A Death Denying Society

A Death Denying Society

Do Americans die? Of course not; they “pass away,” “expire” or “depart from life.”
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Do Americans die? Of course not; they “pass away,” “expire” or “depart from life.”

Death is a hushed topic in America. As a culture we refrain from using the word “dead.” Instead, we euphonize it trying to make it sound more appealing. However, what is to fear about death? Why are we in denial? Why are we afraid of what comes after death? Many cultures view death as a natural process and an ascension into the afterlife, where greater things await their arrival. Americans have not adopted this same view on death. We are an individualist culture, self-obsessed with perfection and with the goal of making the most out living.

As Americans, we cloak ourselves in sorrows and grief for a deceased individual and often times these feelings are not genuine. Meaning, we offer condolences because it is the “polite” thing to do but this may be simply a façade of lies, we don’t really care at all. We just feel anxious to get back to our “normal” lives and deny that it really happened.

As Americans, we do not dwell on death, we move past grief and sorrow and continue on with life. Suppressing our emotions is common, especially guilt, so we turn to funereal directors to help mend these feelings of guilt. In American culture, this comes with a large emphasis on funerals. The funeral, in a sense, is used to mourn the deceased in an open and elegant way. However, this is a main factor feeding our denial. We again push past our feelings, digressing from the reality that the person will never return and leave it to the funeral directors to take care of. All signs of illness are masked as the person is made to look alive and healthy. Hence, the American’s desire to remain normal during this period of time.

We have shifted from times of celebrating the dead and praising their ascension to heaven, to making them appear alive and distancing ourselves away from them, leaving their preparation up to strangers to take care for us.

Our denial and distancing of death ultimately only harms us. I believe that our denial has caused us to lose a sense of acceptance and peace with death. We instead fear it greatly and therefore struggle to accept our own and others death.

Death should be more so looked at as a motivating force for life. It is an occurrence that is bound to happen for us all and is currently described with negative connotations. Also, I believe if we turn the tables on the way we view death we can transition into seeing it as a peaceful process that brings us to eternal happiness and comfort. The first step in facing our denial is to come to terms with the fact that death is inevitable. We either can choose to shun away and distance ourselves, only making matters worse, or accept and embrace the process.

There is also so much shame associated with death and aging that we feel something is wrong with us as we age or endure illness. We need to distance ourselves from the feelings of fear and instead become more intimate with death. When we can accept that we are afraid, we need to embrace it then understand why we are and only then can we unravel acceptance.

Ultimately it rests in our desire to want to understand what death can offer us and accept the fact greater things potentially await us beyond the living world. We need to stop taking steps backwards from facing death and instead indulge in its mysteries and wonders. Only then can we move past our denial and embrace the beauty acceptance has to offer.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Dance Marathon Helped Me Understand What It Is That I Stand For

What do you stand for?

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The weekend of March 1, 2019, I stood for over 20 hours for the kids. Yep, I am not lying.

Dance Marathon at FSU is a 40-hour event split into two shifts of 20 hours. My freshman year, I earned sit times throughout the marathon, which I was incredibly thankful for, but this year was something totally different. I was on the internal team this year, which means, I worked behind the scenes of Dance Marathon since September. Since I was on the internal team, I did not get the opportunity to get the set times that I did the year prior. I was worried about this because I was not sure if I would be able to do it.

Spoiler Alert! I did it.

There were many times during the marathon where I thought that I could not stand much longer, but then some thoughts came into my mind. Who was I standing for? I was standing for the kids who had to get their leg amputated because they had osteosarcoma and could no longer stand on both legs. I was standing for the kids who are bound to their hospital beds right at this very moment because they are not strong enough to walk on their own. I was standing for the children who needed me to help them win their fight.

This is what kept me standing. This motivated me so much that I did not complain once because I knew who I was doing it for, and I was not going to let them down.

There were multiple people who kept complaining. Every word out of their mouth was about how their feet hurt, or how they were so tired. A large part of me wanted to turn to them and tell them, "Do you know how tired Grayson was when he had to have his many rounds of chemotherapy when he was just one-year-old?" I did not say that to them because I realized something. I knew what and who I was standing for, but maybe they didn't. My goal this year is to help all of those people understand WHY they are doing it.

20 hours on your feet may seem like a long time, but to watch $2,210,165.21 go up at the end, nothing compares.

Like the musical group Fun. once sang, "What do I stand? What do I stand for?" To that, I say, "I stand for the kids."


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