The nature of death ‘We get the skills to do everything else and we get the skills to die…  We have to learn how to die.’ 

As heard on Today with Sean O'Rourke

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From phobias and obsessions to palliative care and a profound sense of acceptance, Sean O’Rourke was joined by GP Harry Barry and Mental Health Specialist Enda Murphy to talk about issues that arise when we contemplate death.

Harry spoke about anxieties and obsessions we can sometimes develop surrounding the notion of death and says it’s an issue commonly brought to him by patients.

“We’re inclined to dump death to one side… but as the years begin to progress and we begin to get older and we begin to see maybe siblings or friends or other people begin to die, it starts to gradually dawn on us…  In the East what they do is they learn to accept death very early on in life and then they live their lives. In the West, we live our lives to the full and then we start to worry about death but when we do start to worry about death, it can become quite an obsession.”

Enda has a lot of experience working with people facing death from his work as a psychotherapist and also from his time spent working as a nurse in palliative care.

“It’s a real honour when somebody actually allows you to share their death…  If it’s any consolation to anybody, those of us who deal with death professionally get less and less fearful of it as we go along because we realise there’s absolutely nothing to fear towards the end.  Mother Nature does not make us go through something without giving us the skills to do it.  We get the skills to do everything else and we get the skills to die…  We have to learn how to die.  We can’t choose when we will die or the fact that we will die but we do have an awful lot of input into how we travel the journey.”

Click here to listen to that discussion in full.

© The Listener 2018

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