How Do We View The End Of Our Lives And Our Relationship With The Dead?

How Do We View The End Of Our Lives And Our Relationship With The Dead?

This site is all about health. Taking care of your body and mind is essential. Your body is, however, a finite resource. Talking about death can be a taboo subject in some societies. Nevertheless, death is something you can depend upon, and the way we handle the end of our lives and our relationship with the dead can say a great deal about the structures of our societies.

The way we treat dying and death is linked to hierarchical structures, religious belief, financial responsibility and reverence for our elders and ancestors. Here, we will list some of the different ways in which dying and death are treated around the world. No way of treating the dead is universal. No way of handling the end of a life is ultimately perfect.

Living With The Dead

In many cultures, a person is hidden from view after they have died. Their body is deemed as disturbing or holy and they are buried or cremated. This is not true of all people, however. The Toraja people of Indonesia often keep their dead relatives in the house long after they have stopped breathing.

The Toraja are Animists meaning that they believe every natural thing has a soul. For thousands of years, they have rejected the notion that a human body ceases to be a vessel for a person’s soul after they die.

Modern Toraja people often inject their dead relatives with a mummifying solution after they have passed, which allows them to be kept in the home without rotting. They regularly clean and clothe the body. Once the person is finally buried, they may be exhumed during special events.

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This is not a disturbing or inappropriate thing in Toraja culture. Instead, it allows grief and reverence for relatives to be treated as ever-present forces. Having a relationship with the dead allows them to remain as guiding forces in the lives of the living.

Writing A Will

In the Anglophone world, writing a will is a very common way of preparing for death. The tradition of will writing was first recorded in ancient Greece. In a will, a person prepares for death by ensuring that they have control over their assets when they die. This can bring some peace of mind, as it lets a dying person know that they can look after their loved ones.

Wills have also been used to tell one final joke, or express final bitterness. William Shakespeare famously left his long-term partner Anne Hathaway ‘the second-best bed’ in his will – a token of bitterness from beyond the grave. If you find yourself needing advice on how to write your will, search for ‘will writing services near me’ or speak to a charity such as Age UK.

State Of Mind

Buddhists believe in reincarnation. As such, people preparing for death wish to die in as peaceful a state of mind as possible. In many Buddhist cultures, monks and nuns help people preparing for death by easing their state of mind – with the aim of making their spiritual transformation more peaceful.


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