GO! Talk About Death?

Posted on March 25th, 2008 by mike

Mike here,

butch_cassidy_and_the_sundance_kid.jpg

I’m reading a book at the moment by the author, Julian Barnes, called Nothing to be Frightened Of, to prepare for an interview I’m doing with him. The book blurb tries to play it down, but the book is the musings of Barnes on the subject of death. One bit that struck me was a quote used in the book, that we can’t ever imagine our own death. It is said that even inmates on death row hearing their friends die, still can’t quite believe they themselves can die.

I was struck also recently by the death of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid as portrayed in the film, where they are killed as they charge unawares into a whole troop of soldiers. Death often knocks when we least expect it.

DEATH.

Hmm. It’s a bit of a no no in conversation isn’t it. We don’t talk about it. Like sex and politics it’s a subject best avoided.

So do you think we should talk about death more, or are we right to hold it at arms length? To place it out of sight and hope that it stays a long way off from impacting our world? Or would it help if people talked about it more?


36 Responses to “GO! Talk About Death?”

  1. aussiecynic says:

    Death is a subject which I have always talked to the kids about…
    Best discussed to take the fear away…

    The kids would ask why do some people die young and others are so old…..
    I tell them we all have a clock inside us, it starts when you are born, and ticks away , only goes around once, if it run fast you die young if it runs slow then die very old… many things make it speed up or slow down…. but when it gets back to 12 thats it….
    then you get ‘ whats my clock running at?’ to which I answer ” Dont know, nobody does, all you can do is live your life being as healthy as possible, looking after your health, being careful, then you have done the best job looking after yourself….’

    Nobody wants to think about Death but it is something we will all experience at least once….
    I dead when I was 5 after surgery.. I was clinical dead for 2 minutes… it was interesting, dont remember much about it, apparently though I was changed, mum always said when I got older, that something had happened because I was different…. dont know…

    Mike let me know when you post the interview….

    aussiecynic’s last blog post..Go speed Go!

    • Mike says:

      Will do AC – and great comment, I love the clock and that you discuss it with your kids.

      Funny thing Death we all accept it, but we all secretly think we are immortal! Kind of like our subconscious plays tricks with us! Hmmm

      Mike’s last blog post..Behind the Scenes: YouWriteOn.com Part 1 of 3

      • aussiecynic says:

        We have trouble with the idea that we will one day be gone…. we will no longer exist…..

        I do try and find a reason for me to be alive that is true…..
        when you think of the things that had to work correctly for you to be here, all the things which have made you get to 41, and all the things which allow you to remain there must be a reason….. I dont mean in a religious or a spiritual way…. I think more in a natural way…..
        dont know…..

        The clock works for kids and for adults to sometimes…. but kids can relate to it…. because it is something they know that ticks away….. the same as life….
        Life happens while we are busy making other plans….

        aussiecynic’s last blog post..Go speed Go!

  2. Urban Pagan says:

    If I ever get asked the same questions by kids AC I tend to say ‘people die because Jesus hates them’.

    In fairness I don’t worry about death- its the only certain thing in life. I also don’t require the nonsense of religion to allay my fears or the stupidity of eternal life and several lives etc etc

    I am content to have the life I have and when thats gone thats gone

    no insecurity
    no safety blanket
    no fear

    • Mike says:

      In the book it talks about people normally either

      being afraid of death

      or

      being afraid of dying.

      So for example Barnes says something like : I don’t mind dying as long as I am not dead afterwards.

      Mike’s last blog post..Behind the Scenes: YouWriteOn.com Part 1 of 3

    • aussiecynic says:

      G’Day there Pagan (b)

      True death is certain… its just the amount of time that varies….. I might borrow that Jesus hates you line…. very soon…. but not in the way you think…lol….

      Why people like to think they are immortal is because they are afraid that that is that…. religions gives people an alternative….. and thats fien.. for them… if a security blanket of sorts is needed then fine…. but if you are comfortable in believing thats it… thats fine too…..
      Children have a far more clearer view than adults and tend to see things more matter of fact….
      It is adults who have trouble with it…

      aussiecynic’s last blog post..Go speed Go!

      • Mike says:

        Yep AC – gets complicated with adults – kids are just – “O right so they’re dead?” And then seem to just move on.

        Mike’s last blog post..Behind the Scenes: YouWriteOn.com Part 1 of 3

        • aussiecynic says:

          They do dont they……

          I took my boys to their Great Grandparents Funeral years ago.. they died months apart…

          the boys said they missed them, but really didnt understand why everyone was upset…. I asked why not… then my eldest said…. They died everyone does….. they are lucky their clocks ran slow….. We will miss them…. can we go to Maccas..

          aussiecynic’s last blog post..Go speed Go!

  3. Jim & Em says:

    Death – we’re all one day closer, right?

    It would help is people lived their lives with that in mind and counted their blessings, stopped the pity party and dare we say – smelt the flowers.

    Death – the end or the start?

    The end of suffering, perhaps?

    (Evil laugh)

    It is inevitable and a matter of when not how or if.

    • Mike says:

      Barnes talks about how some people decide if they were given a choice how they would die. But then it never happens – he recounts a school teacher who had worked out his final words ….

      “O damn”

      But then when the teacher got older he lost his speech and so died without mutterring his death bed final statement.

      Shame.

      There you go that’s mine! “Shame” LOL

      Mike’s last blog post..Behind the Scenes: YouWriteOn.com Part 1 of 3

  4. Jim & Em says:

    Naked twister anyone?

    Come on, life IS for living!

  5. Rufus says:

    Death. It’s a fact of life.
    I watched a program recently where two sisters had the opportunity to have a test to determine whether or not they were carrying the gene for a rare, incurable illness.
    Initially, they both declined to know. Then, one of them became pregnant and she changed her mind. The test showed up as negative. The other woman continued to decline the test; stating, “We’re all going to die of something, should we all walk around with a black cloud over our heads?”

    Indeed.

    Should we discuss death more often? I don’t think it’s terribly necessary. Hollywood and other media tend to cover it rather well. However, video games can pose a different problem with teaching us to become immune to the finality of death. I believe honoring the living, remembering those who’ve passed and making arrangements if possible with life insurance policies and a Will are always a good idea.

    Rufus’s last blog post..There’s No Place Like Home

    • aussiecynic says:

      I do not want to know the manner of my death and I really dont want to know when either….

      This would only become depressing….

      Tests for diseases which can not be cured is just pointless…
      so many people who have Cancer, die soon after finding out they have with in months normally…. I preferr just to carry on and do what I can whilst I can.. If you get to the point where you cant then thats that.. by why worry about before hand

      aussiecynic’s last blog post..Go speed Go!

  6. Lib says:

    I agree Rufus, it doesn’t need to be discussed anymore than it already is.

    Bottom line – death is depressing, the end of something (good) always is, so why do we need to harp on about it? I know it’s going to happen so why waste my time living talking about dying?

    Makes no sense whatsoever.

    Lib’s last blog post..Go! have some common sense?!?

    • Jim & Em says:

      Erm yes it does need discussing Lib, of course it does.

      Who has made a will here?
      The message on your headstone?
      Your legacy?
      Life goes on when people GO! and push up the flowers…

      Its a great way of reminding us to squeeze the most out of each day – while we still can.

      • Bo Snr says:

        I have made a will but don’t tell Lib or Bo, they might make me a meal

        • Jim & Em says:

          HA!

          We’ll sort the flowers Bill – a caption contest perhaps?

          I can feel an incoming missile from Lib now…

          TAKE COVER

          • Lib says:

            Of course it needs discussing in the terms that you have put but the question was should it be discussed more.

            Er, no!

            I’ve made a will – end of discussion
            This is my legacy – end of discussion
            This is my epitaph – end of discussion
            This is what I want playing at my funeral (if you must!) – end of discussion.

            Why on earth would you want to talk about death when there are far better, enlightening, brighter, hopeful, OPTOMISTIC topics to discuss?

            Death is but an instant, life is er life. Discussions surrounding both should reflect this.

          • Urban Pagan says:

            sound of nail getting hit on the head Lib

          • Mike says:

            Interesting Lib – would you not say that death is rather a long instant though. Like forever?

            By that logic, life which is but a moment, gets little disccusion.

            Death, which lasts a tad longer, gets all the dinner table talk!

            Dying is but a intsant – although not always – death is rather terminally long.

            Mike’s last blog post..Behind the Scenes: YouWriteOn.com Part 1 of 3

          • fab says:

            Dying scares me and I need to plan for the future – don’t you guys think ‘whats next?’ and then stop yourselves with a ‘ lets no go there?’

            Or is that just me – what happens when we die?

          • Lib says:

            Depends where you are sat Mike, death for me is an instant and as none of us know what or if we can achieve in death, wny discuss it all the time?

            I’m not scared of it, I just see it as a major inconvenience, my life is here, now, I’d rather embrace that than have endless discussions about what might be.

            It’s like a friend that gets on my nerves, I could sit around all day bitching about them but I would far prefer to get on with other things.

          • fab says:

            But Lib what happens when you leave the earth?

            Is that it?

          • Urban Pagan says:

            fab

            when we die our life ends. nothing up with that.

            I have seen no evidence at all of anything else going on after. Again I am cool with that.

          • Jim & Em says:

            So its lights out and thats it?

            The soul, the spirit, the clothes in the wardrobe.

          • Urban Pagan says:

            exactly

            there is no evidence of a soul or a spirit other than in a romanticised view of death so people can kid themselves its not final. the same idiots are likely to use psychics, fortune tellers, seances and other unproven ways of hoping they won’t be like all before them and die.

            in fact of the three you named the clothes can be used again. so of the three the clothes and the wardrobe have some tangible proof of existences the others don’t.

          • Lib says:

            Thanks Mike but I don’t think I will be giving you a run for your money just yet.

      • aussiecynic says:

        dont have a will….
        dont have insurance…
        nope sorry…. none….
        I could drop tomorrow and oh well….. they can work it out…..
        moppet will be cared for by my eldest and his girlfriend…. I know the boys would take care of her…. the house would besold and the change go to look after her…. thats all we need to look at…. and that has been decided already…. anything arguing or infighting between them I have told them I come back and haunt them…. and they now if I can… I will….. yep I am that scary…. :o
        aussiecynic’s last blog post..Go speed Go!

  7. aussiecynic says:

    Description of a Cemetery by a child

    A cemetery is where Dead people Live….

    Hmmmm :o
    aussiecynic’s last blog post..Go speed Go!

  8. Jim & Em says:

    A cemetery is the dead centre of town!

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