Death is as permanent as life is. Wherever there’s life, there’s death. So it is not really a question of do I want to live longer or shorter but more of how do I deal with my life knowing that someday I too shall perish. Innumerable studies have already been conducted on the subject but if you were the person in question, would you remember Elizabeth Kuber-Ross and her five stages of coping while you grieve? By human nature, what doesn’t leave a mark on our subconscious most probably would not see the light of day when the need comes.
Throughout the course of human history, the experts try to analyze the very complex genius that is our brain. This may be as far as we can go but efforts and money continue to pour for this study. Wong and his associates (Gesser, Wong & Reker, 1987-1988) identified three distinct types of death acceptance:
Neutral death acceptance
People face death objectively and without emotion, the fact that death is inevitable and that every life does end at some point in time. This is where most of the younger generations fall into when faced with questions or happenings of death in their lives. A simple shrug and a one-liner answer will do.
This approach acceptance has the positive outlook as it sees death as a gateway to a better afterlife. Religious people, or those who are in touch with their spirituality fall into this Approach Acceptance type. Their strong faith and belief that there is indeed a paradise after this life makes them not fear death; instead, they embrace it. After all, it’s what will bring them to their paradise where everyone is beautiful and everything is done with love.
Contrary to approach acceptance, escape acceptance sees death as a better option to a painful experience. They see death as a lesser evil than life where there’s just too much pain going on. Like the Approach Acceptance, people in this type embrace death too but without a smile on their face and no hopes on their hearts. Death is merely the deadening of the senses and therefore the easiest solution for their cruel lives. There’s really nothing in the afterlife they look forward to. They commit suicide; they’re the most irritable types, the most withdrawn and the anti socials.
There’s really no need to put distinctions to it. It’s just us wanting to know to which category we belong and if we don’t find any, we make up one. But it’s all about simply accepting death as it is. And how we cope? As unique as each one of us is, it’s the same as how we cope. As Stewart Alsop says, ‘A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless to resist. You may like to read some poems about death here.