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attitudes to death and dying

Elizabeth Kubler Ross was an amazing, but maybe slightly strange or different, person who helped define our cycle of feelings towards death and dying (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). When my Mum was alive I talked to her a lot about this. My Mum was full of faith (Catholic) and she agreed with this cycle until she got to about 80. By then she said “it is getting too close so I do not want to talk about it!”. Increasingly as I meet older people (including many Christians) I find my Mum’s view becoming very very common. And then I hear of the skydiver this week who broke the sound of speed only to discover that 1 million people, out of 7 million, STOPPED watching when his parachute opened. It’s like motorway crashes – people want to not watch (sic) but do. This “death watch” I think is unlikely to have happened decades ago when Elizabeth Kubler Ross was writing. I believe attitudes to death and dying are changing – which affects legacy giving – but do we really know what and how people feel about death and dying in an increasingly secular world?

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