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The Social Framework of Death and Dying

Introduction

Using course materials from Loss of life and Dying, I am going to discuss the idea that death is something to be feared. I will use course materials from Stop 1, The Social Context of Fatality and Dying, focusing on models 1 and 2. I will provide evidence of quarrels for and from this notion and consider other attitudes of how these views are shaped by society. I will also demonstrate my answers using materials form the course website, audience and audio tracks activities. I've also designed some personal and professional experience. so that they can illustrate my items.

Death is portrayed and reviewed in a variety of ways by people from all walks of life, their upbringing and religious views can have an impact about how they perceive fatality. As mentioned in Block 1, one indicator that death is something to dread is our use of vocabulary. This nervousness is showed in the euphemisms individuals use when explaining or detailing a death. For instance when executing activity 1. 1, Detailing this is of loss of life, (Block 1, unit 1, pg 1). I mentioned my first experience of death. I recall having to clarify to my youngest sibling that our mother had perished. My sister was 8 years old and I sat her down and spoke firstly about angels and the stars. I continued to inform her that God experienced made the decision he needed mum to be an angel. I couldn't bear to use the term dead when i was fighting mum being useless and was of the view that using the term 'deceased' would have been too agonizing and therefore spoke about angels to make it less emotive. Since that time I've experienced the fatality of other relatives and friends and find that I'll use euphemisms such as, "passed away" or "gone to a much better place". I have also observed myself use phrases such as "kicked the bucket, however, normally, this is when referring to someone I didn't really know.

A variety of examples are given in stop 1 in relation to euphemisms used to spell it out what occurs after fatality. Spiritualist and Mediums use words such as "crossing over" or "flushed over" as they start to see the death as the start of a journey out of this world to what they describe as the 'nature world'. Komaromy (2005) spoke of how she found that whilst discovering how loss of life and dying were monitored in health care homes, was "frequently attained with difficulty over the use of words 'loss of life', 'dying' and 'lifeless'" (Stop 1, device 1, section 1. 2, pg 13). It would appear worries of using these words were not necessarily from the residents themselves but by those who looked after them.

The values instilled in folks from a young time using their family, educational experts and religious options as well as their personal experience of death can often have a profound impact on how they perceive loss of life and dying. Roman Catholics appear comfortable when talking about fatality as they see loss of life as a momentous event that should not be feared. Catholics believe in life after death, stating the spirit leaves your body and can normally spend a period in Purgatory so when the soul is cleansed of the temporal outcomes of sin they'll enter into heaven. However some panic remains, as for many, there is certainly doubt of how long their heart and soul will stay in purgatory. "They do not fear another world, but rather the passage, the crossing over. . . . . . . . " (Toscani, et al(2003), OU course material, website).

Professor Douglas Davis' research outlined that gender takes on a substantial role in the perception in life after fatality in contemporary English Society. He says that women are more likely to have confidence in an afterlife, than men, with a percentage of almost 2:1. He informs 30% of the population with an identical gender imbalance imagine the dead remain in our midst and have had contact in one form or another with their loved one. (Music1, activity 1. 8, Identity and Belief). This I would argue is based on a person's knowledge of the deceased and it is linked to their sense of id and the necessity to continue the link with their loved one, which may offer comfort and satisfaction to those who are bereaved. People also seek comfort through connection with the dead via spiritualists and mediums, in an effort to communicate with family members. Justine Picardie describes this as going to a communal gathering of the useless (Picardie to make Sense of Loss of life and Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology, pg 198, Earle, et al).

Research and studies about the beliefs and views of individuals in life after death vary from person to person depending on the spiritual or non-religious values. For example the article "Life at the end of Life: values about specific life after fatality and "good fatality" models - a qualitive study" Toscani, F. , et al, shows two the latest models of and arguments regarding loss of life and what would be classed as a "good death". The attitudes and assumptions be based upon whether the person is a believer or non-believer but even then there can be conflicting opinions between faiths.

Tibetan Buddhism identifies in great depth the procedure of loss of life and the passage over. Tibetan Buddhists should read "The Tibetan E book of the Deceased" and when a person is dying, there's a common conception that it is good to learn this book to the dying person. "By understanding the death process and familiarisingour self applied with it, we can remove fear during death and ensure a good rebirth" (Death and Dying in the Tibetan Buddhist Traditions, Hawter; V. P - internet source: Buddahnet. com). In contrast, Seventh-day Adventist beliefs regarding death are completely different from those of other religions. Adventists believe people do not pass away nor do they go to Heaven or Hell. It really is their belief that the individual "goes to sleep and can climb again on your day of Judgement". (Kormaromy, 2005, Stop1, product 1, section 1. 2, pg13). By this they imply the person will stay unconscious until the go back of Christ.

The views of atheists change, however the consensus is that there surely is no life after fatality, that whenever we expire, we die, and this could it be. "If I am, fatality is not; if death is, I am no more: why, then, dread fatality?" (Toscani, et al(2003), OU course website, pg 8). This will not imply that atheists don't have a concern with fatality, like believers there are similarities in relation to how they'll expire and where they wish to die. I worked with a family group whose child was dying. When trying to aid the family through this difficult period they spoke of sensing angry at those who experienced questioned why these were not in cathedral praying. They informed me that so far as they were concerned that when the youngster perished that was the end. They explained their only fear was that the youngster would die only if they remaining his side.

The management of fatality and dying has altered as time passes. French Historian, Phillipe Aries claimed that in the centre Ages people made an appearance more optimistic with regards to death, as they recognized death within life, as it unavoidable. The death afflicted not only the category of the deceased but the community as a whole. With individuals being given particular assignments, for example, planning your body for burial, announcing the death and it was customary to see your body of the deceased. Fatality was a common occurrence and this may make clear why loss of life was seen as inevitable and therefore not feared.

Aires argued that after the 19th century loss of life in western society was hidden and following the First World Conflict, loss of life became a taboo subject and was no more seen as a natural procedure for life. (Stop 1, unit 2. 2, pg 38). The reason for this could be that it was due to what we know as the 'nuclear family' age? Norbert Elias (1985) would dispute that in today's modern culture the role of setting up the deceased has been taken over by funeral directors who offer an array of services to the family. This consists of collecting and organizing your body for burial or cremation. In my recent experience of the death of my kid, the only work the funeral director cannot undertake was to join up the loss of life. Elias discussion "is the fact dying people are actually more isolated than in the past" (Stop 1, Device 2. 2 pg40).

It should be mentioned that some traditions continue, for example, the browsing of the deceased remains within many faiths be it within a cathedral environment or funeral directors chapel of rest, although this is usually by family and good friends. This could make clear why Aires theory that loss of life following the 19th century did not have a standard impact on the city but instead than on a smaller network, family and friends. German Sociologist, Norbert Elias (1985), (Block 1, device 2. 2, pg 40) challenged Aires ideas, that before, fatality was accepted to be a natural process. Elias stated death was painful as life was much shorter and more threatening.

Conclusion

Perhaps the idea of life after death allows us to cope with what can only be seen as an all natural fear as the choice, non-existence is unimaginable and we are psychologically inept to cope with this. Therefore we need to ask the question is death something feared by all? Is this a hypothesis or could it be that for many individuals, especially, those in later years or with a terminal illness that death may be the starting of something better. It can therefore be argued that whilst individuals and population have diverse views regarding loss of life and what goes on to them when they pass away, almost all do have a fear of how they'll die. For example being alone, struggling pain, dying young or, being ignored.

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