death is not fiction

Recently I read From Here to Eternity. It’s a nonfiction book by Caitlin Doughty and is subtitled “Traveling the World to Find the Good Death”. It chronicles the trips of a funeral home worker who is attempting to determine the best way to approach the reality of death by examining the way various cultures handle their dead.

Ranging from the glowing Buddhas of Japan to the open air pyre in Colorado, Doughty finds areas in which people are encouraged to play a role in the care of a loved one after their death. Doughty firmly believes that the United States has become too industrial in its approach to death, leading to fear of what is to come and an idea that death is dirty and scary.

By offering an insight into not only the traditions around the world but the mindsets that created them, Doughty offers a refreshing view of death. With an upbeat, quirky mindset, Doughty is perfect to discuss something as “dark” as our impending doom. She doesn’t shy away from the realities of the world around her, instead, she dives into situations that vastly differ from her industrial funeral home with great interest, allowing readers to feel as though they are experiencing the traditions first hand through her imagery.

I would recommend this book to anyone. It’s a great way to take a step back and consider not only death itself (it’s coming, chill), but also how we as a society react to it. It calls into question grieving and family care while also showing us various ways to send ourselves back to the Earth.

Maybe it will encourage you to buy your own sacrificial pig!

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