Every living thing on this planet will die. Humans are not exempt from this truth, yet many forget. Some even devote their lives to fighting off this natural phenomenon. While some cultures accept death as an inevitable facet of our lives, others have not, for fear of death. To quell that fear, study of the Grave unveils the truth about death and what happens to our bodies when we die. An individual studying this subject will explore the death culture of the society to which they belong and decide if it matches their beliefs. They will face their own fear and make decisions about their own death.
Think about how your culture views death and dying. Think about your culture’s funeral and burial rites, and what they might reveal. Read about the death culture of your region. Does your nation have a funeral industry? Read and learn about it. Is there anything surprising about it? Why or why not?
And think about how you view death. What emotions do you feel when you think about death, the dead, and dying? Think about whether you want to change these emotions around or if you want to strengthen them. Also, what do you want done with your body when you die, and why?
The full recommended reading list is available at the Order of the Good Death’s website, located here. Below, I’ve listed my personal recommendations as well as books not on the list.
- Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial — Mark Harris
- Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory — Caitlin Doughty
- Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers — Mary Roach
- Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography — Douglas Keister
- This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War — Drew Gilpin Faust
Individuals are encouraged to complete any of the following activities to deepen their understanding about death and mortality.
- Individuals can participate in the monthly death talks on my Discord server. More information will be announced when this becomes available.
- Individuals can begin preparations for their own deaths. This involves starting to write their wills and/or living wills, considering what they want done with their bodies, and sharing their decisions with their loved ones.
- Individuals can attend physical Death Cafés in their local areas. Check out the Death Café website to learn more.