Is It Possible to Be Death Positive?
In case you haven’t heard, there is a new movement and it involves the acceptance of life and the natural scheme of things as they naturally or unnaturally transpire: The Death Positive Movement. The ideas surrounding this movement have been floating along as a stigma. How can people conform to this way of thinking? Death is too final and too scary to accept, right? Wrong. Although there are always people who are curious about the afterlife, there are fewer people who are curious about the end of life, let alone think of it as a positive happening.
Transitioning from life to death should be a more comfortable and positive experience for yourself and your loved ones
Caitlin Doughty is the mastermind behind these ideologies and curiosities that surround death. She is the founder of The Order of The Good Death and has published books and YouTube videos. Her ideas are simple-people should have a more fulfilling knowledge of death and passing shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, Doughty believes that one should have all the amenities allotted to you as a human being. Transitioning from life to death should be a more comfortable and positive experience for yourself and your loved ones. Meaning, a “better funeral industry” and a more “honest engagement with death.”
What if people could open their minds and their hearts a little to the ideas that maybe death doesn’t have to be so final and so awful?
If you think these ideas sound morbid, think again. Death is inevitable. Yes, it is scary and the fact that we don’t know what happens after death can be disheartening, but what if it could be a little less scary? What if people could open their minds and their hearts a little to the ideas that maybe death doesn’t have to be so final and so awful? Doughty has many ideas on how we can embrace death as a positive ending to a hopefully well-lived life.
The Order of The Good Death (and Doughty) shares ways to be more proactive when it comes to death:
- I believe that by hiding death and dying behind closed doors we do more harm than good to our society.
- I believe that the culture of silence around death should be broken through discussion, gatherings, art, innovation, and scholarship.
- I believe that talking about and engaging with my inevitable death is not morbid, but displays a natural curiosity about the human condition.
- I believe that the dead body is not dangerous, and that everyone should be empowered (should they wish to be) to be involved in care for their own dead.
- I believe that the laws that govern death, dying and end-of-life care should ensure that a person’s wishes are honored, regardless of sexual, gender, racial or religious identity.
- I believe that my death should be handled in a way that does not do great harm to the environment.
- I believe that my family and friends should know my end-of-life wishes, and that I should have the necessary paperwork to back-up those wishes.
- I believe that my open, honest advocacy around death can make a difference, and can change culture.
Changing a culture is key. Not every culture is bound by the ideas of death. Some embrace death as a stepping stone to something greater but believe that you start a true life after you die. Some believe that God or Gods embrace you after you die. None of that sounds terrible. There is beauty in death. Art, music, books, careers-all of these things and so much more incorporate death and the dead. This is proof of it’s aesthetic.
We can be a more death positive culture.
Sure, understanding death will only help you cope with loss, but isn’t that enough of a start? Wouldn’t being a tad more comfortable with the ideas of death and the mechanics of it help improve the way we live? If you could take away a few minutes a week or month of fear, just by accepting that you are alive, wouldn’t it help improve your mental health? Think about it. The more you know about anything, the less it makes that thing. Less terrifying, less dangerous, just less. And, although it won’t take away the finality of death, it will teach you a better way to connect with the circle of life. I am on board for a death positive culture. I feel the more I research and the more I learn, the less my heart races with anguish over the possibility of death or losing a loved one. The more I read about this movement, the more I am ready to accept and open myself to more knowledge on death. Even if it is something that we can say to ourselves over and over just to make it less scary, we can be a more death positive culture.