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Confronting the elephant in the room: Exploring the taboo of death through my own experience

@rejuless

Hello again!

I was in a group chat today discussing fun events, life updates etc until they asked about me and what I have been up to. I briefly spoke about Evermore and the articles I have started writing almost weekly for the past 3 months…

One of them said: ‘I know you write about death, death is something that scares me. Just thinking about the moment I will lose someone is scary’

and she continued…

Most of the times we are like…let’s not talk about it until we get there, but then it is too late…

It is of course, no news that death as a topic is a taboo, even bigger than sex in my opinion. Death is the elephant in the room.

Before my dad got really unwell, death was the elephant in the room for me too. I remember the amount of times he would tell me ‘You know, I might not be here that much longer’ and I will just freeze and brush it off by saying ‘don’t say that, you have to walk me down the aisle, you have to see your grandkids’ and he would just stay quiet…as if he knew he wouldn’t.

Now, every time I think of those moments, I feel some level of regret because I potentially missed some opportunities to discuss death with my dad. His thoughts and his fears.

On the build up to my dad’s passing, I was reading a lot about the topic but it was so hard for me to really talk about it with him. It was very raw and we somehow think that if we don’t verbalise it, it might not happen.

We discussed death, his death, once we knew it will be coming in weeks or months (it was weeks btw). I will tell you more about this another time, for now, these are still very precious moments I want to reflect on before I can type about it.

Once he was gone, death was still the elephant in the room. Not for me, but for people around me. It is a natural reaction to tip toe around the topic as you don’t know how people will react. As I’ve written before, someone else’s death also confronts you with your own mortality and the one of your loved ones…so no wonder why we tend to tip toe around it.

However, the one thing we all have in common is that we will all get there eventually and we will all lose someone. As my friend said:

I feel like unless you have also been through it, you kind of feel like its far away…and then a close one dies and bam! you are in this group with everyone else..

I firmly believe that discussing death, before, during and after it happens is key. It is painful and you might not enjoy it but you have to do it. It is like eating your greens, or the right amount of protein, sometimes you might not feel like it but you know you have to do it to be healthy and prevent certain diseases.

I would like to make this experience a little bit less painful for those around me.

This is why I started training as an ‘End-of-Life Doula’. An End-of Life Doula provides emotional and physical support, education about the dying process, preparation for what’s to come and guidance while you are grieving. I will be keeping you posted and bring you into this journey with me!

👇If you have not done so yet

See you next week!

Fernanda

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