stomach and it really brought home to me that my hunch was right.
We have become divorced from Death. At the moment, its just the few, but I want to wave the flag to say WAKE UP people. Dying is what makes life precious.
Over the last few years, myself along with a few industry favorites, movers and shakers in the Funeral world, have been trying to modernize the way our culture looks at death and how a funeral is conducted and organized. I am particularly passionate about de-mystifying dying and being dead, and how as a culture, to go about caring for the body, mourning, and living with grief.
When I say ‘modernize’ I mean it literally. My clients are the one’s that have cherished life, that have held the hands of their loved one and told them it’s ‘OKAY’ to die, and ‘Thank you’. We celebrate their successful completion of life – at whatever stage it was.
By the start of 2020 I was so positive that our culture was changing that we were moving away from the cloak and mystery, the black and the morose, the ‘no children allowed’ and the ‘Chin up, let’s not talk about it’ attitude.
I even had a mum in the playground come up to me and thank me for doing my bit to make Death more of a celebration. She was Columbian, and in Latin America, they of course have ‘The day of the Dead‘ festival and she said she was so pleased and grateful that I was opening up the conversation.
But then Covid-19 and the Global pandemic happened.
All that openness we had started to embrace was taken away.
Funerals became a delivery service – ‘Direct funeral’. The family get no say on when the body will get ‘disposed of’. They get no chapel of rest and viewing. They get no choice of the time of day their loved one goes. It’s picked up, dropped off and gone.
Whilst I understand that this suits some, my worry is that its knock on effect will be that, as a culture, we divorce ourselves from death.
We don’t get to publicly be in mourning. We have to jump straight into grief. I’m going to do a blog about the importance of Mourning another time, but for now I want to talk about are seemingly, increasingly de sensitizing of the inevitability of death.
It’s like we are all living in JAMANGI
Jumanji is a film (Robin Williams 1996 and a re made with THE ROCK in 2019) a board game that turns into a video game that sucks its players into it, and they become their own avatar.
The characters ‘only get 3 lives’. This seems to make them panic and worry, and they wake up to the fact that they WILL die (or remain forever in the game) if and when they run out of lives. So they become more careful, more calculated in their thinking and planning, and we all sit on the edge of our seats hoping they take care and they don’t die.
But they get 2 extra lives than the rest of us!!! Why are we driving blindly to our death?!!
‘Drive straight ahead, into the river’ the Sat nav says to Daddy Pig (Peppa Pig) as they all stare at the water. (2018, the Campervan holiday) Of course – this is a children’s cartoon, so the campervan turns into a boat – but what’s the worry is that they all see it’s a river, and they all wonder if it’s safe to drive straight in, yet they decide the Sat nav must be right, and plough straight into the water. I mean – what are we teaching the next generation?!
‘Sat nav said to continue straight’…. OFF a cliff. There had been a landslide and the road was gone.
‘I thought it was odd’ … as sat nav takes them to their death
SELF TRUST and WAKE UP.
Sat nav is only trying to IMITATE the naked eye and the conditions, and what the latest information is that it’s been programmed to use. We seem to surrender all our own survival instincts. We are losing our own self trust. We seem to be handing over our responsibility to our own life. We seem to think we have a spare in the cupboard and if our current body dies or gets killed off, we can ‘turn it off and on again’ and re boot.
Honestly – reading and researching the unusual, or shocking, or self inflicted yet accidental causes of death is harrowing and embarrassing at the same time. If aliens were to watch us.. we would cringe!
So I know Covid-19 has been awful. I know for some, it’s made us all the more diligent and careful, and more aware of our own mortality and fragility of life, but if we are not careful, we are scooping up and getting rid of ‘the dead’ so quickly that we are missing our own reality check and getting a worryingly distorted and unrealistic idea of living and life – let alone dying.
I know I have said it before, but I’ll say it again…
Dying is what makes life precious.
We have one life. Not 3. EVERYDAY is precious – its not a secret! – Have fun, and trust yourself