The quote “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” is usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in a 1789 letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Based on my experience Franklin was close to the mark, but taxes are not always payable by all… Being born, and no matter how much you don’t want to think or talk about it, dying is the only other thing in this world that can be said to be certain.
I seem to be drawn to areas of life that are often hard for people to think about let alone talk about… In the domains that are my focus I want to help people develop a better understanding for themselves; which may also flow on to family, friends or colleagues. In case you are wondering, the first topic is mind health matters (aka the mental health-mental illness spectrum) and resilience. The second topic is death and dying. More particularly how we can redefine and redesign death.
Here I’m reflecting on our pre-dispositions to avoid thinking and talking about death and dying. There are plenty of myths, superstitions and wives tails about death and dying.
Superstitions often arise around the things that scare people most, so it’s no wonder some of them are as strange and unusual as the following:
If a mirror in the house falls and breaks by itself, someone in the house will die soon.
If 3 people are photographed together, the one in the middle will die first.
If 13 people sit down at a table to eat, one of them will die before the year is over.
Where do you think that last one had its beginnings?
There are also many valid reasons for not wanting to think or talk about death.
- It can be uncomfortable to think about our own mortality.
- We don’t want to think about the death of a loved one and the hole it will leave in our life.
- We might be concerned about any pain and suffering we might experience.
- Our upbringing may have reinforced our belief that it’s not appropriate to talk about “those things”.
- Experiences we may have had in the past may be extraordinarily painful and
we seek to avoid that pain by not talking about death and dying.
There are many more.
If death cannot be avoided any more than we can undo our own birth, how can we live our lives more comfortably knowing that death may occur imminently or it may be a far distant eventuality?
Redefining and redesigning death might be one answer.
We have just one life…
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Just One Life… doing and designing dying and death differently and with dignity and distinction.
For more information on doing dying and death differently or to start thinking about how to handle a death of a loved one before you are overtaken by grief, organise a conversation with Jacqui today.
Call +61 (0)412 741 531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqui Chaplin is a Lifetime & End-of-Life Commemoration Specialist (a funeral celebrant among other things) based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves capturing stories about the nature of life and being human, as well as, celebrating and commemorating well lived lives and lives that have ended. Jacqui has a passion for bringing the conversations that many of us find difficult to think about, let alone speak about, out in the open so we can see how our stories, values and beliefs influence our attitudes.
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