Death We Can’t Accept

Nov 3, 2009 | 1 comment

There’s a wonderful opinion piece in Sunday’s New York Times by Thomas G. Long, a theology professor at Emory University. He writes about current funeral fashion trends and how “They illustrate the sad truth that, as a society, Americans are no longer sure what to do with our dead.”

He writes about the importance of accompanying the dead to their last resting place, and that “Today, however, our death rituals have become downsized, inwardly directed, static and, as a result, spiritually and culturally impoverished.”

Long writes, “For the first time in history, the actual presence of the dead at their own funerals has become optional, even undesirable, lest the body break the illusion of a cloudless celebration, spoil the meditative mood and reveal the truths about grief, life and death that our thinned-out ceremonies cannot bear.”

I encourage you to read his entire essay, and ponder our American fear of grief and loss.

A Good Goodbye