World Unknown

When my life comes to an end,

I ask for not too much time spent in tears, instead I pray you smile and rejoice to the life that I lived.

Let sunshine radiate through the room, let my body not be buried and in open view, instead I ask it be cremated and ready to cast out to the endless sea.

I invite all my loved ones and friends to spend a moment and share what words they left unsaid, if it may be joyous, sad, or cruel I invite them forward and be true.

To those I leave behind, do not spend a fortune on the possessions of the earth, for I look forward to the world unknown- my heaven where we will all reunite.

Let’s talk about dying

So, I just randomly stumbled across this TED talk video during my casual stroll across the interweb and it really caught my attention. Mr. Peter Saul touches on how a majority of people “deny” death and are unprepared for an end-of-life event. He also goes into some research he had done with end of life patients in which the patients were asked what they wanted before death. A lot of what he was lecturing arose interesting questions that a majority of us don’t ask ourselves or others like, “Who would speak my wishes if I was incapacitated” or “Do you have a plan for your own or a family members death”; all very prominent questions that a majority of people disregard.

An interesting topic that I took from the lecture was the advertisement of life and life promoting quotes and how they can pertain to death. I believe that by promoting our knowledge of life and death synonymously in our society today, it could eventually lead those who fear, deny, or are unaware of death towards the acceptance of our dying process.

Just a little brain food for all my fellow bloggers! I hope you enjoyed it and don’t be scared to reply, new perspectives and insights are always welcome!

Gran Torino

When I think of death in movies, I always think of the movie Gran Torino. Gran Torino was about an old man, Clint Eastwood, who lived in a bad neighborhood where crime rates were very high. He was a war veteran, very strong and tough. One of the teenage boys in the neighborhood tries to steal Eastwood’s car to be initiated into a gang, but Eastwood catches him in the act. The boy’s mom makes him go help Eastwood around the house to be forgiven for the bad he has done. Eastwood hated the thought at first, but let him help anyway. Eastwood grows to like the young boy, and unfortunately in the end, dies for him and his family.

The movie portrayed death as an act of honor or dying heroically for someone else. The young boy had a problem with gangs, such as getting beat up, and the boy’s sister got raped by a few people in the gang, also. Eastwood knew that this problem was never going to stop, so in order to save the family, he went to the gang neighborhood. Eastwood went without a gun, but acted like he had one. He was shot by every gang member, and the members were put in jail, never able to bother the family again. This, however, is misleading since in the real-word, people often die from illnesses or accidents. Far fewer people die for the sake of others, like Clint Eastwood did in this movie.  Although, I do think the media portrayal had some helpful concepts of death in it, such as the grieving process that people go through when someone dies. When the boy and his family got the news, they ran down to the ambulance. They all were crying hysterically. This part is a lot like the real world because a lot of crying is involved when someone dies.

This movie did support the idea that America is a “death denying” culture. Throughout the entire movie, Clint Eastwood is coughing up blood. The viewers of this movie also saw that he smoked, which was probably causing him to cough up blood. So, during the movie, every viewer knew that Clint Eastwood had some illness, and he was going to die soon. Every viewer denied that he would die in the movie. He could solve any and every problem, and he was too strong of a man to die. Every viewer hoped to see him live. When Clint Eastwood died, not by illness, but by gunshot wound, saving the ones he cared about, it was still hard for the viewers to process this. Every viewer grew fond of Clint Eastwood and denied the fact that he was going to die. Society makes it seem like the people you are fond of are not going to die, and people do not have to worry about that. People grow close to others and deny the fact that their loved ones will die someday. Society sweeps the “death talk” under the rug and decides not to think or talk about it. Society likes to think that death only happens in the movies, until it actually affects us.

Disney’s UP <3

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      The movie UP is a sweet, heart warming story. In the beginning of the movie Carl and Ellie meet as young kids, who both love adventure. As you get to know the characters the shy young boy Carl comes out of his shell a little when he is with Ellie, because she is wild and free spirited. As you begin to fall in love with both of the characters, they start to fall in love with each other. The first five minutes shows how they grow up, then end up getting married and going on so many adventures together. As they start to get older, Ellie becomes sick and dies, thus leading up to the opening of the movie. There sits a grumpy Carl a senior citizen who is depressed and alone now that is wife is gone. When she passes away he is so sad and decides to just let it overcome his entire life.

      I feel as though this is a very accurate depiction of what death in life is really like. When a loved one dies, especially a spouse, someone you see everyday, it has to be extremely hard to be motivated after that. The portrayal of death in this movie I don’t think is misleading at all. The audience is fully aware of Ellie’s death. Furthermore, the audience is probably more often than not, just as upset at this point, as Carl would be if he was a real person, and not just a cartoon.

      From my point of view, I would say that the media influences our understanding of death sometimes in the sense that they like to make it peaceful and simple. The people die in their sleep and they are forever comfortable. While really people are dying in hospitals, ambulances, in car crashes, murders, and from many different diseases that are anything close to comfortable. I feel as though the media masks the true heartache and disparity that can come with the death of a loved one. As I say that though, I also have to address that often times there are movies where people grieve their losses and the deaths aren’t always pretty. But, I would have to say that in general I feel like death in movies is often times simpler than real life. I think that the media influences us to think that death is as real as the movie that we are watching, everything works out, and will end up happy and beautiful in the end. When in reality sometimes life has loose ends and the sadness will never actually be gone, some part of you will always miss the person.

      Carl in this portion of the movie is a grumpy old man who sits inside like a hermit all day, I feel as though this only explains part of how people will react to death. This is because everyone is different. I don’t think that in one movie you can explain how death will affect everyone, because each life, and each story will be different. I think that the language in this movie shows that we are not all death denying but that verbally we tend to use other words for death. Or in this case specifically you visually get the point through visions of hospitals, tears, graves, and black colors. I think everyone knows that death will happen, and some people will deal with it differently than others.

      As this explanation of the movie focused mostly on the negative death in the first few minutes of the movie, it really does set the scene for the rest. Since I don’t like to spoil movies for people, and this is a Disney film, there is a happy ending, and a talking dog. If you haven’t seen this heart-warming movie yet, you have no life and should WATCH MORE MOVIES, only kidding, but for real, WATCH IT!! 😉

If I Die Young….

On the heels of Sunday’s VMAs, conversations have been swirling about music and culture.  Who’s to blame about Miley’s performance?  Will Taylor Swift ever stop bad mouthing her exes? Well, music has a place in conversations about Death and Dying, too!  Too often our spoken language shies away from death.  We are a culture that avoids talking about death over holidays and at the dinner table.  Instead, we hold conversations about death and dying in hospitals, nursing homes, and other corners of society.  But music, as do most forms of art, makes us talk about controversial topics.  Instead of tip toeing around the issue, art spearheads a discussion about sensitive issues.  Take, Picasso’s Guernica.  The chaos in the painting makes you want to talk about it.  But what is it that we are suppose to talk about?  Well, for Guernica its DEATH–the deaths that were caused by the bombings on Guernica.

The same is true for music.  A few years back, the Band Perry hit it big with a song that included DEATH its title–IF I DIE YOUNG.

How is it that artists aren’t scared to express their feelings about death, but too often we relegate such discussions to dark hallways of hospitals?  What songs have you heard that talk about death?  Does music make it easier to talk about death?  Be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Welcome to Dying Well

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Although we are surrounded by death on a daily basis, few people choose to openly discuss the topic.  This semester, we will be using our blog as a way to jump start conversation about death and dying.  Our blog is designed to challenge our current ideas about death and to examine our personal attitudes toward end-of-life.  Throughout the semester we will use our blog as a medium to continue class discussions and to delve deeper into the subject matter.  Our blog is an informal place where we can learn, explore, and develop new ideas.  So, let’s get blogging!