The world is currently facing a dreaded nightmare, a global pandemic. This has, understandably, caused most of us to feel frightened and fearful of the future. We may feel anxious that society, and indeed the world, as we know it appears to be spinning out of control.
The more out of control we feel, the more anxiety it causes. We are facing challenging times financially, practically, physically and emotionally.
We are worried about all the practicalities of day to day living, paying the bills, being able to buy food, keep a roof over our head, our children’s education. We are also facing the effects of social isolation, a long time with our own company, shut indoors or long periods at home in close proximity to our family members. We do not yet know how we shall cope, or the emotional cost to our mental health.
Death is a taboo subject in our society. We do not want to face our own mortality or that of our loved ones. Yet, the reality is that we are in the midst of an unknown virus which knows no boundaries, spreading globally and causing thousands of deaths. Death is amongst us every minute of every day, yet now death is forcing us to face it full on.
To not talk about it may cause more anxiety. Not many of us wish to talk to our family about our wishes if we become seriously ill or die. However, this can cause family distress if they do not know what we would have liked to happen. Do we want to be buried or cremated? Do we want to be resuscitated? What about organ donation? How do we feel about dying? What do we think happens to us after we die? If we have these conversations with our loved ones, difficult as it may seem, it can bring comfort to us all.
When the time comes to face our own death we can be assured that our family members know how we feel and there can be more openness and frankness of conversation. When facing the death of loved ones we can be reassured that we are carrying out their wishes and take comfort that we are able to ease their journey and face their emotional fears and practical concerns in a calm and soothing way, not turning away in denial and horror at the inevitable.
Although it seems unthinkable, there are worse situations than death. Death may even be a comfort and relief for a person and their loved ones who are suffering.
Emotional suffering amongst the dying can be high, especially if those around them cannot or will not acknowledge the reality of death.
Now, more than ever, we all need to comfort one another. Death is not the enemy, it is the inevitable result of life. If we can embrace this fact and make it a part of living a full life as possible, we shall not be so afraid and we can be fully present to comfort and provide solace to both ourselves and others when needed.
Please do ensure you follow all the government advice and remember to stay at home and stay safe. For regular updates check out the government website https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus