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Content here represents the voice of SIGNATURE SUNSETS, an informational initiative designed to broaden and brighten horizons in the funerary domain.

The material is an outgrowth of a pre-planning reference book, Pondering Leaves: Composing and Conveying Your Life Story's Epilogue, written by the author of this blog.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PRE-PLANNING HUMOR

CAN DEATH AND LEVITY CO-EXIST? 

Is it okay to treat the subject of planning one's own end-of-life affairs in a lighthearted manner?  We are accustomed to shying away from anything that pertains to death.  We don’t want to think about the demon that follows us through life, threatening to uproot us from our existence.  Normally, we don’t laugh at a reality so abhorrent and contrary to our sense of well-being.  We can’t fathom it in the imaginary context of an amiable companion.

We seem to have inherited our negative attitudes toward mortality because of maladaptive fixations that characterize our culture.  In other countries, people are better able to treat the transition as a natural phase of the live cycle.  As human beings, we all share the universal agony of loss when it occurs.  But while many others seem to regard this natural passage more purposefully, we tend to regard it more scornfully.  Can we learn to accept an evolutionary reality that can’t be changed?  Is there a way to be relieved of the heavy burden of intimidating fear that permeates our lives and diminishes our quality of living?

I think humor can be a tool.  It isn’t meant to imply disrespect for this phenomenon that is imbued with painful repercussions for loved ones.  Instead, it is intended to serve the function of a preemptive host, opening the door and welcoming newcomers to unfamiliar territory.  It is the “ice-breaker,” so to speak.  Maybe it can help to spark discussions and invoke a newfound comfort in a realm that had been too uncomfortable to broach.  

If we could allow ourselves to lighten up a bit, maybe we would be able to tolerate this taboo topic more readily.  I believe in the power of words to alter our ingrained perspectives.  I like to use upbeat language and concepts as a balm in hopes of subduing the ache of prospective separation.  It seems easier to explore this subject when surrounded by figurative expressions pregnant with metaphors, double meanings, and symbolic terms that are not only palatable, but jocular as well.  I’d much rather look at a frog symbolizing a mission to communicate about death rather than a skull and crossbones reinforcing the threat of it!  
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