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Showing posts from June, 2023

Death Anxiety

Death and grief have been on my mind lately, perhaps because I recently attended a funeral to pay my respects and to support my husband and his family in their grief. Funerals are always uncomfortable, and yet they are a very normal part of our culture. The great psychotherapist Irvin Yalom writes in his book Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death that events such as funerals and deaths of loved ones serve as "awakening experiences," or moments in time in which we are reminded of our own mortality and inevitable death. Our own death anxiety manifests in a variety of awakening experiences. Such experiences could be as obvious as having a near death experience, or as subtle as attending a high school reunion and seeing how your classmates have aged. Awakening experiences can be jarring. They arrive rather suddenly, and shake us out of our blissful distraction, bringing us back to the awareness of our own eventual demise.  This can leave us feeling utterly terrified