Death Comes To Everyone: Grief and Bereavement Education
The moments the first air fills into the lungs of an infant, death has already come one second closer. We are all born to die. Death is inevitable. Yet while a inevitable, some people fear it, while others respect or welcome it. What causes these emotional differences within the human mind?
One can look at an array of philosophical, social and theological variables that form one’s opinion on death. From the standpoint of the modern man, an array of pithy sayings and cliches fill books with supposed help. Euphemisms that side track one from the seriousness of death and attempt to humorize it as a joke are quite common. Why not mock or joke about what ultimately terrifies you to gain some control over it? Yet the inner question and fear mingles of what exists after death? This is the ultimate unknown that nor pithy sayings can distract one from. The end reality is clear no matter what philosophical approach one takes and that reality is death will come. All past possessions, all earthly happiness is uprooted and destroyed as temporal consciousness is ripped from the body (Marra). Dr. Marra, a philosopher and teacher, states that death “‘cannot be bribed, coaxed, restrained. It may perhaps be put off for awhile, but it will not be cheated of its prize”.
With such ominous foreshadowing, whether one philosophically holds to escapism, sarcastic, or materialism, one will still eventually die. However, whether one dies with dignity or extreme fear is not a matter of philosophical choice but emotional state.
The emotional state of someone who faces death is greatly effected by culture and faith. While philosophies are mere mental projections of “what” or “what if”, faith and culture adhere closer to one’s heart and have true meaning. For example, a religious man with little philsophical knowledge of death may greet it with more peace than a philosopher who is tortured by the many queries he is about to face.
While religion does not guarantee a “peaceful” death one definitely can see higher correlations of peace and death when religion is infused properly. I say properly because, in some cases, a sick faith can permeate a person into severe fear of Hell or guilt. In their final moments they are tormented with fear instead of God’s loving peace.
Overall, but not entirely, those with a good relationship with whatever God they may believe in, have a better coping mentality with death. This is especially true of those with deep faith and hope in their God.
Ultimately, why do you fear death? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
Is it death or a type of death I fear?
Is it death or merely an untimely death?
Is it that you fear for the care of your family?
Is it that you fear the unknown?
Is it that you fear losing your worldly possessions?
Is it that you fear becoming non-existent?
Is it that you fear Hell?
It is important to understand why you fear death and face these fears to develop a healthier respect for it. For those of religion, most accept that death is a result a sin and a just punishment. One is to accept one’s punishment and be rewarded in the next life. This gives some consolation to many but if it does not give consolation to you, then what can give you consolation when the reaper comes for you?
If you are interested in grief and bereavement education, please review the program.
(Some information was taken from “Happiness and Christian Hope” by William Marra)
Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C