No, this is not about murdering bullies. I was going to try and up the mood a notch after the last few posts with the woe is me theme. Unlucky as when I was tootling home from a very satisfactory swimming session (trying to stay fit and be a coffin dodger myself) when I hear this amazing young woman talking on Radio 4 – if you are in any doubt it is the most amazing radio station in the world – about death. She is a palliative care doctor in her early thirties and was diagnosed with some filthy cancer a few years ago and is now confounding the statisticians by living well past her sell by date.
Although she knows that she is now, in old doctor chart speak, CTD. CTD is shorthand for Circling The Drain and is not written with any mocking, just a factual observation that death is very near for the patient concerned. In the mollycoddling PC world that we live in today I am told that this is discouraged to the point that doing this could lose you your job. Pity, because it is quite a clever and amusing TLA in the world of death that doctors mostly exist in. My personal favourite though is DTS, as in Danger To Shipping, to describe someone who has become, how do you say this delicately, I can’t so extremely obese will just have to do. Pejorative to fat folks apparently. The fact is that there are few things within ones gift to control. Being fat, or not, is one of them. Same as smoking. But I digress. Back to the imminent arrival of the Grim Reaper.
I think this woman – Dr Kate Grainger – is doing a great service. She tweets, has written a few books and is generally interested in ensuring that an inevitable process is made comfortable and the mystery that some people are determined to cloak the process in is stripped away . Death is an inexplicably taboo subject and I can’t see why we need to avoid it. The terms deployed to camouflage death are numerous and baffling. Passed, passed on, gone to a better place (really, a crematorium or hole in the ground is always better?), no longer with us (no shit, I thought they had popped out for milk?) and so on. If I have to use a silly euphemism for death then it has got to be “shuffled off this mortal coil”. Brilliantly English way of getting the point over whilst dressing it in a bit of wit.
Dr Grainger has plans to Tweet her own death as a way of making death more socially acceptable. Bravo. It’s a free world and she is getting the PR and bringing the issue to forefront. Follow Kate at @GrangerKate . Wish her luck, give her strength, say goodbye. It’s natural and you have the opportunity to improve the lot of a fellow human. Good eh?
I may be being a little flippant, but I do realise and have experienced the emotional trauma and loss that a death of someone close, that death comes freighted with all manner of pain and suffering. That too is natural. I still don’t think we need to pussyfoot around the topic.
Although there is no need to bash on and on about it as your friends end up marking you for a morbid bore. Oh wait…, never mind. Oh yes, that’s it, one of life’s few certainties is death. And taxes.