I've been thinking a lot about death recently.
That got you sitting up and paying attention didn't it ;)
In all seriousness, I have been thinking a lot about it but not my death, just death in general. And in a negative or depressed way, a genuine interest in our (the UK's) psychological approach to death and dying. Honest.
I think we (society) actually have an unhealthy viewpoint about death. I mean obviously no one wants to die and so fear of death is natural. But a fear of talking about death? I think is taking things a bit too far.
You can probably see where I’m going with this now. I wonder how much of our attitude towards death has a knock-on affect on the lack of people on the organ donor register? The next logical comparison I can think of would be a will – who has actually made a will? Come on hands up...I suspect most who have, have either done so because a) they’ve been made to face up to their own mortality (like me) or b) have a dependant which means suddenly it becomes a practical necessity therefore easier to tackle than when it’s merely an emotional concept.
I went to a fascinating lecture when I attended the Manchester study day on transplantation. It was all about death and dying; how we view it, how our preconceptions of death may have an impact on organ donation and on how those approached view the scenario in front of their eyes. Ask a child what a dead person looks like and they will probably stick their tongue out and roll their eyes upwards. How much of that childish notion remains and interferes with what a potential donor family might see in front of them?
How much of our negative viewpoint about death has a knock-on affect on our viewpoint of organ donation? Clearly death is never going to be a positive thing but I’m wondering if other cultures who have different perspectives on the whole life/death cycle would view organ donation differently?
I believe our reluctance to talk about it and face up to it has a negative impact on people when they are forced to. There is no preparation, very little support, and an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t talk about it as you’ll “bring people down”. What about young people who are facing their own death? Where do they go to talk? I had a talk with a nurse at the hospital which will remain with me forever as it was the first time anyone had answered my questions (which I felt terribly guilty for even wanting to know) about dying and had talked openly about it without flinching. It made things far less scary for me as suddenly I felt I wasn’t on my own, facing the unmentionable.
Every now and then I get vaguely concerned at how interesting I find all this but I think as long as I am able to keep it as an interest on an academic level (trust me, I am very much alive and living it up) then I’m allowed to find it fascinating...aren’t I?
It’s one of those blogs where I ask more questions than I answer. Nevermind. I would love your input on this, and to know how uncomfortable it made you reading this post.
And now I’ll get back to doing some more living.
The C Word
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