Spirituality and Death

There is nothing quite like death to make us think about life. There are big questions about what life is truly about.  Then there is the other question of if there is anything after death.

In New Zealand, the Christian faith has experienced a decline in numbers for years. Fewer people follow or believe in it, and yet, so many families talk about their loved ones looking down on them from “up there” or being with other loved ones. I understand this completely. It’s a way of processing and coping with loss and death.

Many cultures look to their religious beliefs for comfort in death, with some believing in reincarnation or purgatory. All the world religions have their views.  Each culture have their views and ways of dealing with death. Even atheists have a view, often based on the scientific and chemical breakdown of the physical body. It may not be as exciting as others, but it works for them.

Morning Mist

Regardless of our views, there is undoubtedly something mystical about death. I don’t know if it’s the ending of a life or the start of the next journey. People who deal with death on a regular basis can have experiences that go beyond words.

Maybe it is the fact that death is something we can’t stop, despite TV ads for fitness, cosmetics, and drugs that prevent death.

Yet, despite being such a common part of life, it is still something many people don’t like talking about. However when someone realises you are a funeral director they often have many questions about the job.

How well do you cope when facing death?  Could we “do” death better in NZ.  Perhaps learn from Maori practices with more interaction – rather than leaving it all to the professionals.

An important focus of SDF is to make death a little more natural for those dealing with it. To remove the scariness or foreignness of death.  And help families to be involved as much as they like. There is never any rush, because things happen quick enough. If the family wants to help, they can be involved as much as they want.

This final passage of life is important, especially for those close to the person. Being able to face death with courage and acceptance that it is part of life helps. It won’t stop the tears and pain of loss or any number of challenges you face, but it can be helpful in many ways.

There is a spirituality and mystery surrounding significant events in life. We may describe it differently and do different things to mark them. This spirituality should be acknowledged because it signifies the importance of what has happened.