In America, burial means an embalmed body in a heavy-duty casket with a vault built over it, so that the ground doesn’t settle. That body is encased in many layers of denial.
Death in its natural state can be very beautiful. When you think about a body that’s died of natural causes – family taking care of it – all of that is very beautiful.
If people really knew what they were getting into with their third chemotherapy treatment, or getting a pacemaker when they’re 92, if they really knew what that was going to mean, they might say no, and we should give them that information.
If we ignore our death, we end up just going around completely oblivious to why we do the things we do!
For thousands of years, we did have death surrounding us, and we did have people die in the home. You would take care of your own end. You would do ritual processes, and you would be involved in it, and that’s been taken away in the Western world.
Ever since childhood, when I found out that the ultimate fate for all humans was death, sheer terror and morbid curiosity had been fighting for supremacy in my mind.
Because we’ve never encountered a decomposing body, we can only assume they are out to get us. It is no wonder there is a cultural fascination with zombies.
Writing a memoir is such a private, personal experience that it’s intimidating to think of adapting it for television.
I work with a group called Compassion & Choices in California. It’s attempting to get death with dignity legalised in California, the idea being that so goes California, so goes the rest of the U.S., at least.
I want a natural burial. Just straight into the ground in a shroud.