community and our experience of dying …

… “We are story-telling animals. Some of our most important shared stories are in the form of metaphor, parable, and poetry. We communicate through imagination and intuition as much as reason and cognition. And we can find and communicate certain realities only indirectly, not directly. Some kinds of knowledge can be sought only by setting up metaphorical-metaphysical spaces within which we hope to encounter them. This is true with regard to knowledge and wisdom about death.

Setting up a space of that kind depends on having a sense of belonging to a community. Many of us have lost this sense and, consequently, have difficulty finding or entering the metaphorical-metaphysical space we need when we, or those we love, are dying. In facing the circumstance of death, it can be much harder for us than it was for our ancestors to fulfil the need to cry and to laugh through the tears; to come together to share the pain of loss and the joy of memory; and to participate with others in poetry, ritual, and song. Euthanasia is one response to this loss.”

Death Talk. Margaret Somerville. xv.

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