For me, the lack of comments and claps on this article is ironic in that it’s so clearly demonstrative of our modern culture’s denial of death and speaks to the very underpinnings of this message.
I imagine people clicking the link out of morbid (pun intended) curiosity, and then just as quickly clicking away… as if the image of the “corpse” embedded at the top would suck them, lifeless, into the shroud through their screens.
The constant distractions in our culture make death a shock when it comes. We are collectively terrified of the one thing that binds us all as living beings on this earth…the one shared experience that every single one of us will undertake causes our guts to clench and pulse to race. Maybe, if we think too long about it, we will get sweaty and experience a mild panic. So we go back to distracting ourselves with the mundane preoccupations that we label important, which are actually anything but, and set ourselves up to be ill-prepared and in substantial denial about our own inevitable passings.
I was with my Grandma when she died in a hospice facility. She was uncomfortable, fitful, and pumped full of “comfort” drugs. The environment, in its attempts to be respectful and serene, was in fact lifeless and IRreverent. I walked back and forth down the halls and watched the “patients”, not people, sitting alone in the beds with the TVs blaring…spending their last, precious moments watching Drew Carey host The Price Is Right. They didn’t know what to expect as their final moments passed, but I don’t think they expected that. Distracted until the very end.
I’m glad that death is having a moment. I’m hoping that the scale of the collective passing of the Baby Boomers will drive the reality of death into our culture’s consciousness. Why? Because it will increase the quality of our lives, up to and including those last moments that, for so many, are utterly terrifying and disgracefully hidden from view. Death is an inescapable part of life…we need to embrace it and make it a milestone, a watershed, a celebration of a life lived, even for ones that were not lived well.
It is estimated that 108 billions humans have been born on earth over the lifespan of our species. Currently, only 7.5 billion of them (us) are alive. That’s means that not even 7% of the humans to ever walk the earth are in existence today. 93% have died. It won’t be long before everyone reading this article, every writer on Medium, and every person who is alive somewhere, anywhere in the world right now will join the 93%. It would behoove our culture to embrace death for the right of passage that it is and, in turn, improve the quality of our lives while we are still on this side of the 7%.