Why No One Talks About Death

Why no one talks about Death. It is such a feared topic in our world.

No One Talks About This: Image of a book with the title The Bright Hour A memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

I just turned the last page on this wonderful book, The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying. The author Nina Riggs was 39 when she breathed her last, leaving behind a husband and two young boys. What I loved about this book is the humor she brings to the morbid subject of dying, and how staring death in the face makes her live life to the fullest--which included writing this book.

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In the only interview she did from her hospice bed two days before she died, Nina said this:

"I became really dedicated, not just in terms of the writing, but as my "project" in life, or what remained of it, to learn to cherish what remained to me, not just in spite of my potentially shortened life span...but including that potential for a more brief-than-expected existence."

The reason why she titled the book "The Bright Hour":

"...no matter how many times a morning (or evening) have been described by Shakespeare, Homer, or Milton, our experience of morning is alien if only felt through someone else's verse. There is no replacing the direct experience...I think that's amazing and beautiful, the way we can experience the extraordinary again and again, find it anew in something that happens literally every day."

What she would say to people who are afraid of death:

"...every single day is lived in the shadow of our mortality, which means all those things we cherish are not just part of life, they're ultimately part of our death, and I think a real gift that this experience gave me was forcing me to appreciate my life/death, not just my life. I had to embrace the experience of having cancer, because that experience was part and parcel to my experience of my husband, my kids, my dearest friends."

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When I got to a certain part of the book, I was sad. My tears were starting to flow. But I realized in that moment that I am still here in a fit and healthy body. So I put the book down, got up from the couch, turned up some music really loud, and danced away, looking heavenward and saying: Nina, this is for you. I'm still here and I can still dance, so this is for you.

What are you not doing even though you're still here? Why are you not celebrating being alive? Where is your unresolved grief/guilt/sadness/anger stuck and what do you need to do to heal it?

There's no time to waste. Get on with the business of living this life while you're still here. There's so much beauty right outside your window. Make time for it. Breathe because you have lungs. Live. This. Life. Fully.

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