• LES HENSON

Death: An Important Part of Life

Les Henson


In the Western world we very rarely, if ever, talk about death. It is a taboo subject. We use hundreds of euphemisms to avoid saying that someone has died: ‘He’s gone to a better place,’ ‘She’s passed away,’ etc., etc. In other parts of the world were death is more frequent, and it is a regular part of life, people are much more open about death. In such societies, people deal with death in a healthier way. They express their grief more openly and have particular rituals of mourning, rather than bottling it up and trying to be strong. Perhaps one of the reasons people in our society avoid talking or thinking about death, apart for the cult of pretending to be forever young, is that they have no hope beyond this life. This life is all they have, and they want to hold on to it as best they can. Any talk of death is morbid, and it must be avoided at all costs. The sad thing is that without taking the reality of death on board, it is hard to live a meaningful life, irrespective of faith or non-faith in the afterlife. To face up to the reality of death is to become more fully human. Accepting the inevitability of death is an essential part of truly living.

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