The Non-Space of Death in our lives

Death is all around us?

Most of us have dealt with the loss of someone we loved at some point in our life. While there is always an emotional struggle when losing someone, there is also the harsh reality we have to deal with after someone’s death: From organizing a funeral, to handling the bureaucracy and slowly removing the dead from the world of living by deactiving their real lives and online accounts.

While there is a lot of talk about how to deal with the process of someone dying
, there isn’t much to hold on to when it comes to the actual death process, aka the post-dying process. At this year’s TEDxVienna event “OUT THERE” Caitlin Doughty spoke about others ways out there on how to deal with death. Drawing from her own experience working in the death industry, she explains in her talk vividly other ways how different cultures experience death differently.

The Art Of Being Dead

By sharing her own experiences with the dead (yes, you read right! The DEAD) in Indonesia, she explains that in our western world we have almost no intimacy with death and no relationship to dead compared to other cultures. While in Indonesia it is normal to live with a passed away family member, she points out that people in the US called her “weird” or “in need for a psychiatrist” because she supports a closeness to our deceased loved ones to feel empowered and challenges us to rethink the way we deal with death in our life and society.

While our ancestors had tight bonds to death and the dead, the way we see the end of life in our culture is greatly negleceted. By outsourcing death to a multimillion industry, we take away our own chance to say good bye to our beloved ones in a way they and we deserve. By letting people into the death process by, for example washing their corpse or just sitting with them and talking to them Caitlin Doughty includes families in a way that families normally aren’t allowed to.

Caitlin Doughty opened up her own funeral home called “Undertaking L.A.” to give people a chance to regain a closeness to death.

If you want to hear more about Caitlin Doughty’s relationship with death, then check out her talk and the TEDxVienna talk:

Photo credit: Cover image by Pixabay

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About Julia Unteregger

Julia is a writer and a mental health professional. In her free time she likes to hike, even though she fears heights. She also drinks a lot of coffee and plays an excessive amount of solitaire.

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