Dealing with death, time to rejoice in life

Queen Elizabeth II death flowers

Dealing with death

One of the problems with life is that it inevitably comes to an end.


“Two of life’s certainties, death and taxes!” my mother constantly reminded me (sometimes substituting one of those options for a nurse, which was my mother’s profession).

Last week, Queen Elizabeth II’s passing exemplified how a death can affect millions worldwide. Her quote, ‘grief is the price we pay for love’, has become synonymous with her and apparent to many.

Dealing with death, time to rejoice in life - 01/12/2023

In this article, I will explore viewpoints on death from Seneca to Steve Jobs. My outline is based on a fantastic book I read when my dearly beloved oldest brother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer (get yourself tested) – the book “we’re all going to die” by Dr Leah Kaminsky.

Death is Part of Life:

Jasper Carrott was great on TV. Everyone was in awe of his ability to make death seem so funny. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he seemed to be saying. And that’s what I’ve learned over the years: death is part of life. You can’t avoid it, and you shouldn’t try.

Yes, death is a sad thing. But it’s also a natural thing. It’s something everyone faces and, ultimately, something we all must come to terms with. That doesn’t mean we have to like it or that we must be happy about it. But it does mean we should accept it and learn to live our lives with stoic optimism.

That’s not always easy, of course. But it’s essential. Because if we don’t accept death, we’re not living. We’re just postponing the inevitable and denying ourselves the chance to enjoy life truly.

Death is one of those things we all must come to terms with at some point in our lives. Whilst it’s not a topic that people like to discuss, it’s something we should all be aware of. Death is part of life; as such, we should all make the most of our time on this earth (more on this later).

Understandably, people find it difficult to accept death,  as life expectancy has increased significantly in recent years. In the Middle Ages, death was so accepted they had nursery rhymes!


A pocket full of posies,

Atishoo! Atishoo!

We all fall down.

Dealing with death, time to rejoice in life - 01/12/2023

At a time, death was understood and accepted as part of life. But recently, with increasing life expectancies, death has become something to be ignored or denied. We try to cure every illness and extend life as long as possible, but we forget to enjoy life. We forget that death is part of life and that we will all die one day.

Death is a natural process, and it’s something that we all must go through. It’s important to remember that death is not the end – it’s simply the end of one journey and the beginning of another (depending on your philosophy or religion).

When somebody dies, we should remember the good times we shared and celebrate their life. Death is not something to be feared, as difficult as that may be, as we are hardwired for self-survival – it’s simply a natural part of life. We should all enjoy life and remember that death is a part of the journey.

Death is a natural part of the cycle of life. When we accept death as a natural process, we can live our lives more fully, knowing that everything comes to an end eventually. We can appreciate the present moment more, knowing it will not last forever. In this, spend as much time as possible with the ones you love the most.

We should all make peace that death is a part of life and that it will come for us all one day. Doing so allows us to appreciate life more fully and enjoy each moment. Live for the moment, do the things you enjoy, find meaning in life and care for those closest to you the most.

Death of a Child:

Many years ago, whilst travelling back from Australia, landing at Heathrow and making my way back to the village I live in, I remember the news item coming on the BBC about two young girls who had died in the village in a train accident that day. Arriving home, I was shocked that one of them was the beautiful, young, energetic 14-year-old living two doors down from me. 

Although I never really spoke with her, I saw her enjoying life and growing up, and I am still saddened today by her loss. Only a few days later, we spoke with the girl’s mother. I could only imagine the grief. My abiding memory was that the realisation was yet to sink in, but that was only my perception, and I could be completely wrong.

Despite our best efforts to protect them, children are still more vulnerable to death. It is a harsh reality of life that every parent must face. While it is natural to wish to outlive our children, we must accept that death in a child is still a part of life. In his book “Let Me Be Frank with You,” the late Richard Attenborough wrote about the death of his daughter Jane:

“Of all the things that I have experienced in my lifetime, and of all the things that I have known – good and bad – the pain of her loss was the worst. It took away my breath; it crushed my heart. To lose a child is to lose your future, your past, and everything you are in an instant and forever. There is no greater agony.”

Despite his immense pain, Attenborough found some solace in his memories of Jane. He writes:

“She will always be with me. I see her face often in my dreams, and sometimes I talk to her as though she were there. I like to think she knows how much I loved and miss her.”

While losing a child is undoubtedly one of the most challenging things a parent can go through, it is essential to remember that our loved ones never really leave us. They remain with us in our memories and our hearts, always.

In life, we all must come to terms with death being a part of it. For children, this can be a difficult thing to understand and accept. Even though we as parents wish we could protect our children from death and keep them safe forever, it is not possible. The death of a child is a heart-wrenching experience for any family, and it is something that we must all learn to cope with.

Despite our best efforts, death is still a part of life. For parents, the death of a child is perhaps the most challenging thing to accept. But we must remember that death is a natural process as tricky as it is.

For those looking for a more brutal reality, you can see the stoic Seneca’s consolation to Marcia here.

Dealing with death, time to rejoice in life - 01/12/2023

Life Risks:

Some people take significant risks in life, Alan Eustace freefalls from space, Evel Knievel the stuntman, and more recently, the daredevils who take selfies on top of buildings. Being true to yourself is essential, only do adventures you enjoy. Sometimes spending more time with loved ones is better than ticking off bucket list items; if you are lucky, you can do both together simultaneously!

Dealing with death, time to rejoice in life - 01/12/2023

Adventure is all about taking risks, and that’s what makes it so exciting. You never know what will happen, and that’s part of the thrill. But you also must be careful because things can quickly go wrong. The key is to enjoy life while you’re taking these risks. That means spending time with your loved ones and doing what you enjoy. And when you do take a chance, make sure it’s something you want to do. Don’t do something just for the sake of doing it. If you take a risk, make sure it’s worth it.

Being Bear Grylls means never taking things too seriously. Yes, it’s important to be true to yourself and do something you enjoy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take risks now and then. After all, what’s the point of living if you’re not enjoying it? And who knows, you might even end up liking those risks.

So go ahead and take that skydiving lesson or climb that mountain. Just remember to have fun and stay safe while doing it. It is often said that the living copes with death better if they know the person was doing what they love at the time; enter Steve Irwin.

Death by Anxiety:

Don’t be scared of illness and death, you courageous Stoic! Yes, these things can be frightening, but they are natural occurrences in the life of a human being. Remember that we are mortal and that everything in this world is temporary. There is no use in being afraid of something inevitable. Just be aware that your biological clock is ticking down, so make the most of everything this world offers!

When it comes to illness, remember that you have the power to choose how you react to it. You can let it get you down or use it as an opportunity to grow stronger. Ask yourself: “What can I learn from this experience?” “What can I change about myself?” “How can I improve my life?”

When it comes to death, remember that it is not the end of the world. You will still be able to live on in the memories of those who love you. Death is simply a transition from one stage of life to another.

Instead of being scared, focus on living each day to the fullest. Enjoy the moments you have with your family and friends, and savour the little pleasures in life. Remember that you can’t take anything for granted (and you can’t take anything with you, although the Egyptians tried hard), so make the most of every moment.

Not being scared of illness and death is something to be grateful for. You can’t control everything that happens in life, but you can maintain your attitude and how you approach things. Remember, the Stoics believed we should not worry about what we cannot change. So don’t fear illness and death- they are a natural part of life. Embrace them!

Finding Meaning in Life:

One great way to enjoy life and reduce death fears is to participate in hobbies and sports. Doing what you love makes life more enjoyable and helps you feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you are less likely to be afraid of death.

Pablo Casals was a world-renowned cellist who continued making progress even into his nineties. When asked why he still practices the cello at 91, his response “I think I’m making progress and improving”. Brilliant, isn’t it?

This shows that it is never too late to do something you love and enjoy. No matter your age, you can always do something to make your life more fulfilling.

So find a hobby or sport that interests you and get out there and enjoy life! You will be glad you did.

Enjoy life and reduce the fear of death by doing hobbies and sports. This can help improve your self-worth and give you something to focus on other than death. Research has shown that people who engage in hobbies, sports, and jokes tend to live longer and have a better quality of life.

Some people might find it challenging to think of things they enjoy doing outside work or with their family. If that’s the case, try looking for activities that can be done alone or with friends. There are plenty of options, so don’t feel you have to stick to just one thing.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that brings you joy. You’ll be more likely to stick with it and reap the benefits. And who knows? You might even discover a new passion along the way.

If you are at a loss on what to do, I suggest finding a vehicle for helping others. This can be done by volunteering for charity work, assisting unwell people, or helping at animal charity farms. Helping others is the fast track to finding life’s meaning. At, we hope to have our charity website up and running soon.

Rejoice in Life:

The death of a loved one can be a difficult time for anyone. However, by looking at the person’s life in its entirety, it is possible to find some meaning in their death. Remember all the good times you shared and try to rejoice in the life that was lived. Although it may be difficult, look at what the person achieved and find the meaning in their life. In doing so, you may find comfort in knowing that your loved one lived a whole and meaningful life.

When a loved one dies, it can feel like the world has ended. Everything seems dark and pointless. But it is important to remember that the person who has passed away lived a life full of meaning and purpose. Even though they are no longer with us, their life still has value.

You can do many things to honour the memory of your friend or family member. You can tell stories about them, share photos or videos, and create a memorial or tribute website. You can also plant a tree in their memory or donate to a charity that is important to them.

Most importantly, try to find ways to celebrate their life, and even find humour to draw a smile. Remember all the good times you shared and how much they meant to you. The person who has died may be gone, but they will never be forgotten. They remain alive whilst people who knew them to think of them.

Dealing with death, time to rejoice in life - 01/12/2023

It can help to find funny anecdotes about the person who has passed, rarely have I been to a funeral when there hasn’t been that ‘funny moment’ about the person. I know my father would be ‘spinning’ if he knew his ashes would be under my brother’s bed next to mum for many years before we could ceremonially throw them both into Bass Straight from the Mersey Bluff.

The End:

For me, the pain is knowing that you will not be able to create any more memories with your loved one or enjoy being in their presence. I knew my mother was unwell, and due to immigration, I had to spent 1998 in Melbourne. I stayed close to my mother and spent as much time as possible with her. This eased a little pain when she passed eight months later after I returned to the UK.

Death is a natural process that befalls us all in the end. Whilst it is often difficult to face, it is something we must all come to terms with. There are various ways in which death can occur, and each one presents its own unique set of challenges.

When a loved one dies, it is often hard to know what to do or how to cope. It is natural to feel various emotions, including sadness, anger, confusion, and emptiness. You may think in disbelief or that the world is not accurate anymore. All these feelings are perfectly normal and understandable.

It is important to remember that you are not alone in your grief. Many people will want to support you during this difficult time. You may find it helpful to talk about your feelings with someone else or to write them down in a journal. A ritual or ceremony to commemorate the deceased person can also be beneficial. Don’t be afraid to express your emotions openly; grief can be a very cathartic experience.

In time, the pain will gradually ease, and you will begin to adapt to life without your loved one. There will be good and bad days, but the good days will become more frequent. You may even find that you can smile again and feel happy. Death brings in the new, and with time the memories of your loved one will become more precious than ever before.

When a loved one dies, it is often hard to face the finality of the event. Death brings in the new, and spring brings joy and happiness. People die in various ways. Those that are fortunate are either sudden or via palliative care. David Attenborough rightly said man’s best invention was painkillers.

Ultimately, the best way to deal with death is to remember that it is a natural part of life. Our loved ones will always live on in our memories.

There are many ways to face the death of a loved one. Some people may be present during the final moments, while others may choose to say goodbye in advance through letters or other means. It is important to remember that everyone grieves differently, and there is no wrong way to mourn. Some standard methods of grieving include talking about the person who has passed away, sharing memories, writing about the person, and seeking support from friends and family. It is also essential to allow oneself time to heal and grieve in one’s way.

For those who wish to be present during the death of a loved one, it is essential to be prepared for what may be a challenging experience. Knowing what will happen in the hours or days leading up to death is often helpful so you can be as prepared as possible. Many people find it comforting to have some sense of control during this time. It is also essential to be aware of your limitations and take care of yourself as best possible.

Dealing with death

In the days following a death, it is common for people to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, confusion, and relief. These feelings can change from day to day or hour to hour. There is no right or wrong way to feel, and giving yourself time and space to process these emotions is essential. Many sources of support are available for those who need it, including friends, family members, support groups, and counsellors.

Death is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier when someone we love dies. However, by remembering that everyone grieves differently and allowing ourselves time to heal and sorrow in our way, we can come through this challenging time more vital than ever before.

Steve Jobs may have summed death up best.

Didge Smith

Didge Smith

Being the canary in the coalmine on adventures so that others don't make the same mistakes I've made!

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