Five things you wish people knew about death, dying, grief etc

head and shoulders of woman smiling at her father. Tiny pics of the woman as a chid on the mans shoulders

Life.Death.Whatever gave us all a chance to suggest five things “you wish people knew about death, dying, illness, funerals, grief, life and living etc.”

Here are mine:

1. There so many surprising unknowns

Surprisingly unpleasant. Surprisingly pleasantAnd surprisingly surprising.
It’s different for everyone. So let’s not have anyone suggesting they know ‘the answers’!

2. There are thousands of chances to get it right-er.

Whoever said there was ‘one chance to get it right’ seems to have forgotten about the many thousands of chances to get it a little bit ‘righter’.
Seize those chances! Whenever you can. However you can.

3. Saying yes also means saying no.

And vice versa.
This is most obvious for CPR: yes to an almost-certainly-futile-CPR-attempt means no to a peaceful natural death. No to the chance to hold the hand of someone you love as they die. (There’s more on all this here)
But the principle also holds true for some palliative chemo. And a wide range of other ‘treatments’

4. Basics are just as / maybe more important than bucket lists.

Lots of people talk about ‘bucket lists’. I miss the basics much more than my dad’s fancy foreign trips. I miss my dad’s liking for radishes, and cheese-and-pickle sandwiches, and our walks together.
I especially miss our walks together. Checking out dragonflies, and cygnets, and even once tracking a cuckoo to discover… that they look more boring than they sound.
Make time for the basics. Cherish the basics.

5. You’re living til you’re actually dead.

Try, at least sometimes, to Enjoy!


About the image uo above: The only picture I know of my dad and me is from my godmother’s wedding. I was a tiny baby. All the other adults are looking at the camera-man. But my dad was staring at me – clearly head over heels in love with me.
After that, he and I were too busy living to do photos together.
So this image is a confection.
With my dad’s last passport photo. And me on a climbing frame in USA when I was four, and with an elephant bone in a national park when we lived in Kenya, and smiling after the first time I did collodion photography.
It’s extracted from the video in Black Run – part of Deathbed Skiing