Thursday, October 16, 2008

5 Things I Know About Death

Some death stuff has happened recently. This isn't unusual as it can come up in my line of work, however it got me thinking. Here's five things I know about death:

  1. All of the preparations that need to be made for dying need to be done now, no matter how young and healthy you are. Without life insurance, a Will, a Living Will, advanced directives, powers of attorney for medical care, etc., your death can leave your family destitute and/or fighting over your stuff like a pack of wild dogs. Don't think it could never happen in your family--I know a few people who would be spinning in graves if they could see how horribly their families have treated each other after their deaths.
  2. My personal belief is that when it is your time to die, you die. Period. I have seen people shot a number of times or stabbed and basically walk away from it and then seen cases where someone was killed by a parade float, by an errantly thrown punch, or by an unexpected genetic condition. I believe that people are put on this earth to serve a purpose and when that purpose is done, whether they are two years old, ten years old, fifty years old, or ninety years old, they die and move on to the next phase whatever the next phase is.
  3. Injury prevention is still a good idea. Well, you think, if I am going to die when I'm going to die then injury prevention activities such as wearing a seat belt or a motorcycle helmet don't matter. Actually such precautions can mean the difference between road rash and a cracked helmet and being in a semi-vegetative state for the rest of your life. So wear a helmet.
  4. It seems that the more rituals your culture has around death and the bigger the role that religion plays in your life, the easier it is to cope with death.
  5. If a loved one dies it only makes sense to work the situation out by talking to others who have experienced the same thing; no amount of empathy can make up for actually experiencing such a situation. Guys whose buddies have been killed in combat need to talk out the situation with others who's friends have been killed in combat. Parent's whose child has been killed by a drunk driver need to talk about this with others who's children have been killed by drunk drivers. The only people who understand the magnitude of grief, trauma, and despair that a death--particularly of a child or as a result of a violent situation--are people who have gone through the same thing.
I don't know much about death and am in no way an expert on the subject, these are just some of the things that I see time and time again. It's sad all the way around when someone dies and although time can ease the pain, our rational human minds like to make sense out of what are often senseless situations.

1 comment:

  1. No one gets out this world alive. So many people live as though they are going to live forever - but when someone close dies it can be a real eye opener.