Congratulations for reading this article. By doing so, you are becoming more familiar with death. Death is something we will all experience whether it is someone we know intimately, a close friend, an acquaintance, someone in our community or in the world at large. Our experiences shape our expectations. Oftentimes our reactions create emotional triggers for future events.
Perhaps you have never thought about the intimate details of a death, not only when and how it occurred, but what took place afterwards-how the news was shared, by whom and, potentially, the responses that followed-either by you or someone else.
Maybe it was seeing someone in a care home or other facility in the days, months or years prior to death, that impacted you most.
Not being allowed to attend a funeral before you were a certain age-perhaps instead of causing curiosity, it created fear.
Witnessing someone experience the certainty of grief and pain following a traumatic and unexpected death shocked you and, truthfully, you just aren’t sure how to deal with it.
It may be that you had positive death related experiences where you have been included in ceremonies or other end of life rituals. Taking care of someone helped you feel useful.
You have fond memories of sharing stories, smiles and tears at a living funeral you attended. Possibly you were able to engage with a close friend's end of life planning, which created conflicted feelings for you. How is it conceivable to enjoy something that will also bring you future sadness?
Reflecting about our past experiences with death might help us better learn, if not what we want, certainly what we don’t want others to experience. Although death is our common path, not all deaths are the same. What emotions do you want to create or experience? What values are important to you? Perhaps it’s time to rewrite your death relationship/experience script.