Fascination and Fear
At our Death Over Drinks virtual gathering last month, one of the participants mentioned his ongoing "fascination and fear" around death. I think we probably all have that to some extent, right?
In exploring end-of-life wishes with clients and helping them complete their paperwork, one of the first hurdles is getting people to even think about their own death. Fear breeds denial. Another Death Over Drinks participant once said, "I don't plan on dying. So far it's working."
One of the things I love most about working with people in this area is watching the fear subside as they start to talk about what is important to them in life and what they would like the end of their life to look like in a best case scenario. Planning brings peace, and allows more exploration of the fascination with death.
One client recently completed her paperwork and was shocked at how much comfort she derived from having thought through possible endings and having made concrete plans. She went on to plan her burial arrangements, and we spent a lovely afternoon in the sunshine on her patio reviewing various green burial options. She's currently planning a road trip to visit Herland Forest Natural Burial Cemetery (pictured above). Picturing herself in this beautiful spot among trees, with flowers blooming above her in the spring, and baby goats frolicking about (seriously, there's baby goats there!), brought complete relief from her previous fear of her eventual demise.
The last few months have been challenging. The constant, unrelenting news of Covid 19 and its impact on our health, economy, and social structure has created an atmosphere of fear and distrust. I contend that a great deal of the anxiety we're experiencing has to do with our fear of death. I invite you to breathe into that fear a little bit and embrace the inevitable. Picture your ideal ending. Talk to your family and loved ones about what that looks like, and put some things in writing. And then get back to living!
"He who doesn't fear death dies only once." ~Giovanni Falcone
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Carrie Andrews is a Patient Advocate & Advanced Care Consultant who isn't afraid to talk about dying.