From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Dealing with the unpredictable

One of the most difficult quandaries that human beings face is the age-old problem of life and death. Existential philosophy describes the frustrating knowledge that all of us will eventually die, but we don’t know how, when or where. Without this critical information, human beings can decide to go about the business of life, making commitments and expecting to live, or they can sit back in the corner of life and refuse to participate. One way or the other, each of us must eventually face the painful, uncomfortable, and uncontrollable reality of death. Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.

            If anything, mourners are uncomfortable when the people around them act as though their beloved person never existed. One of the best ways to pay your respect is to honor the deceased by relating happy memories and sharing photographs. In the effort not to depress others, the mourner often waits and even craves the mention of their loved one. By talking around grief instead of acknowledging it, we create greater distance and more stilted conversations, when we could be honoring someone’s memory simply by mentioning their name. This acknowledgement is an important bridge to communication, and graciously “breaks the ice.”

            It would seem that by the 21st century, we might have gotten a better handle on death, but alas, this is not the case. As human beings, we hate to lose anything, but the loss of a loved one seems to carry the highest price.  Not talking about death doesn’t mean that we aren’t thinking about it. Gifts of food, flowers, and donations are always appreciated, but in terms of healing power, the best gifts usually come in the forms of words and validation. Once again, it is the case where some of the best things in life are free.

©Copyright, 2005, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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