It was with a mixture of shock and surprise that I opened my daily copy of The Herald recently to see, in bold print, the headline reporting, “local prominent citizen dies.” The fact that the paper would have the courage, the unmitigated audacity to use even a variation of the most culturally prohibited word, “death,” on the front page was a sign that things might be changing with our nation’s terminal denial when it involves our “passing on.”
Just two days prior the paper published 10 events in the obituary section. Not one of those people died – nine “passed away” and one soul “went home to be with the Lord.” Rarely does anyone actually die here in Shangri-La. It is still virtually impossible for most rational people to utter the “D” word. The fact that our local newspaper is willing to suggest, on its front page, that someone actually died is an encouraging sign that we are moving in in the direction of bringing the final taboo, death, out of the closet.
There is further evidence of that phenomenon in our community with the recent formation of an organization known as, The Death Café; a group of enlightened individuals who gather monthly for the purpose of sharing their views on mankind’s most profound mystery: where do we go from here?
Death is not a tragedy, what is tragic is our denial that without death there can be no life. Did Jesus “pass away” for your sins?
John Lee, Bellingham