A – Z of Death


The A – Z of Death – K is for Kübler-Ross. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist working with terminally ill patients in the 1960s. Her book, On Death and Dying outlines five stages that terminally ill patients go through: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This model has been taken out of context and applied to grieving in general, leading to a popular assumption that the bereaved go through a linear process of recovery. Although the model can be…

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In some cultures human remains were placed in jars rather than buried in the ground. This particular image is of the ‘lid’ of such a jar, a number of which were comparatively recently discovered (1991) in caves in the Philippines. The jar lids in the form of a head were all different and were taken to represent the person who had been interred within. Some of the jars had breasts, indicating the occupant was female, some had a penis-like projection…

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Humans have always sought #immortality – the idea that death can be transcended and life will continue on another plane or in another form. The author Ernest Becker, in his book The Denial of Death, posited the theory that human life consists of the physical and the symbolic world and that within the symbolic we strive to be connected to something that has meaning, that will continue after physical death. Religion has traditionally fulfilled this role but is ceasing to have the…

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H is for HEART

When someone we love dies, we feel it in our body – the ache of loss goes right through us and nowhere more so than in our ‘broken heart’. Did you know though, that it is medically possible to die from a broken heart? The name for this condition is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or Broken Heart Syndrome and it can be brought about by stress hormones such as adrenalin, released during times of great sadness. Women are more affected than men,…

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G is for GRIEF

The loss of someone we love is one of the worst things that can happen to us, and yet we are seldom prepared for it when it happens. Most of us do not talk about #death or #dying, even when it becomes obvious that it is going to happen. Here at CEDAR, our mission is to bring Death Education to all ages, enabling people to know more and to feel more comfortable discussing #grief and #bereavement. There are different types of grief, from complicated grief which…

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F is for FUNERAL

F is for #funeral. In the west we have been very influenced by Christian Victorian styles of funeral but of course there have always been many ways to say #farewell to loved ones, across all societies and through all eras. Human remains in the west are #buried or #cremated but some customs in other cultures see the body being placed into large jars or small huts where they are left to dry out before a second stage funeral takes place to bury the dry remains. However we…

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E is for EULOGY

A #eulogy is a speech given at a #funeral, where a celebrant, minister or loved one talks about the person who has died. At one time it was common for a eulogy to be a rather formal piece, where the facts of a person’s life were covered but nothing very personal was said. Nowadays, a #eulogy is frequently a loving remembrance, where amusing stories or quirky habits of the deceased are talked about and celebrated. Professor Douglas Davies calls this ‘words against death’ and his…

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D is for DOULA

End of life or “Death” Doulas support people in the end of life processes, much like a midwife or doula with the birthing process. End of Life Doulas act in a non-medical way helping those who are dying, and their families, to be supported in any aspect of end of life care from helping people, for example, to navigate their way in the health and social care systems to supporting people by talking through their aspirations and wishes for their…

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The history of #cemeteries and #burial is long and fascinating as it varies so much with cultural traditions. Specific Christian burial service started around the 7th century, originally outside the city walls but then brought inside where the cemetery became attached to a church and was known as a graveyard. Usually the bodies were buried in a communal pit and then the bones reburied in an #ossuary once they were clean of flesh. #Gravestones in England only became common around 1650, going through different fashions in decoration, depending…

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B is for BA

B IS FOR BA . The #ancientegyptian#bookofthedead contained the image of the ba – a bird with a human head. The ba was the non-physical elements of the human, such as personality, soul, what we might call self. It was thought that the ba guided the living person, much like a conscience , urging kindness and compassion. Once the person had #died, the ba would fly out in daytime to watch over your family, whilst the ka, the life force that lived on…

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CEDAR  Education
CEDAR  Education  is  dedicated  to  teaching everyone  how  to  understand,  accept  and  respond to  death,  dying  and  loss  in  healthy  and appropriate  ways  with  clients,  patients,  students, and  in  personal  relationships.

CEDAR Education is proud to have won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service