The Order of the Good Death and other matters
Recently I have been in contact with Caitlin, a mortician and celebrant who founded a website called The Order of the Good Death whose mission, found here http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/category/mission, is to ‘prepare a death phobic culture for their inevitable mortality’. This is a very important calling for a culture such as ours in the modern West. We tend to see death as something to be avoided at all costs, and therefore through avoidance, we magnify its terror. We are not meant for stasis, we creatures breathing change, and death is something which we need in order to grow. Our culture, at this stage, seems to centre around youthfulness at all cost. We spend billions each year on cosmetics, cosmetic surgeries, clothing, all to create the impression of time standing still. An impression is all that it is. We are children of earth, we belong to the soil, we belong to that which created us, and it is to that we shall return. A graphic and vivid understanding of the physical process of death is the cure. It remains morbid only so long as it remains alient to our understanding of our selves.
When we mourn we are mourning the loss we feel, not the fortune of the dead. Grief is for the grieving, and this does not devalue it. It makes the joy of life deeper and infinately strong.
I suggest that you poke around this site. The writing is beautiful, humorous, and incredibly kind. Check out Caitlin’s video series, ‘Ask a Mortician’. And if you are in the mood, see my fox poem, illustrated, here; http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/for-our-friends-the-roadside-foxes . There is a lovely video to follow, ‘Mr. Fox’ by Max Swinton.
“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
― William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar