This post has been written a bit in advance so today is not today today ;)
Today I told my coworker about Mom’s death last year and even though I offered the information freely and had absolutely no problem with it at all, she immediately apologised for asking, which she hadn’t even done. This has not been the first time I noticed this or something similar. Talking about death in the family usually shuts people up, it’s a blessing and a curse.
I may be an odd example because I probably spent way too much time of my life thinking about death, what happens to me after I’m gone, how my announcement in the paper should look like, what kind of burial I want and so on. I attribute this to all the crime novels I read while growing up. Death to me is a conversational topic like the weather but this isn’t the case for a lot of people. And I can’t help but wonder if I’m the odd one our or the others are just too stuck up.
In seventh grade my teacher called my mom to talk to her about my suicidal thoughts which came to her and me as a shock. I had never even thought about suicide and to this day have not considered it unless I catch a terminal illness. It took me a while to convince my mom that I wasn’t at any risk because telling the truth apparently wasn’t enough. And maybe I am just a weirdly morbid person but death is not a tabu for me in conversations. It’s a part of life, like losing your baby teeth and growing body hair.
Sometimes I read things and think: Oh, this would be an interesting way to murder someone in a book. My new job is not helping because I see all these possible hazards and risks. When I can’t fall asleep I progressed from counting backwards form 100 to counting like this: 1 post mortem trauma, 2 post mortem trauma… because it’s a calming thing to say, not because of the death aspect but the words are long enough and…it just works for me.
I suppose people feel this is too personal a subject for it do be discussed publicly or why else do so many have a problem with talking about it? Maybe it’s difficult to tell what the other person is thinking/feeling about it which makes reacting so much more difficult or maybe, I am just a big weirdo. I can’t discuss make up like a proper girl, but I can tell you what I want my funeral to be like and what my death announcement should look like. Ahem. Yeah, maybe I’m not normal but I do wish people in general could discuss death more openly. It happens to everyone. Every person’s life gets touched by it sooner or later and not just when they are reminded of their own mortality. Friends, family members, neighbours, these people die and it’s normal. We as a people can talk about violence and sex on a daily basis, TV shows and movies are full of it but the thought of discussing one’s own mortality or that of another person is somewhat frowned upon. Why?
Sometimes, I actually enjoy this quality though, when you can just use it to silence people. I had to cancel subscriptions and such lately and when you say the magic word ‘death’, things get easier and nobody asks further questions because the other person gets all flustered with this uncomfortable truth.
What do you think, can you talk about death or is it something that makes you uncomfortable?