“We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses
of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
― Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Our society is terrified of death. We work tirelessly to keep it at bay, we teach our children to fear it, because we fail to teach them about it. So when it comes we are shocked and unprepared to accept the loss. A culture that is in denial will always struggle with acceptance.
Disbelief gives way to shock which seeps into your veins like a benevolent anesthetic. This numbness allows you to voice the unthinkable. To patiently inform children, parents, siblings and loving friends that the man they love is sick and that the doctors can’t fix him. Some instinct tells you to speak to them carefully, gently, like fragile children. You know that the power of your words will break hearts and change lives.
Pain too is a baptism.
Perhaps in the end they are one and the same sacrament–
a beginning again. byJoel McKerrow
We live in a society that adores, worships youth. It leaves no place for ageing, multigenerational honour or death. Whilst other cultures embrace, normalise and ritualise the death experience, we in the Western world do everything we can to distance ourselves from it.
The more we deny a process of lament, the unhealthier we become – our bodies have a unique way of getting our attention. If we don’t embrace lament when pain visits, it will come out in other ways that are uncontrollable.