confronting death

Ad91acb1-d9d0-4756-a24d-f27bd0d51f81Stephen Cave at The Financial Times:

Someone must care for the dead, who, as the mortician Caitlin Doughty writes, “have become useless at caring for themselves”. In ancient Egypt, it was the job of the jackal-headed god Anubis, who would usher them to where their hearts would be weighed against the feather of justice. According to Greek legend, the task of ferrying the corpses went to Charon, “a shaggy-jowled, white-haired demon who piloted sinners by boat across the River Styx into hell”. But “at Westwind Cremation”, Doughty tells us, “that job belonged to Chris”.

Death is the point at which the profane and the sacred collide — an event completely natural and yet surrounded by mystery; steeped in the physical realities of bodily processes, yet enwreathed with existential hopes and fears. How therefore should we think about it? Many in the secular west and beyond, who have been unmoored from the spiritual certainties of the past, seem to have concluded that it is best not to think about it at all. For others, averting our gaze from death means stumbling through life half-blind.

more here.