Death through the eyes of the living

Sophomore Grace Tally discusses her opinions on the way you should treat loved ones after they pass on.

Sophomore Grace Tally discusses her opinions on the way you should treat loved ones after they pass on.

Grace Tally, Writer

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In my eyes, most of the people I talk to fear death or dead people. When I was younger, I remember being terrified to see a dead body. Now when I think about it, it’s just something that I know is going to happen to everyone.

Traditionally when a family member dies, you can pick out a casket for the body at the funeral home. However, in my family, we build the caskets according to wishes of the family member. Doing this gives each person in my family a special chance to feel included, and even helps saying goodbye a little bit easier.  

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the process of death and how different families deal with it. In most countries, death isn’t a topic that is talked about very often.  This means when the time comes when a loved one does pass, the subject is awkward and scary.  

In Indonesia and several other countries, death is a celebration of a loved one’s life. Families even go as far as keeping their departed loved one in their house for several years until they can save enough money for an extravagant funeral.  

Each morning, they will bring food and drink as offerings to the body, and even change their clothes. Even the small children help to set the body up and will tell stories of their day. For them when they talk to their dead loved ones they can hear them, and when they bring them things they appreciate them. I’m not saying everyone should practice this, but it shows how far off we are from being in a comfortable place with death. 

There are many myths that come along with death. The first is that the bodies are dangerous. However, unless your loved one died from an infectious disease like Ebola, they are perfectly safe to be around. Another is that you can’t take time to be around the body but the body does not have to be swept away so quickly, death is not an emergency. If you truly want to be involved, you can even help dress your loved one’s body for burial or cremation.  

When a body is brought to the funeral home, a process of embalming is done. This is when the blood is taken from the body and a mixture of formaldehyde and water put back in. Doing so keeps the body preserved for weeks at a time but can alter the way the body looks dramatically.

For me personally, after fearing death most of my life, now that I accept the fact that it is inevitable, things seem much less scary. Growing up, my grandmother took care of me every single day. No matter who took care of you, I hope that you take the time to be close with them in their final moments. Take pride and celebrate the life they’ve had, because that is what they truly deserve. 

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