More people die than are ever born: death is the one common experience of all living things. So why do we try so hard to pretend it won’t happen to us?
We are, as a society, squeamish about death and dying, so that faced with the bereaved, we don’t know how to cope, what to do or say, or how soon we can start being normal again.
It’ll be a whole lot easier, I suppose, when it’s me that kicks the bucket. Nothing to do but lie there and be done to. God, I hope so. How appalling if it turns out that I’m going to have to float about like a bit of steam, watching in fury as amateur family members fumble through my funeral and put some god-awful song from Cats over the speakers as the curtains swish discreetly around my coffin. I want the third of Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs, if my executors are reading this.
It’s an easy game, being flippant about one’s demise. What wasn’t easy was watching my sister die, too bloody fast and too bloody slowly, of an aggressive cancer that gave her months of excruciating pain. She was 56, fit, strong, tough, and it was her husband who’d had a major heart attack less than a year before. Read more…