Healthy Aging Research

Healthy Aging Research
Open Access

ISSN: 2261-7434



Changing the Face of Death and Dying in our Community

Christiane Zeithammel

Disease that leads to death is frequently cloaked in fear. Fear of death is like a plague, devouring the life energy and robbing people of their ability to live. In our culture, death fear occurs in varied degrees and cultivates pain. Some people are terrified of anything that has to do with death. Others may be terrified of their own mortality, while others may be terrified of everything. We have evolved into a death-averse civilization that devotes significant resources to finding new ways to stay youthful in order to prevent death. Death, as we all know, is an inevitable aspect of life. As a death doula, I am a part of a movement that promotes death positivity. A campaign is needed to transform the culture of death’s fear and silence. Death must be present among us; Among the living, it is apparent and audible. Every minute, death occurs; death is as natural as our next exhale. Death advocacy that is open and honest can make a difference. It’s a crucial distinction. It was brought to my attention during my early years as a nurse. People were not dying the way I expected them to. They were abandoned, allowed to die alone in institutions, lying in chilly bathrooms with the doors shut behind them so no one might see their demise. I knew it wasn’t supposed to be like this! I was made acutely aware of the need for change. Changes such as introducing death to the living, we can create a different death experience with this death positive approach. One that may be supported in the comfort of people’s homes, where they can celebrate love and life with their family and loved ones. A death doula assists the dying individual and their loved ones in facing death, moving past death denial, and engaging in an open and honest examination of dying. Death can be everything that it is part of life, with all of its curiosity, emotionality, and fears alive and safely supported in a matter-offact way, according to my experiences as a death doula in a death positive movement. A death doula and a death positive movement are a panacea for death fear and a powerful catalyst for change in bringing death back to the living in a holistic way.

Published Date: 2021-03-24; Received Date: 2020-08-25