On Death

February 25, 2021

Two days ago I went to the funeral of a close friends father. He died at 67 years old from cancer that he'd only had a couple of months. He left behind his wife and two children in their thirties.

The courage that his children showed speaking about their father was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. You go along in life living and enjoying each other company and then one day you're asked to speak in front of a few hundred people about loosing a parent, brother, best mate, colleague, husband. What can prepare you for that? Nothing?

The challenge is immense and I genuinely don't know if I'd be able to string enough sentences together to say anything important.

Death feels broken to me. Well the way parts of The West seem to deal with dying feels empty and incomplete.

Why don't we think about it more? Is it just because it's not very likely? You'd think someone was crazy if they walked around with a helmet on all day because there was a chance they'd get hit by a car. Likewise, death isn't something that happens often, so we don't plan for as much as we could. Should?

IDEO did a piece of work 'redesigning death' a few years back: "A legendary design firm, a corporate executive, and a Buddhist-hospice director take on the end of life." Hammers and nails? It's interesting nonetheless.

One of the most insightful talks I've heard on the topic of death was by Stephen Jenkinson. He's spent much of his life thinking about and studying death and grief. His Youtube channel is full of great talks and interviews on dying.

I don't know much about the different rituals and approaches other cultures have around death, but I do know that how we do it doesn't feel right to me.