What If We Treated Death Like Birth?
White flowers and books on a side table near a bed

If we treated death like birth, we would make death plans in which we imagined how we wanted to feel at the end — even if we rarely know precisely when that will be. And be prepared, even if death were to come to us suddenly. If we wanted to be at peace and harmony in the world, we would work backward from there to figure out what needed to be done. Relationships would be mended. Legacy work would be done to find a sense of purpose and see the ripples that would become the echo of our lives. If we weren’t particularly fond of those ripples, we would start immediately to create different ones.

We would keep dying people at home, if possible and if they so desired, and become familiar with what they will need to support this experience. (Imagine the kind of prep done before a planned home birth.) We are wildly unprepared for unavoidable challenges such as toileting needs people have when they become bed-bound. Or the high possibility of a fall as their body weakens.

We wouldn’t shield children completely from it; rather, we would welcome them in with the guidance, love and support they needed. We would mark the event as a meaningful culmination of a life. Something children, too, can think about as they design their lives.

Read more in Modern Loss.

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