Death

Checking the daily figures of fatalities due to Covid-19 has become part of our new normal, and as hard as it is, it does us no harm to take a moment to reflect on death and dying. We are reminded that life has an end point, and so we need to make the best of the time that we are fortunate enough to have left. We will all die someday, that is inevitable, but most of us hope that it will be far away in the future, and we prefer not to think about it. However, it is an imminent reality for so many more people due to the pandemic, and we cannot ignore its presence, it is a daily occurrence on a tragic scale.

 Naturally, this is not a topic that we like to chat about; it makes us feel vulnerable as we have limited control over it, but we must embrace the uncertainty of life. Watching so many people die certainly brings our own mortality into the spotlight. I never fail to appreciate the fact that Parkinson’s, though life-changing, is not a terminal diagnosis.

 Many of us are crippled by fear and anxiety if we think about our mortality, but there are many lessons to learn when we do take the time to reflect on them. Death may be easier to deal with if you have lived the life that you want and have few regrets about time misspent. It may sound morbid, but reminding yourself about death may encourage you to live a life with no ‘what-ifs’ or regrets. If we were immortal, then we might fall into the trap of cruising along and we would just keep putting off our dreams again and again, death does not allow us to do that. When thinking about death, it can be helpful to remember that there are certain things that you can do to ‘death-proof’ your life to an extent; most important of which is taking care of your health. Just do what you can do, know that you’ve done all that you can, and that the rest is beyond your control. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, we only have these moments, and they are precious, so please use them wisely.

Some of you may have lost a loved one to this virus or due to other circumstances, all of us will experience loss at some point in our lives. Moving on after death can be a long and hard road, there will be good and bad days, but this process can teach us many lessons; just as we don’t want to ‘go there’ with death, we often don’t want to with grief either. Thinking about death or grief can arouse strong emotions, it can hit you like a truck, it is easier to gloss over it, but these emotions need to be embraced and honoured. Allow yourself to get teary and release the grief rather than trying to numb it; crying is healing and very cathartic. This is a process, there is no right or wrong way to do this, and it can take years to adjust to living without someone who you love, it can be helpful to think about special moments and memories that you shared. Losing a loved one can be one of the worst things that you will ever go through, but it can make you appreciate how blessed you were to have had that person in your life, and also to appreciate those who are still alive and with us. Life involves taking the rough with the smooth.

Think about what you would do if you only had six months left to live. What would you stop doing? Many books have been written containing lessons from the dying; most would tell us not to worry about the small stuff, take time out for ourselves, appreciate the everyday pleasures in life, and most importantly to look after our health. None of us know how much time we have left, so no matter what happens, make sure that you’ve made your life a good one, and don’t take a second of it for granted…

If this blog has raised any issues for you, please talk to a family member or friend, alternatively there are support agencies such as Bereavement Care (free helpline – 0808 808 1677).

 

If this blog has raised any issues for you, please talk to a family member or friend, alternatively there are support agencies such as Bereavement Care (free helpline – 0808 808 1677).

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