Eterneva Explains The Connection Between Death Wellness & Healthy Grieving
Most people don't want to talk about death. Social constructs have made death a generally disliked topic that is considered ill-suited for polite conversation, and there never seems to be a convenient time to sit down and have a discussion about important death-related issues. At least, until the matter is no longer avoidable and a funeral must be planned. Sometimes even this process is rushed, with people eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy. That's why Eterneva discusses the importance of considering these issues as a part of planning for the future.
Unfortunately, the biggest impact this negative view of death has is on the dying and the grieving. Those who are approaching the end of their lives aren't able to effectively communicate their needs and desires to families who aren't listening, and those who are grieving after the loss of a loved one may not be given space to do so in a way that is healing.
This has led to the creation of a death-positive movement that seeks to make talking about death and honoring the wishes of the dying and deceased part of everyday life. Understanding death wellness and its connection to healthy grieving can help you better support yourself and loved ones who are experiencing death and grief from all perspectives.
What Is Death Wellness?
Baylor College of Medicine describes death wellness, or death positivity, as "a culture, community, and related set of practices built around the mutual goals of dying as one wishes or dying a good death [that] includes confronting and embracing one's mortality through normalizing conversations about dying and death."
Essentially, death wellness is a movement that seeks to reform how people think about death and grieving, and how those topics are treated when brought up. Everyone dies and nearly everyone experiences the passing of someone they love, yet this shared experience is largely kept in the dark, leaving those in the midst of it without adequate support. A primary goal of death positivity is to make it less difficult for those who are dying or missing a loved one to talk about the issues that are most important to them. By having open discussions about death and normalizing acts that memorialize or honor those who have passed, dying may no longer be such an uncomfortable part of what it means to be a human.
Practicing Death Wellness In Daily Life
There are many ways to go about practicing death wellness and promoting the discussion of important topics surrounding grief and dying, such as:
Working with a death doula. Death doulas are individuals who offer support to someone who is dying and their family as they go through the end-of-life process. Get more information at INDELA, the International End of Life Doula Association.
Hosting open-table discussions about death. Whether or not you've experienced the passing of someone you love, you can host open-table discussions either over dinner or cafe-style to help friends and family open up and talk about issues that may otherwise be uncomfortable. DeathOverDinner.org is a great resource to help you plan your dinner and invite and educate attendees.
Going on a grief retreat. Grief retreats are designed to support those who have very recently lost someone they love, but can generally be attended by anyone struggling with grief and death acceptance. Learn more about grief retreats or locate a retreat center here.
Memorializing loved ones who have passed. If you've lost a loved one, this may be difficult to do consistently. However, many people find comfort and lasting peace by honoring the memory of their loved ones in a special way.
Getting mental health support for grief if you need it. Many people are ashamed of their grief or feel self-conscious about seeking help if their mental health suffers after a loved one dies. However, getting support when you need it instead of delaying it can help you learn to integrate death and dying with other equally normal and significant events.
When Grieving Is Good
Because grief is intensely uncomfortable, it's often seen as something to avoid or push away. Succumbing to grief is seen as a "weakness," and "staying strong" means not needing or wanting to grieve, at least in a way that is visible to others. However, just because grief is painful doesn't mean that it's not healthy or good. In fact, the act of grieving is necessary and inescapable; it will arrive whether or not you want it to, when it's convenient for you or not.
Leaning into grief and allowing yourself to process death in the way that is most natural for you can help transform grief into something that heals instead of hurts. No two people will share the exact same grief journey, but there are many things that humans do and have done over time to mourn the loss of a loved one or celebrate their life and memory.
Integrating the Act of Memorializing Your Loved One Into Your Grief
A time-honored tradition and an important part of the grieving process is memorializing your loved one. Honoring your loved one's life in a special way is closely intertwined with death wellness and can help demonstrate to others that the dead are not forgotten, nor do the grieving have to "move on" in whatever way society tells them to. Here are some ways to integrate memorializing your loved one into healthy grieving:
Plant a cremation tree. The Living Urn is a leading provider of bio urns designed to grow memory trees and plants using the ashes of the deceased. Purchase a plant along with your urn kit, or buy the urn kit separately and use a plant or sapling that has special meaning to your loved one.
Name a star. The Star Register allows you to select and name a star visible to the naked eye in the U.S. and searchable in the only official star database. Name a star after your loved one or use a nickname or phrase that was meaningful to both of you.
Create a one-of-a-kind diamond. A memorial diamond is a beautiful way to create something new from your loved one's ashes that you can keep close to you and pass down through your family for generations to come. Eterneva offers custom cremation diamonds that can be set in the jewelry of your choice.
Commission a memorial quilt. If you know someone who quilts, ask to commission a memorial blanket from your loved one's clothes. This gives you something huggable that also allows you to repurpose their clothes instead of keeping them stored somewhere.
Create a legacy project. A legacy project allows you to honor the life of the deceased through an activity that shares things they loved or were passionate about with others. Good examples of legacy projects are charities, public memorial gardens, annual walks, and scholarships. LegacyProject.org has excellent resources to help you organize and create your loved one's legacy.
Discover More About Death Wellness with Eterneva
The death positivity movement continues to gain traction as more awareness is generated about the negative impact of society's current views regarding death and dying on those who are, in fact, dying or have just lost a loved one. Learn more about death wellness with Eterneva or visit their website to discover additional resources to help support yourself or someone you care about during or after death.