Our societal focus tends to be on the beginning and the middle of a life.
And the events that clog up the middle of a life.
You know the ones: school, single hood, marriage, kids and retirement.
But in the youth oriented society that we have unarguably built over the last 50 years in this country, we have neglected to talk about the necessity of mortality and death.
Maybe with the new federal healthcare law and it’s eponymously dubbed “death panels” we will change our societal approach, but we here at HSCT aren’t betting one it.
With the exception of the Showtime series, Six Feet Underfrom a few years ago, when was the last cultural moment of seriousness around this topic?
Death and its surrounding shoals represent the final conflict: People’s souls and Spirits fight the flesh to leave this world and the flesh (both the flesh that is dying and the flesh that is the people surrounding the flesh that is dying) has fights with the people.
We are trapped in this world, but, whether a devout atheist or a devout believer, the desire is to resolve the last conflict in our favor and to win the last argument.
And death does that.
It is the ultimate leveler. It wins all arguments and settles all debts. Google, NSA data centers, federal student loans—none of them have ever overcome–or will overcome–that final leveler.
What does death cost the living?
In terms of money and fees associated with the burial, internment or cremation of the last earthly evidence of a human being—the body—the cost can range from either astronomical to affordable.
But we the living don’t find that out until the flesh is almost at an end.
Legal documents, procedures, the medical process and all the other human—and dare we say, temporal—aspects of death are just as mysterious and shrouded in silence.
What are we to make of this equation: Youth oriented society + Silence around the topic + simple processes made to seem esoteric = death made mysterious.
We as mediators, conflict managers, coaches, negotiators and peacebuilders need to educate ourselves more around this final area, cloaked in silence, in order to expose the conflicts and generate better outcomes that will create peace for those who are left behind.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant