In the realm of end-of-life education, two terms come up very often: death denial and fear of death. We talk about fear of death and death denial as kind-of the same thing and we use the terms interchangeably. But are they really? I’m wondering if the varying ways that people think about and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, shed some light on the differences between the two terms.
Unlike many other people, I haven’t been forced to pause and slow down. I feel like I’m busier than ever. Yet even in this business and chaos, I find myself asking—or re-asking—a lot of deep questions about the meaning of life and death.
Let’s face it, the whole world is at war with death right now. Like all wars, many people saw it coming. Some have observed that what we had called “normal” was anything but. All our systems, be they social, economic, or physical and mental health, were stretched to their limits and waiting to snap.
This war is unlike any war we’ve seen before. It’s not a war over land, religion, or even identity. This is a war on death. Charles Eisenstein reflects in his recent essay The Coronation that to fight this war we’ve been asked or forced to give up a lot of things that we dearly value such as touch, togetherness, civil liberties and personal freedom.
How to live well, and right, and fully
Eisenstein writes, “Yes, let us hold life sacred, more sacred than ever. Death teaches us that… And in the circle of our hearts, let us make room for other sacred values too. To hold life sacred is not just to live long, it is to live well and right and fully.”
Charles Eisenstein’s article is long and brilliant. One of my main takeaways is that we won’t be able to move forward without embracing our human connectedness or without a foundational understanding of what we value in life, both individually and collectively. He writes:
“Now that the rope has snapped, do we tie its ends back together, or shall we undo its dangling braids still further, to see what we might weave from them? The War on Death gives way to the quest to live well and fully, and we see that fear of death is actually fear of life. How much of life will we forego to stay safe?”
It’s time to answer the questions you’ve been avoiding.
You can’t possibly answer those questions without digging deep. Who are you and what do you value most? How can you cherish life and embrace the fact that you’re a mortal being? Now’s the perfect time to answer the questions you may have been avoiding.
With love and light,
Reena (+ Michelle)
What about you?
How do you think we can cherish life and embrace the fact that we’re moral beings?