Death Is Not A Dirty Word
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Politics and Activism

Death Is Not A Dirty Word

And neither is widow or orphan

Death Is Not A Dirty Word

In our society death is a very taboo subject. We are not encouraged to talk about it and when we are forced to face the realities of death, we rarely know how to handle the strong emotions that come with it. I spent the vast majority of my senior year in high school studying the grieving process. During this time I learned a lot about how different age groups react to death. I was particularly interested to see how much of that had to do with adult's controlling how they want their children to handle it. It was disappointing to find interviews of many parentless children saying that they wish their parent handled the situation better and said that if they could go back they would do numerous things differently. Now, that said, clearly their parent is also deeply grieving and in immense pain and are bound to make some mistakes. This leads me to advocate conversation. Death is uncomfortable and sad but we as a culture need to be able to talk about it enough so we know how to handle it when we need to.

Like they say on airplanes, help yourself before you help the person next to you. If adults don't know what to say and how to act when faced with someone's passing, we can't expect them to be able to help their children through such a painful experience. It wasn't until I had to present my senior project that I was able to say the word "died" which was nearly two years after I lost my father. Up until that point the word "died" seemed far too permanent and impersonal to use when referring to my best friend. Unfortunately, though, that's what happened. He did die and it is permanent. It may take us a long time to get through the stages of grief and to be able to begin to accept the permanency of the situation but that is the reality. Death is not a dirty word and neither is orphan or widow. They are just labels that represent our ever changing lives. Life is made to be fluid and not to be a straight and narrow line. We need to at least try to be better at talking about death because it's inevitable and it happens all the time. The more we normalize it, the better we will be able to handle our feelings towards it and we can start the healing process sooner. The grieving process will start immediately, but the healing process cannot start until you want it to.

Above all, we need to normalize our feelings towards death. People are going to yell, scream, cry, shut down or even all of the above. As a society we need to see these reactions and understand that they are completely okay. There is no right or wrong way to grieve (given that you're being safe) and all of your feelings are completely valid no matter what they are. It is better to feel an overwhelming amount than to feel nothing at all.

To those who aren't grieving themselves, how you act towards grieving people weighs very heavily on them so we need to be mindful. Death and grief are a piece of any normal human life and the sooner we start realizing that, the better for all of us.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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