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Monday, March 4, 2013

Living With Death

When I mention to someone that I am studying to become a counselor I can almost see the change in their body language as they begin to carefully choose what they say to me so that I won’t “analyze” them.  It’s not as bad as the reaction I get when I tell them that I want to have a specialty area in grief counseling.  Although people will usually say something nice like “Oh, we need more of those” they are quick to change the conversation.

The truth is most people think it is weird or morbid to want to focus on death and dying.  It is still an uncomfortable subject in our culture.  This makes it more difficult for people who are dealing with these issues because it makes them feel different and excluded from “regular” people.  I think that the hospice movement has been a wonderful thing for the dying person and their family.  However I also see it as a way for us to compartmentalize the dying, to put them somewhere out of the way so that the issue doesn’t have to be a part of daily life.  The reality is death is part of life.  No one is going to escape it.  Why not face it?
By denying death we deny a major part of life.  When we accept death and come to understand its place we can embrace it and live with it.  It’s actually a freeing experience that takes away the mystery.  In understanding the finality of life we can appreciate the time we are given and celebrate the time we have with the people we love.  Acceptance of death is acceptance of life.

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