What is death? What makes death such an avoided subject? According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, death is defined as: the permanent cessation of vital functions; the end of life. So maybe we fear death and death’s process because the thought of life ending is unbearable or because we know little about the dying process and naturally, as humans, we fear the unknown. These all may be true and in most cases probably are. But if one was to take a look at death and the process and consider the true meaning of that very moment in one’s life, maybe we would view it differently and maybe, just maybe, see life itself in a whole new way?! Marie de Hennezel, in her book Intimate Death defines death as . . . “our life’s culmination, it’s crowning moment and what gives it both sense and worth” (xi). She sheds light on the positive side of death, the part no one thinks about or acknowledges. And she shows us that death can in fact make us see how amazing life can be. In his book, The Body Silent, Robert Murphy shares with us the changes in life and actions of society when faced with the process of death.
In our society we think of death … “as if it were shameful and dirty. We see in it only horror; meaninglessness, useless struggle and suffering, an intolerable scandal” (xi). De Hennezel shows us how death is supposed to be seen as a passage to a better place, wherever you believe that place to be, and views the movement toward death as an intimate time, as the last moment of someone’s life. To be able to share this moment with someone is a gift, for you are experiencing all that that person has become, everything in their life has come down to this culminating moment. Many ...
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...sn’t a sad story or horrific at all. He lived a long fulfilled life and had an infinite amount of things to show for it, there was nothing to be sad about. While reading De Hennezel this memory really hit me and made me see death how she saw it and how others should too.
The dying process is often seen as a grueling one, full of pain and anguish. But De Hennezel shows us, that when supported and surrounded by love it can be an amazing experience. The effect one person can have is amazing and can be quite invigorating. Some would say one’s passion for life is incomparable to that of someone who is dying. Murphy shows us how, when faced with death, one can choose to continue living with passion as he did through his work. Their value of life as well as death is inconceivable and can teach those of us who are alive and healthy, a thing or two about life.
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