14Dee 1

   I had the pleasure of speaking with both Dee and her granddaughter, Nicole, with whom she is incredibly close. Dee grew up in Vancouver and currently lives in Victoria. She is not sick, but at 76, she is beginning to enter the final phases of her life. Death first showed up in Dee’s life when she was 14, and her sister and niece were murdered. Her grandmother died that same year. Dee holds no fear of death, “Death never bothered me, it’s just part of life. I never had any fear about it, my whole family doesn’t…I’ve always been so puzzled when people say they’re afraid of death because it’s just a transition…it’s kind of exciting.” Nicole brought up how the act of decay tends to be  hidden in all aspects of our society – gardens dug up once the flowers are dead, products sold to disguise effects of aging, elderly people put into homes, “we try to deny it so much.” In reference to her grandmother, Nicole mentioned “talking about death and dying is kind of her jam.” Dee talked about how unhelpful it is to the dying when we try to deny their experience in our efforts to distract from the topic, “Most people just want an honest conversation. Especially if you’re dying, you want someone to be honest with you, let you talk to them, you know, because maybe you have questions they can answer or at least you can discuss it.” She went on to describe our society’s tendency to try to fix and make better rather than letting people feel their feelings, “if someone’s sad, let them be sad, you know maybe they just need to go through that. You know, everyone needs to feel their emotions.” When I asked Dee what she was grateful for, she said she was grateful for her granddaughter, Nicole.