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Those who practice Death Positive Movement hold the belief that death is not a morbid or taboo topic and should be discussed openly. People and groups who promote this viewpoint believe that the foundation of a healthy society must include honest conversations about death and dying.
A Timeline: Breathing Life into the Death Positive Movement
The birth of the Death Positive Movement happened in 1974 when the first hospice opened in the UK.
The movement gained momentum in 1978 when the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare declared that “the hospice movement as a concept for the care of the terminally ill and their families is a viable concept and one which holds out a means of providing more humane care for Americans dying of terminal illness while possibly reducing costs. As such, it is the proper subject of federal support.”
During the 1980s, palliative care was gaining popularity in the United States, which brought about the Death Acceptance Movement. People found that they appreciated how palliative care offers an interdisciplinary approach to caring for individuals living with illnesses that made everyday life difficult and restrictive. Furthermore, palliative care enhances a person’s quality of life and improves the overall treatment of the terminally ill. It also works to help patients and their families cope with impending death.
These advancements encouraged death acceptance advocates to argue that society should not be focused on unnecessary and costly medical interventions that usually prolong suffering. Over the years, they have been successfully promoting the belief that it was much more beneficial and productive to put energy toward enhanced care and improving quality of life.
The 1990s saw the introduction of the Green Burial Movement, which has its roots in the natural burial process. Green burials are the closest to what nature intended for the disposal of a body because it involves placing a deceased person into the ground without the use of embalming fluids or a casket. Green burials are part of the Death Positive Movement because people experience great comfort knowing that this eco-friendly method will allow them to become one with the earth.
In 2011, a man named Jon Underwood contributed to the Death Positive Movement by creating a social franchise called Death Cafés. People gather at these establishments to discuss death while enjoying cake and tea. Underwood’s unique endeavor shines a light on this necessary part of life and provides an outlet for the grief-stricken. They also encourage people to make the most of their lives. Today, Death Cafés exist in 78 countries. When Covid-19 mandates prevented people from meeting in-person, Death Cafés entered cyberspace.
Also in 2011, a young funeral director named Caitlin Doughty was left horrified after witnessing how the funeral industry was failing families financially and emotionally. To combat these deceitful practices, Doughty founded The Order of the Good Death and a web series titled ‘Ask a Mortician’, which answers death questions and promotes death positivity. The series has been viewed over 200 million times and continues to help people from all walks of life adopt a more optimistic view of death.
The 8 Doctrines of the Death Positive Movement
Changing Minds and Attitudes About Death for a Better Life
It is common knowledge that people are afraid of things that they do not understand. Death falls into this category because it is one of the great mysteries of life. There are too many unknowns. When you have a large portion of the population that fears this natural part of life, the result is a fearful society, which is not healthy.
Since its inception in the 1970s, the Death Positive Movement has been working toward bettering society by changing people’s perspective about death. Thanks to the brave trailblazers and supporters of this crusade, the dark stigma surrounding death is, unironically, dying. The more this movement spreads, the fear associated with death and dying will be replaced with wisdom and grace, so acceptance and healing can happen at a faster pace.
EverArk is doing its part to assist the Death Positive Movement. This innovative software is giving funeral directors and cemeteries the tools they need to educate their customers about the importance of pre-planning buy allowing them to buy plots online.
EverArk is also giving power to people by allowing them to create a digital legacy. Through this technology, people can upload their favorite photos and videos to a secure location on the internet, so their loved ones and future generations can revisit them at any time after their death and reminisce about a life well lived.