Tuesday, 6 December 2016
Why don't we talk about dying?
It has been a year of funerals....
It started in late February with the sudden death of one of my extended family members...
....followed two weeks later by the death of his wife.
They were both over eighty but in good health.
And so it has continued through the year...
The sudden death of a friend one year younger than I am.
Then the death of two friends from church, one expected the other so very sudden.
She was buzzing around serving coffee after church on the Sunday then going to bed on the Thursday said to her husband that she didn't feel very well and minutes later was dead.
Then two weeks ago we had the sudden death of our young neighbour.
His death resounded far and wide as he was something of a star
On the same day a friends husband also died, peacefully at home after a long illness.
And now on the run up to Christmas the last two over eighty members of my extended family are terminally ill and will not live very long.
OK, you will say; why am I telling you this?
Because out of all these deaths, only two were Christians and their deaths and funerals were celebrations of joy and hope and thanksgiving.
I confess as a christian I struggle with knowing what to say to comfort relatives of non Christians when there is no hope, when they all see death as final.
For non Christians death is the end.
For the two who are facing death and especially their nearest and dearest, they are in a state of denial. There are numerous conversations about what they will do when they get better and so on.
Perhaps it is just me, but death is something that you have to prepare for before it is too late.
There are things to be said, people to see not this continual ignoring of it.
This is hard on the rest of the family.
The Grandson of one of the people in final stages of cancer wants to spend time with his Grandmother, to talk about her life and her coming death, just to share time with her...
....but his Mother continues to deny him, and his siblings this opportunity because "there is nothing wrong", "she isn't that ill"
Dying remains a great taboo here in UK. Something that is discussed in hushed tones and never ever fully acknowledged in public, even among some Christians.
People will discuss their sex lives quite openly to all and sundry but when it comes to the end of life it rarely gets a mention.
My Father discussed his dying and death two years before it happened, and he had planned his own funeral celebration. My Mother was also comfortable with talking about it.
Uhm...am sorry, this post is rather rambling and I don't seem to have expressed myself very well at all. But I hope you get the idea of what am trying to say.
It has just been a hard year with so many losses , so many funerals and more to come.