Alice Thomson of The Times newspaper wrote a very interesting piece concerning death this month entitled “We all need to Learn how to talk about death” (The Times March 8).
The point she seems to make is that we have, as a society, sanitised death and tend to ignore it for as long as we can. She believes that death embarrasses our society presently.
The article also highlighted the practical facts of the matter that four fifths of people never discuss their own death, half of couples have no idea of their partners end of life wishes, and employers were unsympathetic in many cases towards those bereaved.
The article explained “There is an art to death”. Society must learn once again how to grieve properly and cope with grief instead of diagnosing antidepressants. And furthermore, men and women must face the practicalities of death in advance by making wills and communicating wishes in advance.
Well and good. But Alice didn’t go far enough. The article had no answers and certainly offered no real hope in the face of death. It was devoid of good news.
Of course, the Bible has been saying the same thing concerning death for centuries (but who listens to the Bible these days it seems?).
The book of Ecclesiastes advises: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart”.
Indeed, the living should take death to heart.
Not only for the reasons provided by Alice Thomson (who seems to be a humanist, although I may be wrong on that). Not only to remind us all to make a will and get our family prepared for what song we want played at the funeral (increasingly “My Way” by Sinatra it seems).
But to think about and prepare for the life to come, which despite the best efforts of those who disagree, many people, even those who are not regular ‘church goers’ still believe in.
Death is the destiny for everyone; the living should take this to heart.
The Christian of course still proclaims the good news that he or she knows the cure for death, found by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Surely it is foolish to ignore the cure for death and to concentrate on purely making wills?
Mark Taggart LLB, Fermanagh