Coping with Death
By: Beth McHugh 2008
We all have to cope with death. As the saying goes: “No one gets out of this world alive!” We know it must inevitably happen yet we are often not educated or prepared for it when it does come. We cope with the death of loved ones largely by avoiding its certainty for as long as possible, and hope that when the time comes we will somehow muddle through it. There is probably nothing in life we prepare for less, and yet there’s nothing in life that is more inevitable. When you think about it, it’s a funny way to go about it.
It’s because we either fear death for ourselves and others, or that it is often a taboo subject, that many of us have this strange relationship with a process we must all go through. Occasionally one meets people, usually the elderly or people who have suffered from long-term illnesses, who have given the issue some thought and have chosen the church, the hymns, the readings, the place and method of burial/cremation, even the colors of clothing that attendees should wear. They have organized all their financial matters, and said their “I love you’s” and “goodbyes” to the important people in their lives. Many have also said their piece to people who have negatively affected them during the course of their lives. It is these people who have really embraced the opportunity to cope with their own mortality and made a positive out of it, rather than the negative most of us see death as.
One way of coping with our own death is to meditate on what it means for us to be dead. To be no longer be able to participate in life as we now know it. For some people that is a hard thing to do, and many avoid it like the plague. Yet in contemplating life without “you,” you have an opportunity to really embrace life with “you” in it. Formal meditation on your own death, although it may sound morbid, can actually fill your life with meaning and purpose as you realize just how important it is to be alive. It also helps you to better decide what is important and what is unimportant in your life and act accordingly.
So what started out as a article on dying has paradoxically ended up as a blog on better living.