Wednesday, October 14

Death is in The Air

As one who likes to write Life Stories and Obituaries, and was once a nurse, death is something that I have some interest in.  I have a good friend who is a funeral director too, and together we have attended some fascinating events, including attending a Death Cafe, where people are encouraged to speak freely about death.

It certainly is an interesting topic in more ways than one.  

On Monday (October 13th, 2015) I attended the Inaugural Australasian Death Studies Network Conference at the Noosa Campus (Queensland) of the Central Queensland University.   I found out about it because one of my friends was speaking at it.  

It certainly was interesting with topics ranging from photographing the dead, vampires and the strange information about extending human life - by time that is rather frightening.  Who wants to live a further hundred or so years???

Apparently there is a lot of work being done to extend life. Interesting article here. 

At the same time, in Melbourne (Victoria) there was another conference underway - this one through the Groundswell Project was called Death Literacy.  I wish I could have gone to both!!!! 

Many people find it difficult to talk about death - their own or their loved ones' demise.  In fact, there seems to be a desire not to acknowledge that it will happen "one day".

For example, the number of people who fail to make any plans, even to ignoring their estate planning, which often leaves families in a high degree of turmoil, is concerning.

From my point of view, my focus is on people writing their life stories, as they are usually the only ones who know the details of their life.   My children, despite having a good deal of information about me, especially since they were born, have little information about my younger days.  I have written what is called an "advanced obituary" but even that probably just "touches the surface" of my story. 

One interesting thing is the custom, way back in the 1800's of photographing the dead, in fact setting up the photo as if they were still alive.  Have a look here to see what I now know.

And look below - I suspect it is a wife and her late husband.  This would be a photo that she treasured.  The last photo of her loved one.


It is a fascinating topic, which is not all gruesome though I find this rather difficult.  

I wonder if the current culture will change over the next few years? I am sure it will - as people choose not to have religious services for their loved ones and choose to celebrate the life of the deceased with a wake or party.

The cost of funerals is exorbitant, and people are making choices for financial and many other reasons.  

What does the future hold?  

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