I attended a Death Café in North Vancouver the other night – must say it is wonderful to see this movement growing so well here in BC. The conversation was raw, open, and inspiring. The topic of children being sheltered from dying, death and funerals or cremations came up. The conversation was intense, passionate, and polarized. Some saying our kids need to be protected and that the experience of dying, death and funeral could be damaging to the children. Other disagreeing.
I sat quietly and a little stunned that this was even a consideration. I thought we as adults have a responsibility to coach and teach our children how to handle life issues and death is one of the most reliable issues in life! As I gave it more thought I realized that this conversation – protecting our kids from dying and death – is a direct result of the outsourcing of dying, death, and disposition that we are currently in the habit of doing. I read an article the other day; “How we used to die; how we die now” a very raw and sobering look at our current state of dying. Not that I was surprised at all by what I read, more that it is really so and other see it too.
Given our habit of outsourcing dying, death, and disposition and our collective lack of ‘practice’ in dealing with it on a personal and human level, I relaxed and found some compassion for those folks advocating that we need to protect our children from death. They had been protected too!
I simply chose not to agree with them.
This habit we have of distancing ourselves from ageing, dying, death, and disposition steals from us all of one of life’s most human experiences and it’s attendant wisdom. It robs us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically never mind financially. It disables our children by protecting them from a fundamental and inspirational aspect of life. It robs we adults of an opportunity to fully embrace our own mortality thereby disabling our ability to truly live.
Well, I can hear you asking; “What do we do now then?”
“Stop out sourcing ageing, dying, death, and disposition. Bring dying and death back to family life.”
Now that is the $64,000.00 question!
Here are eleven steps I would take to get the out sourcing habit out of our North American culture.
- Plant a garden
- Adopt a pet from the SPCA
- Spend time in nature
- Volunteer at a seniors home or hospice
- Read books like Being Mortal, Die Wise, or When Death Speaks
- Research how other cultures attend to dying, death, and disposition
- Attend a Death Café in your area
- Move into a multi-generational home with your parents or in-laws
- Get your own end of life planning and paperwork done
- Talk with your parent, kids, and siblings about your plans
- Take a workshop or training program that will prepare you for dying, death and disposition in natural, green, home-based ways
Reclaiming dying, death, and disposition is an opportunity to grow and evolve as a human being it is also one of the finest gifts you can give to your entire family – helping them to embrace ALL life has to offer.