Accepting Death

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Our bodies could well be described as our own worst enemies, capable of surrounding the greatest aspirations through earthly physical brittleness; cutting short great lives prematurely. Some causes of death are particularly common and constant efforts are being maintained to fight their destructive effects. However, other deaths occur unexpectedly and are frequently being questioned in why they took place. Attitudes towards death change over a life period of the person. When a baby is born he or she does not understand what death means. The concept of death has to be developed to understand death and have an attitude concerning it. When younger people start understanding death they try to disagree with it and they believe that they can resist it. As the person grows and the concept of death is already developed death becomes a natural thing and viewed differently. American society happens to deny the reality of death. This is the reason why people always get confused with death issues. The ability to understand the reality of death and realize its impact on us contributes to the ability to discuss our fears about death which helps to fully live our lives.

“Throughout history, humans have struggled to come to terms with one undeniable fact: At the end of our lives, we must each die” (DiGiulio, Kranz). Throughout our lives, it is virtually certain that someone we love will die before we do, leaving us alive to mourn and grieve that person’s death. Different cultures have handled this inescapable fact in different ways. Some cultures are very close to death. For much of human history, infant mortality rates were very high. That means all the children born; many may not have lived to see their fifth birthdays. Likewise, until the twentieth century, women frequently died in childbirth, sometimes as many as one woman in three. Accidents, famine, diseases, and the generally difficult conditions of life meant life expectancy was short; many men and women were likely to die by the they were forty or fifty, an early death, by our standards. In these cultures, sick and dying people were cared for by their families, children grew up in a world that included both healthy people and sick ones, both people in the prime of life and people who were dying. Today many cultures still operate under some and all of these conditions. Although people in these cultures mourn their losses too, they are not shocked by the fact of death. From a very early age, children are likely to witness the deaths of people they know. “Children in rural cultures also are likely to witness the killing of farm animals or the hunting of wild animals for food or clothing, seeing for themselves that death is constantly present in the midst of life, that death is sometimes necessary to preserve life” (5-6).

In most traditional cultures, death is a much more visible and constant presence in people’s lives. Consequently, these cultures tend to elaborate rituals dealing with death. In these cultures, children and adults alike become, if not accepting of death, at least familiar with it. It may always be a shock when a loved one gets sick or dies, but it is kind of a familiar shock, something to be expected as much as growing up, getting married or having children. Customs of dealing with death vary from culture to culture. In one society, people might wear black to show grief at death. In another culture, white might be the color of mourning. Some societies observed other restrictions, such as no dancing for a year or not leaving the house for a week. People might have rules about when they could marry again, or when they could invite guests over (20-21). All of these rules were designed to help people make it through the difficult period after the death of a loved one, acknowledging that this is a special time during in which it is hard for people to adjust to life without that person. The disadvantage of these rituals was that they insisted that everyone respond...
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