Are there any taboo topics to write a hub about?

I am human, I am going to die...

and I am going to draw strength from the awesome nature of death.
and I am going to draw strength from the awesome nature of death.
It doesn't frighten me.
It doesn't frighten me.
Dying to be heard, I follow the footsteps of those...
Dying to be heard, I follow the footsteps of those...
dear to my heart, who have died before me...
dear to my heart, who have died before me...
I have been once, a granddaughter, a daughter and a carer...
I have been once, a granddaughter, a daughter and a carer...
who had spent months, weeks and hours, tending to those facing death...
who had spent months, weeks and hours, tending to those facing death...
finding once and again, that for many, the final chapter...
finding once and again, that for many, the final chapter...
can feel, can bring a peaceful beginning...
can feel, can bring a peaceful beginning...
At the end of a road I spotted kangaroo footsteps and suddenly remembered my final trip with my father....
At the end of a road I spotted kangaroo footsteps and suddenly remembered my final trip with my father....
His final trip from the hospital back home where he would die....
His final trip from the hospital back home where he would die....
My father spotted an old tree on the side of the road, we passed every day for years...
My father spotted an old tree on the side of the road, we passed every day for years...
He asked me to stop the car, he got out and touched its smooth white trunk. I hurried him back  eager to bring him home safe...
He asked me to stop the car, he got out and touched its smooth white trunk. I hurried him back eager to bring him home safe...
"This is the biggest tree recorded on the Swan Coastal Plains," he said: "It is between 200 and 300 years old and has a diameter at breast height of 3.5 m."
"This is the biggest tree recorded on the Swan Coastal Plains," he said: "It is between 200 and 300 years old and has a diameter at breast height of 3.5 m."
"No, Dad," I protested: "It is just an ordinary tree, come back to the car, you exhaust yourself."
"No, Dad," I protested: "It is just an ordinary tree, come back to the car, you exhaust yourself."
"It is not on the 'Tree register', I checked before I ended up in hospital," he quietly added looking up at its majestic crown.
"It is not on the 'Tree register', I checked before I ended up in hospital," he quietly added looking up at its majestic crown.
"So you see, maybe you are wrong about its age, it looks ordinary, just like any other tree..." I continued and caught his arm.
"So you see, maybe you are wrong about its age, it looks ordinary, just like any other tree..." I continued and caught his arm.
"This tree is dying," he said sadly looking straight into my eyes: " They didn't put his data into the register because it has only few years left..."
"This tree is dying," he said sadly looking straight into my eyes: " They didn't put his data into the register because it has only few years left..."
"It looks like it is in good condition, I mean, for its age," I quickly replied, unsure about my Dad's mental condition...
"It looks like it is in good condition, I mean, for its age," I quickly replied, unsure about my Dad's mental condition...
"Come on, Dad, we go home," he let me to drag him back to the car repeating to himself: "The tree has huge termite damage, it could be treated but that would only prolong its suffering..."
"Come on, Dad, we go home," he let me to drag him back to the car repeating to himself: "The tree has huge termite damage, it could be treated but that would only prolong its suffering..."
"What is the ultimate meaning of suffering?" He asked me quietly in the car watching the tree disappearing behind us. "I don't know, Dad, I really don't..."
"What is the ultimate meaning of suffering?" He asked me quietly in the car watching the tree disappearing behind us. "I don't know, Dad, I really don't..."
"In a world without God," he continued while I was driving: "One's suffering does not mean much beyond itself, your predicament is only worsened by this realisation..."
"In a world without God," he continued while I was driving: "One's suffering does not mean much beyond itself, your predicament is only worsened by this realisation..."
"But you don't believe in God, Dad, do you?" I asked confused by his monolouge.
"But you don't believe in God, Dad, do you?" I asked confused by his monolouge.
He continued, without answering my question: "Your demolition as a human being will never mean anything, you suffer for nothing,
He continued, without answering my question: "Your demolition as a human being will never mean anything, you suffer for nothing,
 you suffer for nothing, you die, you disapear..."
you suffer for nothing, you die, you disapear..."
"Please, Dad, don't talk about death, you will live for many years," I begged.
"Please, Dad, don't talk about death, you will live for many years," I begged.
"I have to, when the inevitable is coming, you remember my daugher, death denial is also life denying." He smiled at me suddenly...
"I have to, when the inevitable is coming, you remember my daugher, death denial is also life denying." He smiled at me suddenly...
" because if we had a chance to live forever or better still, if we would be allowed to be back to do it better next time - then we would just fritter away time doing things that don't inspire us."
" because if we had a chance to live forever or better still, if we would be allowed to be back to do it better next time - then we would just fritter away time doing things that don't inspire us."
"Give me the chance to live forever and I promise you to cherish every minute of my life," I laughed.
"Give me the chance to live forever and I promise you to cherish every minute of my life," I laughed.
"No, you wouldn't and you know it, we cherish only what is precious to us, the things we may loose," he got out of the car and walked towards his old house.
"No, you wouldn't and you know it, we cherish only what is precious to us, the things we may loose," he got out of the car and walked towards his old house.
The house has a fragile beauty with its delicate bones of deteriorating carved wood and iron fences: "Just like in the cemetery, my next home," my Father nodded quietly and he entered his home for the last time.
The house has a fragile beauty with its delicate bones of deteriorating carved wood and iron fences: "Just like in the cemetery, my next home," my Father nodded quietly and he entered his home for the last time.

The concept of dying is so taboo...

Western society

still

doesn't

really

get death,

shutting

their eyes

and their

ears,

in the slightest

mention

of this word.

Something

of very distant

future.

Something,

to be avoided

at any costs

and yet

it is the only

certainty

for us,

for every person

who draws breath.


"Death is the life's best invention",

the late Steve Jobs once said,

"Capable of stripping

away all pride

all fear

of embarrassment

failure

all external expectations

leaving behind

only

what

is truly important".


The carers of the dying

surrounded

by death

every day,

know it all

very well.

The living

do not

want

to hear

talk

or write

about the final chapter

of life.


The window of opportunity

to better understand death

prompted one doctor

named Doug Bridge

take notes

while conversing

with the dying.

The result

is

a beautifully

confronting

writing:

'Conversations with the dying.'

Even more compelling

with the knowledge

that all died

soon after

their words

becoming

immortal...


There is no connection

to the afterlife

and no voices

from the other side.

They all agreed,

deaths gave them

a gift

an altered state

of consciousness

that allows them

to appraise life

in a way

that living cannot.


"When you are dying,

you become real,"

One of them explained:

"You have to stop.

You can't escape it."


"In many ways people become

the most honest

they've ever been

because there is no pretence any more."

Doug scribbled next to his notes.


Doug as a stranger

turned up

at the bedside

of six terminally ill patients

who have been told

by doctors

they have only weeks left.

He asked them to share

their innermost thoughts

as they contemplated

their lives

coming to an end.

To his great surprise

no one turned down

his request.


For them,

it was a rare chance

to talk about death,

something,

they were not comfortable

doing

with their relatives

or the hospital staff.


Regrets and fears

about how

family members

would cope

were common themes.


They were dying

feeling worthless,

a burden on their family,

they were facing death

while feeling

like

they have

no control

over anything

any more.


When Doug asked them,

how they really wanted

to spend their final days,

there was no burning desire

to visit far-flung places in the world,

they just wanted to be home,

wherever it was.


One of the patient,

50 years old,

Lesley

shrugged off

any fears of dying,

saying,

suicide of her 25-year-old son,

five years earlier

was the worst thing

she would ever face.


"I know some people

would be absolutely

devastated,

but this gives me time

to tell them,

how I feel

and what

I want them

to have,

I could be killed

in a car accident,

then you've got no time."

Lesley smiled a weak smile:

"We all have to die,

I am just a bit sooner."

She died two weeks later.


40 years old,

Basim,

with two young children

said:

"I have never done anything bad

to people

or my family,

so why should I be worried

about after death?

I have to take it."


60 years old,

Nevin

described

how his faithful

old dog Sammy

had passed away

and a good friend

died suddenly

from a heart attack,

both in the previous weeks.

After tying up loose ends

to make things easier

for his wife

when he was gone,

he felt ready to join them.

"I don't really care,

if I go tomorrow

because I have sorted everything,

I was lucky

to have had the time."

He said at the end.


70 years old,

Bruce

spoke of his support

for euthanasia,

"I am in so much

pain

and can not help

myself,

I would not like

anyone

like this

to suffer."

He also left

a parting message

for doctors,

calling

for more sympathy.


"You are the first person

I have met,

in this hospital

who is very compassionate

and has feelings

about us old and dying..."


But Doug knew

it was not just

the medical profession

which needed a lesson

in dealing with death.

We all

should get involved

in the psycho-spiritual

side of dying,

not only

where our time comes

but long before...


Doug talks about

'a good death'

he wishes

for himself,

and his own

father's

'wonderful death'

at home

in his 90s

sharing

with Doug

openly

his last moments.


There are many

euphemisms

for death

and

the care of the dying

people

just

don't want

to hear that word.

We replace

'palliative care'

with

'supportive care'

to avoid

the association with death.


We have a fragmented

culture

about death

in which

the concept of being open

about death

doesn't sit easily.


Primitive societies

openly view the body

whereas

we still regard

seeing dead

as something unsuitable.


The indigenous communities

are not afraid of dying.

They only fear

dying

'without their family

and

'out of their country'.


As modern medicine

prolongs

lives

and

chronic diseases

cancers

increase,

a sudden death

is likely,

to become

less common.

We find ourselves

living

with the knowledge

that our time

is running out.


That window of time

represents

a chance

for you,

for me,

for us,

for families

to remember

to tell stories,

share memories

and pictures,

and say their goodbyes.


It can also

be a time

to say sorry.


'IF WE KNOW HOW TO DIE;

THEN WE KNOW HOW TO LIVE,'

were the last words

with which

Doug Bridge

finished his:

'Conversation with the dying.'

I have read it

and for a moment

it was 'dying'

that was heard

before

and

for

the living...


"I like getting old,"

I said to myself:

"It's kind of curious

to see

that you are heading

to all the places,

you have seen,

the people

dear to you,

go before you,

death

is your final destination."




More by this Author


Comments 42 comments

Hubert Williams 4 years ago

Very nice hub. I sometimes wonder how I would handle someone telling me that I was dying. I would probably ask to see God's memo, and go on living and enjoy life more, just in case they were right. I have never been afraid of dying. I often fear leaving my family alone.


Joan Whetzel 4 years ago

I agree with the above comment about wondering how I'd handle being told I was dying. Very inciteful. I alos love the photos and the way you incoporated your shadow as part of the composition. Really cool!


Jackwms profile image

Jackwms 4 years ago

Well, what you have written is quite good and something to think about. I am 76 years of age and know I have a limited number of years remaining. But that doesn't bother me and I don't worry about it. The subject isn't taboo, but my focus will continue to be on what I do today, tomorrow, and next week. I love your photos and the accompanying comments.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

You have posted some deep thoughts in this poem, dying is a part of life and leads us to think about the purpose of living. Your dad's story was touching. I believe that life on earth is just the beginning to eternity. Thanks for the challenge in this hub.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Your writing is very thought-provoking, moving and something we all must face. Truer words were never spoken than death being our only certainty. After 13 years on my job, I was unceremoniously laid off. It shook me to the core when I realized there were no guarantees in life...other than death.

I hadn't contemplated your brilliant ideas regarding the afterlife and the conceptual differences of life beyond the constant input from others, the relentless chatter, gossip, opinions and critiquing, criticisms, approval or not. That absense implies total, complete freedom from everything that weighs human beings down on earth...peace.

The conversation with your father reminds me of some I have recently had with my 89-year old, ex mother-in-law, who I have been helping. I'm glad I have been listening, because when I was younger, I would have half listened and possibly dismissed those thoughts to "old age" meanderings. Your father was right. We only value what is truly precious. I believe his words about suffering, too, are the truth.

Thank you for sharing this meaningful, relevant, sacred writing.


Kebennett1 profile image

Kebennett1 4 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

I found this Hub to be very beautiful and inspiring. Having recently went to my Uncle's funeral and will be attending my friends Memorial Service at the end of the week I actually found comfort in the words. Thank you.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, my fellow hubbers for your inspiring and beautiful inputs and the most importantly sharing your life experiences and your thoughts about this difficult and yet inevitable subject. I know it is hard subject to discuss and even harder to face and yet ...digging our heads in the sand, doesn't help us...thank you, that you decided not to:)


Rusti Mccollum profile image

Rusti Mccollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

Wow! I have never said this before, but this is amazing!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

It is controversial, so I am happy you are on my side:) Thank you...B


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Although Christianity is supposed to offer crumbs of comfort to those afraid of dying, it doesn't seem to work as well as some of the more 'primitive' belief systems. We think ourselves sophisticated, but that great chasm 'at the end of the road' still looks frightening - full stops are final.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Very nicely put, Alan, thank you for 'wrapping up my poem in images' so nicely:) B


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Beautiful and a nice tribute to your father. Reminded me of some of the final conversations I had with my father before he passed. Voted up and all that.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, TToombs, for stopping by, I am happy that my 'little tribute to my Father' assisted in 'keeping your own memory alive':) We can not keep people alive in physical sense but through our memories 'they live forever'.


alliemacb profile image

alliemacb 4 years ago from Scotland

Fabulous hub. It's an amazing poem and the images are just stunning. Voted up and awesome.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you 'Allie', happy you liked it:)


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

Enjoyed your hub very much. Just an interesting thought... I have a Social Work degree. And one of the required courses was Death and Dying. Though at the time it was very difficult to even go to the class because it seemed very negative. But as a counselor, it was the course that gave me the most knowledge to deal with the living.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, Lip, for reading my 'taboo hub' and happy you could relate to it, I study councelling just now and have been in the similar situation just like you, I believe we always fear what we don't understand:)


Dee42 profile image

Dee42 4 years ago from Beautiful Arkansas

A very touching and interesting hub, great writing and the photo were excellent. I couldn't help but read on and on, I was swept up in the words.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, dear Dee42, some people are feel still uncomfortable about this subject, that concern us all...it is time to pick our heads bravely up from the sand and face our future that waits for us all, this way we also learn to acknowledge and be good companions of people who are leaving us...who are dying:)


christin53 profile image

christin53 4 years ago from UK

An excellent hub it certainly makes you think. I don't fear dying but I would worry about those I'm leaving behind.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Don't we all, dear Christine, don't we all...thank you for your kind response and all the best with your hubbing:)


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Oh my, Beeta, this was absolutely an eye opener! This subject is definitely not as taboo as it was, but there are people still skeptical to discuss such things. I'm twenty years old and I'm thinking about my final chapter on this world. I find it very refreshing for someone to understand that there life will come at an end, make the best out of every moment you can!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

You are right, KD, it is much better that it used to be, but we can make it even better by talking about more and more openly...you are very, very wise for your age, but maybe that is just another 'assumption' we like to use when describing something or someone...you are right, enjoy your moment and for me it also means 'thinking 'out of the box'...at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who, how old, where or how you get here...the most important thing is...you are here and what you think and feel:)


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Exactly! See, I feel as though that people still live in the negativity, thinking about what will go wrong and that usually fuels why death is still pretty taboo to talk about. we are, on the other hand, starting to think about the positives of life and, even if death is staring us in the face, I think we are more "ready" to embrace it prior to what our previous generations have felt about death. One good philosophy to adopt would be this: "You are here, make it count; no matter what."


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you KD for making your point clear and count:) All the best with your writing and hubbing:)


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Outstanding Hub! the photos you use to illustrate this touching story, the shadows especially are perfect. I will read more.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, 'xstatic fellow hubber' for stopping by and happy that your stay was worthwhile your time:) Looking forward to hear from you next time....


r jayanthi profile image

r jayanthi 4 years ago from india

Beata that was a very thought provoking hub.It galvinises us into action and i am going over to my parents house tomorrow just to tell them i love them!voted up and awesome. great photos too


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thanks my fellow hubber, very humble that my 'scattered images in images and words' helped you to see you more clearly what is important in our world:)


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Hi Beata. I lost my husband to cancer 8 years ago.When it became clear to us both that he wasn´t going to make it. He told me he really didn´t want to die and was so worried about leaving me and how I would cope. I almost collapsed with grief when we had this conversation, but couldn´t deny it was going to happen. A few days later he managed to get himself up, make a coffee and when I woke I found him sitting on the porch in the sunshine. I just stood and looked at him and it was perfectly obvious that he knew what was coming , but had found peace. When I asked him what he was doing he simply said " Just enjoying Mumsey, just enjoying" It gave me great sadness at the time because I knew he wouldn´t be enjoying any more warm spring sunshine and all the blossom we could se on the fruit trees nearby, but his words and the way he looked that morning gave me great comfort after he died. Last week, a week ago today, his daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly. She simply sat down to watch TV and have a coffee and passed away. No one had time to prepare as no one knew there was anything wrong. The tragedy is no one could say their good byes, right any wrongs, or be their when she passed away.Death has to be faced by us all, and shouldn´t be run away from by those caring for the dying.If the dying are aware what´s going on, and I think they all are. They should be allowed to talk it through and not have it brushed aside with comments like " Don´t talk like that, you are going to be OK" As hard as it is to hear their last thoughts, the dying need to be allowed to go with their conscience clear, and their house in order.


naimishika profile image

naimishika 4 years ago from India

What a hub. Great.. Great... Great.... I love to read your hubs.


Jackwms profile image

Jackwms 4 years ago

I recently received news about close friends who have cancer and now find I also have cancer. The points mentioned by bac2basics are well taken.Those who have the disease need to be allowed to talk it through. We are not comforted by others telling us we are going to be OK or telling us about others who have the same illnesses.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, naimishika, happy my hub is useful to you:)

You are right, Jack, every experience, good and bad is our own individual experience and we are the only ones experiencing it in our own way...it is always good and useful to share our experiences, but each of us have to find their own individual path:)


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Beautiful 'bac2basics', you have summarised it so well, now I know what Jack was all about:) Thank you, my dear follower, although sad for your loss, I know your experience made you who you are now and there is so much wisdom to share...please keep shining for us:)


Rosana Modugno profile image

Rosana Modugno 4 years ago from 10th Kingdom

Thank you for sharing this. It was deep and raw, a moving piece. You didn't hold back anything, just let it all out without hesitation. Bravo, my new hub friend.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

The real 'no-no' is suicide. We've only had one that I know of in any part of my family, and she was 'sped on her way' by a tactless remark made by another member of the family who should have known better. Most have thought about it at some time or another, some take their problems and air them. End of story. Yet others have taken it to the next level. Church frowns on it, and suicides used to be buried beyond consecrated ground. Some make a hash of it and end up in a hospital bed, perhaps because they were 'crying for help' and didn't mean to go all the way.

Then there's the odd few that couldn't care less and 'top themselves' by gruesome means. There are many railway drivers around, who can't bring themselves to get into the driver's cab after people have stepped off the platform in front of them (this is turning morbid, isn't it).


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, my fellow hubbers, maybe it is important to mention that my poems - stories are the 'scattered images in my mind' written by me don't neccessary mean personally experienced by me and yet if nothing else 'walking for a while in someone's else shoes' makes me less judgmental and more compassionate:)


NornsMercy profile image

NornsMercy 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

I was captivated by this hub.

Voted up and more!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, NornsMercy that you have found some time to stop by and your visit was worthwhile ...all the best my new fellow hubber:) B


skperdon profile image

skperdon 23 months ago from Canada

Very deep!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 23 months ago from Western Australia Author

thank you my fellow hubber, where are you from in Canada?


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 23 months ago from Western Australia Author

thank you my fellow hubber, where are you from in Canada?

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