On the fear of death
On The Fear Of Death
The title "On The Fear Of Death," caught my eye as I was skimming the text for a story. After some thought, I concluded that the word "death" means more to me than most of my peers. I grew up as the daughter of a hard working man, one with an uncommon occupation. My father is a mortician. "On The Fear Of Death" intrigued me because many adopt such a negative view of death. Kubler-Ross takes the concept of death and embraces it, perhaps allowing her to ease her own fear of mortality. She eloquently expresses her views, emotions, and feelings regarding death and dying. Humans cannot conceive peaceful death, instead most imagine themselves suffering before they pass. Kubler-Ross nicely expresses that "death in its self is associated with a bad act, a frightening happening, something that in its self calls for retribution and punishment." Why do most humans fear death as being horrible and painful?
Kubler-Ross passionately expresses her empathetic thoughts regarding loneliness and seclusion as related to death. She writes, "our presumed patient has now reached the emergency room. He will be surrounded by nurses, orderlies, interns, residents, and lab technicians, he slowly but surely is beginning to be treated like a thing." Here she certainly reefers to the impersonality demonstrated by friends, family, and caretakers alike during an ailing patients last minutes. The quote brings attention to societys views of the dying, which are often portrayed well on television through such shows as ER and Homicide. Surely Kubler-Ross intends to spark readers empathy and evoke ideas of lasting personification of the dying.
According to Kubler-Ross many people make the mistake of excluding children from the entire experience of death. Most likely a child will become aware of this later in life and regard death as a frightening experience with which he or she will have no way of coping. Here I can speak from experience. I believe one should be completely up front and honest when addressing the matter of death with a child. My older half-brother, Ken, lost his mother to cancer at an early age. None of Kens peers would allow him to mourn and deal with the death personally. Because of their lack of interpersonal communication and Kens ignorance to the emotions following the death of a loved one, almost thirty years later Ken is only beginning to cope with her death. If my parents would have exposed Ken to death by better guiding him through the mourning and grieving process, he surely would have reacted differently to the tragedy. Through prose Kubler-Ross suggests this, implying that society should adopt different norms regarding communication with children about death and otherwise.
Technological advances over the last few decades have increasingly lowered the yearly death rate. Many would argue these to be incredible breakthroughs, but according to Kubler-Ross, society may be becoming impervious to the course of nature. She asks the question "Are we becoming less human or more human...It is clear that whatever the answer may be, the patient is suffering more - not physically, perhaps, but emotionally. And his needs have not changed over the centuries, only our ability to gratify them." This particular passage contrasts two ideas: that of the natural course of life...and death, and that of the elongation of life by artificial means. Philosophers argue endlessly about this issue, debating the cause-effect relationship between science and nature. Surely scientific breakthroughs and technical innovation have helped millions, but when a patient is kept alive longer than nature would have them, one must ask if both the patients length and quality of life are increasing.
I find it almost unbelievable how a marriage can remain rocky for years, but when one faces the death of a spouse the overwhelming grief will engulf their every thought. While discussing "On The Fear Of Death" with my father, Kenny Godwin, he stated "if one does not grieve and mourn, they will never truly let go of a lost loved one. Years later ones mind may be littered with thoughts of anger and discontent." Kubler-Ross does a wonderful job of explaining how one must not feel shameful due to feelings of grief