“Despite knowing that we are going to die, we prefer not to talk about it”

The death it is something intrinsic to the very nature of life but currently it makes the simple fact of mentioning it uncomfortable. Throughout history, the humanity he has asked himself questions about the matter and has perceived death in very different ways. the ancients greek philosophersWhat Platothey considered that body and soul they were two different elements and, with the death of the first, the second was free. With the arrival of Christianity and the Middle Ages also did the concept of “domestic death” either “the good death”that is, if he had been good, he would have a good final judgment, but not only that, the dying person said goodbye to his closest relatives before death.

During the XIX century Death began to be perceived as something of its own. The death of a loved one begins to be perceived as one’s own and arose Transcendental questions about mourning and the meaning of death. The twentieth century It was a paradigm shift. Death departs from everyday life and begins the phenomenon of the “prohibition of death”. It is in that same century, during the seventywhen there is also the palliative medicine hand in hand with the British Cicely Saunderswhich highlights the death care.

something far away

Why has death been denatured? How should we break the existing taboo? According to health psychologist Marta Argilésspeaker of the Support Spaces of Memorial FoundationToday’s society looks the other way when it comes to death, disease, and pain.

“We perceive death as something distant. We see how people around us die but we find it hard to talk about it. We never considered that any moment could be the last”, explains Argilés. All this, added to an education that also does not address the issue and the very fear of the unknown, has denatured death.

The expert considers that the fact that death is considered a taboo has led to different attitudes that do not help to naturalize the issue. The Silence pact existing when talking about a death or an illness, the do not allow the farewell of the dying or their relatives, or the concealment of suffering would be some of them.

Today death is considered a taboo, which generates attitudes that do not help to naturalize it. Angel of Castro

how to deal with it

The attitude towards death is something very personal. For Argilés, the first step is find meaning in life. “We must ask ourselves what life expects of us, more than what we expect of it,” says the psychologist. Transcendence and spirituality play a key role in this process. «The important thing about transcending through life is how we reach death. Spirituality allows us to talk about transcendence and find meaning in life», he points.

Regarding positive attitudes, Argilés assures that it is fundamental tell the whole truth about death, allow farewell, recognize and express the feelings it causes and deal with grief naturally. The most important thing, moreover, is that all members of the family participate in the process equally, including children, who are often the great forgotten. «With children it is essential to work from home and from the classroom all these questions and offer resources. With this we can break taboos and talk about death naturally, “says Argilés.

For the psychologist, end-of-life care also plays an important role. Palliative medicine is key for the dying person and the family, support groups can provide strategies and knowledge to face this moment but, most importantly, is that the environment accompanies, listens, observes and, above all, allows and is allowed.


  • Tell the truth. Both the family and the deceased must always know the truth. It is necessary to break the pact of silence that exists around a death and in the case of terminal illness, it is recommended that both parties are aware at all times.
  • Allow to say goodbye The two parties must be able to say goodbye, even the children. “Will it cause pain? Yes, a lot. But that person is empowered by the simple fact of having been able to do it, “says the expert.
  • Recognize and express feelings. It is good to be able to express what a person feels. A person who is dying must be able to express their feelings and the family as well. The person who is grieving and who cares for him should also be expressed.
  • Maintain activities. In a moment of mourning it is logical that some activities can be left aside, but it is advisable to return to them when time passes. And, under no circumstances, it is advisable to make big changes.

Fundación Mémora: resources to help families

Fundación Mémora has been working for years to offer resources to families to deal with everything related to the end of life. In the case of grief, for example, support services are offered such as a telephone psychological attention 24 hours a day, mourning groups and spaces for speaking, the web community ‘Your support on the net’, psychological support and spaces for remembrance.

Added to all this are the Mémora Classrooms, which through informative and awareness talks on topics such as grief or the elderly Aimed at the general population, different issues are discussed with professionals from different fields such as nursing, psychology, social work and law, among others.

On the other hand, Mémora Foundation promotes the Observatory Cities that carea project that seeks to involve society in the final process of life with studies and reports relating to unwanted loneliness or lonely death.

“Despite knowing that we are going to die, we prefer not to talk about it”