“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” -- Marcus Aurelius
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” -- Mark Twain
These two quotations, centuries apart, say the same thing. I have recently been exploring our reticence as a society to discuss the one thing we all have in common: death. Denial and magical thinking won’t wish it away, acknowledging its inevitability will free us to embrace life to its fullest. As I witness friends, and parents of friends, I see that there are lots of ways to move toward our final destination, none right or wrong, but like many things, more meaningful if executed mindfully.
To begin to demystify that mysterious “awfully big adventure” that awaits us all I’ve been reading voraciously, watching documentaries, and talking to friends. I’ve been compiling a bibliography on varous aspects of the phenomenon: medicalization, funeral industry, hospice care, Near Death Experience, reincarnation, etc. Take a look and let me know if important works are missing.
I've been co-hosting a Death Cafe at the Potrero Branch Library for over three years. Please join us for cookies and conversation.
My boyfriend and I have purchased, decorated, and unveiled our niche at the San Francisco Columbarium (and arranged for our cremations). I have written a will and am continuing to put my affairs in order. My newfound fascination is really a way to encourage myself and others to celebrate every moment of life. so let’s carpe (fucking) diem.
So chose your euphemism (here are some suggestions) and join me on an acknowledgement of death’s inevitability as we celebrate life: be six feet under, bite the big one, bite the biscuit, bite the dust, buy the farm, cark it, cash in one's chips, check out, croak, decease, disincarnate, draw one's last breath, expire, give up the ghost, go belly up, go the way of all flesh, go the way of the dinosaurs, hand in one’s dinner pail, join the choir invisible, keel over, kick the bucket, knock off, lose one's life, meet one's maker, pass away, pass on, perish, pop one's clogs, push up daisies, shuffle off this mortal coil, snuff it, succumb, take a dirt nap, turn up one’s toes, transition...