Living with Dying
Mortality (death) is an experience that we all share but rarely talk about. When someone we know has “passed away,” (our societal expression for died), we pause to commemorate their life.
The topic of death is rarely discussed. Why is that? We would benefit from sharing our thoughts about how we can prepare for, accept and recover from the death of a loved one. Too often we isolate ourselves when faced with a death. That isolation can lead to despair and prolonged misery.
Recently, a number of my old friends and acquaintances have been dying in greater numbers. At my age (75), I know that is to be expected. My cousins, school buddies, teammates, and former workplace friends are my age or older. It is impossible for me to express shock when I hear the news of yet another loss.
Upon hearing of the death of a friend, I find it difficult to know what to say to those who knew the deceased; those who survive them. As a writer, I pride myself in finding the right words to use in difficult situations. However, with the death of a friend, appropriate words are almost impossible to express and share. Posting “RIP” on some social media site is not adequate and will likely strike survivors as a shallow sentiment.
A few days after a death, our prayers for the departed, surviving family, and close friends begin to wane. The expression often heard is “life goes on.” There is no other way forward. Like it or not, we find ourselves living with dying.