How Refusal To Talk About Death Hurts The Elderly
In my family, we don't really talk about death. But, every now and then, we joke about it.
For some reason, there is a running joke among my immediate family about how my parents will die. Specifically, my brother and I will come home for Thanksgiving one year and find them decomposing on the couch.
Yes, this is a bizarre thing to crack jokes about. But it's also, in its own, ghoulish way, a bit of a fantasy — an affront to the way that Americans tend to die in the 21st century, with ticking machines and tubes and round-the-clock care. In this joke, my parents' death is a simple, quiet, and uncomplicated death at home.