In the past few months, two important people in my life have passed away, both somewhat suddenly. These deaths have been shocking, sad and painful for me. And, in the midst of my sadness, I've once again been reminded of the mystery and magic that I often experience when someone close to me dies.
I find death so mysterious because it doesn't make much rational sense and often seems so random and unfair. I also find it frustrating that we don't do a very good job in our culture of talking about, dealing with or embracing death. It's seen by most of us as a universally bad thing—awful, tragic, painful, hard and negative in most cases. While all of these things can be and often are true, it's especially terrible when the person who dies is someone we love and care about and/or someone we consider "too young to die" (Kevin was just 32 years old).
As I've also experienced while grieving at many other times in my life, there can be a great deal of magic, beauty and joy that comes from death. Because we often avoid it, don't want to talk about it or would rather not deal with it (unless we are forced to do so), we miss out on the magical and positive aspects of death, and in doing so, we aren't able to live our lives as deeply and with as much freedom as we could if we fully embraced death.Why We Avoid Dealing with Death
There are many reasons we avoid dealing with or talking about death. From what I've seen and experienced, here are some of the main reasons:
- It can be very painful, sad and scary
- We often aren't taught or encouraged to really deal with it—just to simply follow the "rules" and rituals of our family, religion or community in order to get through it
- We don' know what to say, how to react and don't want to upset people
- It can be overwhelming for many of us to consider our own death or the deaths of those close to us
- We aren't comfortable experiencing or expressing some of the intense emotions that show up for us around death
- Our culture is so obsessed with youth, beauty and production (in a superficial sense), death is seen as the ultimate "failure"—the complete absence of beauty, health and productivity
- It challenges us to question life, reality and our core beliefs at the deepest level
For these and many other reasons, death is one of the biggest taboo subjects in our culture and remains in the darkness of our own lives on a personal level. Sadly, not dealing with, talking about or facing death in a real way creates a deep level of disconnection, fear and a lack of authenticity in our lives and relationships.Experience the positive, magical side of death