What is death positive? If you have stumbled upon this website you have probably heard the term before. You might think of it as a bunch of people dressed in all black with very dark eye makeup and pale skin sitting around a bookstore or coffee shop (or graveyard) talking about death and dying. Or maybe some very depressed and possibly suicidal person longing for their untimely end. Death positive is none of these things.
Being death positive is about loving life, and wanting to get every last drop of it from your days. Acknowledging that you are mortal, that your time is limited, is empowering and motivating. Really sitting with the idea that you will run out of tomorrows one day will empower you to get everything out of your todays.
When we are very young we never think that we may cease to live one day, life is limitless and parents try to shield their children from the realities of death to a degree. Children may first have to face the idea of death with a pet or a grandparent, still this doesn't really translate to their own mortality. There are infinite tomorrows to look forward to there is no end and therefore no rush, as it should be in youth.
As we age we start to realize that if we are lucky we get 100 years and we have already spent more than a decade of it. Still, its natural to turn away from this information and not think of the limitations time is allowing. Unless there is some event to bring our own mortality into focus, there is no reason to think about it. There are so many years to look forward to and accomplish goals and dreams.
Being death positive means you have made the time to sit and think about the idea that you will not live forever, that life really is short, that one day you will run out of tomorrows, thinking about what that means for your todays. You only have a limited amount of time, and the clock started ticking long before you realized that one day it will stop. Everyday suddenly becomes precious, you can focus on your life's work with more vigor.
Being death positive goes beyond the self realization too, one day your parents are going to die. Really thinking that one day your parents won't be here can give you more patience and understanding with the things that drive you crazy, and the gift of appreciating them while they are here. You may be more interested in having them impart a skill or story, getting down the memories and not losing the legacy. Ensuring your children have ample time to appreciate them and get to know them, knowing that they have already realized how short life is and want to spend time with you while they are able.
Focusing on your mortality might seem morbid, but it leads to the best life you can live. Getting the most out of your today and all the tomorrows you will have. So how do you really think about your mortality in a way that can make you really appreciate the life you have and make the most of the time you have? Consider more than reading an article about being death positive, create a vigil plan, write your eulogy or obituary, or plan your funeral. Making real plans, really talking it out with someone is going to have a much longer lasting effect than reading an article and forgetting it the moment you close it.
You can't take your life by the horns and live the best life possible until you recognize life really is short, and should not to be taken for granted.
How old were you when you realized you were not going to live forever?
My name is Abby, my life has been touched many times by loss and grief. This life has led me to helping others navigate their own grief. I have become a INELDA trained End Of Life Doula and a hospice volunteer. I am not a professional counselor or psychologist and all advice given should be treated as advice from a friend.