Death has different meaning to people, the society, education and religion are the three basic factors that affect our perceptions about death. Let’s discuss some perceptions and the behaviors of people during dying and after death.
DEATH BEING PUNISHMENT
A premature or sudden death of a well known exporter who has ruined many people in the society through dubious means to enrich himself. Such death could also be seen as a relief for ridding the community of an undesirable character as well as being a retributive justice.
DEATH AS ATONEMENT
A fanatical religious sect that unleashed a line of terror on other sect believed not to be adhering to the teaching of an holy book would believed that, in carrying out the violence, they could be killed and they would actually look forward to being killed; believing that dying in the course of what they believe would earn them atonement of their sin.
DEATH AS ACCOMPLISHMENT OF PURPOSE
Some people believed God has a purpose for everything that happens to man while on earth, so, when an individual dies, it is most times believed that God has a purpose for the death of such an individual.
DEATH AS A SURVIVAL
Death could mean loneliness and the destruction of personality with a total loss of identity of the survivor. This happens when an individual psychologically refuses to accept that a significant person that in fact died and he’s gone.
A story was once told of a widow who for years would set a table for two, believing that the late husband would join her at meal; she would later make excuses why the late husband didn’t show up.
DEATH AS A BEGINNING OF ANOTHER LIFE
Death is always painful to survivors in so far as there’s a termination of physical interaction but in the traditional religion or traditional societal setting, death is never seen as an end to all interaction.
People believed that the dead although operating in another and perhaps more superior dimension is in constant communion with the living.
Hence, there’s constant invocation in terms of need and in particular during annual festivals and ceremonies when they call in their ancestors to come in their assistance.
Sometimes, there oracles reveal that their ancestors are agitated by their behavior and actions that run contrary to their wishes, therefore, the need to be appeased.
DEATH AS LIVING IN THE MINDS OF THE SURVIVOR
The idea of the dead still living in the minds of the survivors is exemplified in modern societies by making cemeteries very beautiful places which stimulate pleasant memories of times past.
Flowers are placed on the tombs during the periodic visit and prayer are offered for the continued peaceful repose of the dead.
The periodic visit to tomb of the departed loved one is more than paying respect to the memories. In such cases, it does provide the atmosphere of companionship which gives strength to the living.
DEATH BEING PERCEIVED AS POSITIVE
Some people perceived death as positive. For example, it is regarded as a redemption, a relief from pain and from the trials and tribulations of this world.
Consequently, death is perceived and embraced as a friend and a necessary end to human sufferings.
If someone with a protracted and painful terminal illness, death can be nothing but a friend to put an end to the pains and sufferings.
DEATH AS FULFILMENT OF LIFE’S JOURNEY
A dimension of the positiveness of death perception is its psychological impact on some people. In this case, death is perceived in terms of a fulfilment, a completion of an accomplishment rather than being a fearful event.
It is perceived as a beautiful story of a friend who brings to an end a fulfilled life through a peaceful sleep and a vehicle for the next phase of existence.
DEATH AS A DESTROYER OF HOPE AND HAPPINESS
Death can be seen as a destroyer of hope and happiness. This must be so with people who feel they have not yet accomplished there life ambition or with people who have acquired so much wealth and realized they must leave all these things behind when they die. To such people, death must be a torture.
THE UNCONSCIOUS DENIAL OF DEATH
Much as death is a reality, there are evidences that many people still find it difficult to accept it as a matter of fact and as a debt that every man and woman must pay whether rich or poor, young or old. Death is a common denominator for all human life.
The phenomenon is literarily denied or avoided and this is due to the fear of unknown. It is easier to grapple with the evil one knows and he’s familiar with rather than the unknown and the unfamiliar. Therefore, the psychological refusal to accept the reality of death can be manifested in various forms.
- The use of euphemistic in reference to death: it is exemplified in such phrases as “passing-on”, ” transition “, Never-say-die”, ” passed-away”, pass-to-glory”, “Adieu”, ” Call-to-glory”.
- The persistent search for the fountain of youth as expressed in clothing styles, the use of cosmetics to improve appearances including skin color, hair dye especially by women in other look trim and attractive still.
- The unconscious rejection and isolation of the aged and the elderly who are constant reminders of death by the youth.
- The adoption of the concept of a pleasant and rewarding. “After life” which gives a sense of immortality. This is a kind of isolation that life continue in some form IR in another firm after life as we know it here on earth.
- The fixation on the occupation with sexual expressions and proving one’s potency. This is simply saying that as long as you can continue to act very well sexually, you are still very vital kicking and not yet out (tired).
- The emphasis which the medical profession places on the prolongation on the biological life rather than diminishing human suffering. Under this concept, the medical profession is seen to be saying that you can not be beaten (overcame) by death because there’s no such thing. Example, when a medical doctor working to resuscitate life that has long been overtaken by death.
- The sheltering of children by adult from the horrors of death. What the adult do in this case is to deny the existence of death to the children.
- The attempt to conquer the expression of violence, strength, cruelty and aggression. All if which exert some control over the lives of others and their death too.
- The tendency of funeral management industries to give a superficial luxury to the death by making quality casket for the onward journey of the dead.
- The reduction of death from a necessity of life and essentially to a mere accident. The ultimate misfortune in the scientific questnfor performance.