Unknown: not discovered, explored, identified, or ascertained.
The unknown opens the door to fear. It can cause apprehension, anxiety, and the inability to move forward with anything. I've had numerous conversations with people about their thoughts related to death. Many have expressed fear towards death and when asked "why," the response is usually "fear of the unknown." However, the unknown is what life is all about. The way our lives will play out each day is unknown and we can choose to embrace it or not. Here's my perspective towards d*@$%. Let's get to it!
Why does the d-word hold so much weight? I think it's because nobody has a clear idea of what death will look like, whether it's for their own lives or loved ones. I also feel the lack of discussion about death causes people to believe it is a topic that should remain untouched. I saw an old interview of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross on the topic of death and she brought up a great point, which was children are raised to believe that "death is not a normal part of life." That made so much sense to me, considering that everything we learn about the world starts with our childhood annnnd death is a part of the aging process. If we weren't taught how to communicate about death or grief as a child, then it explains why there are challenges with discussing these topics in our adulthood. Of course as adults we cannot change how we were raised, but we can unlearn things that do not benefit us, and gain the courage to become knowledgable of things we were once taught (non-verbally and verbally) to be afraid of.
Death looks different for everyone. It affects everyone. It pulls on our emotions and mental health, disrupts comfortability, and can change our outlook on life forever. While some people have a grasp on death and how they allow it to affect them, other's do not and that's okay (no judgement zone).
The In Between Ish
As we continue aging, making preparations for death, recognizing that death doesn't only choose those 65 and older, and making space for the discomfort that comes with discussing the d-word is what I like to call "the in between ish." The ish that will be the determining factor of how things flow as we come closer and closer to the end. Even though we have no say over when death occurs, we do have control over end-of-life wishes, who will be left with what when we are gone, and how we choose to view the inevitable.
A Few Words of Encouragement:
1. It's okay to talk about death and it doesn't always mean that it's around the corner just because you're discussing it.
2. It's okay to be uncomfortable with this topic.
3. Be sure you aren't allowing death to keep you from living.
The More You Know
I personally am not afraid of dying, but at times I do find myself a little anxious about how I would move through life if I were to lose a loved one. So far, dealing with the loss of loved ones has been challenging and as I encourage you to have the tough conversations about this process, I'm preaching to myself as well.
It's my hope that today's post provokes thought in your world too. There's no right or wrong way to feel about death. However, the lack of discussion on the topic of death can have a negative impact on those who are still above ground and even the person who is dying. When we talk about death, discussing our wishes, feelings towards it, the grieving and healing process, and all the other ish in between, we are practicing self-love.
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