Nobody teaches us how to deal with death

This is an excerpt from a digital diary I kept online a few years ago. This particular entry is from October 20, 2018. I’ve decided not to alter it because the tone and emotion are so palpable.

October has been a month of great loss. I feel like every week this month I have been  trying to manage loss, processing the ramifications and how I can move on. I haven’t been able to catch my breath. I’ve been gasping for three weeks … unable to breathe. 

Nobody teaches us how to manage loss, of any kind. 

Changing perspectives

While I was still a journalist, one Saturday I went to a strip mall to do an outside broadcast. Among the list of people to be interviewed was a woman who worked at a funeral home.  Now I was very nervous about this. It was not my first outside broadcast, and I knew how to fill a 15 minute time slot, but a funeral home… come on!! How do I make that interesting, and not morbid at 9 AM on a Saturday?

But the interview with the manager of the funeral parlour was perhaps the best interview I had that day. This was several years ago and I still remember her saying, “when you’re alive you want to buy the best bed to sleep in; when we die we should want the best to sleep on”. She continued making references about how much we plan for life, but we should remember to plan for every aspect of life. 

I was amazed at how relaxed she was talking about death and preparing for death. She showed me their catalogues. You could really be in charge of every aspect of your “final farewell”. 

There is no guide on how to grieve

But death isn’t always a perfectly planned event as the funeral parlour manager suggested. 

Most times it’s a chaotic experience. 

I already know that everyone has to die. We can’t all live forever. So why does it hurt so much when someone dies? Even when you expect it (perhaps after a long illness), there is nothing that can prepare you for that loss. We are taught how to handle many of life’s situations (which, in retrospect, seem to only revolve around birthdays, completing school and securing employment)… but not death. 


I have been to so many funerals that my favourite song at 5 years-old was “No Grave Can Hold My Body Down”, and still every loss hits me like a ton of bricks. 

How does one “come to terms” with death? And what does it even mean to “come to terms” with death?

Regardless of human intervention, death will occur. It really is the only thing that we are certain will occur, so why does it hurt so much every time, and how can we prepare ourselves to handle death better? 

Is there even a way? 

Rest in peace to all the beautiful souls we’ve lost in our physical presence but whose memories are indelibly printed in our minds. 

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