Attempted , but Aborted Escapes
This escape euphemism is perhaps shortened from “passed on” or “passed away.” Other escape words are “crossed over,” “has gone home,” or even, “disappeared.” But this last one is even more disturbing than “died”! Typically, euphemisms such as “restroom” are used because the proper word is socially unacceptable. A spiritual euphemism in part of Africa that implies a destination beyond the grave is the beautiful expression, “She arrived!”
Dying has always been greatly feared, a frightening fate to escape from regardless the cost. Yet this natural end of all life is the most significant final act in each of the dramas of our lives. Like good actors and actresses we should prepare and practice for our greatest scene. Denial of your own or others deaths, along with using easy euphemisms, prevents embracing this ultimate inescapable reality.
The full moon of the spring equinox is on April 5th, Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross. With our fondness for euphemisms for death, will we say that Jesus “passed”? Good Friday should shout to us that death is not a four-letter word! To die is natural and therefore holy, not obscene or why call “good” the Friday of Jesus’ death?
Contrary to the Garden of Eden legend, death isn’t part of the cursed punishment inherited from Adam and Eve, anymore than are the natural pains of childbirth. Death is a gift of God. Death is the great cure for much suffering and pain. While death can and does separate us from those we love, it isn’t an evil. So allow this Good Friday reflection to assist you in thoughtfully reflecting on your own death and that of others as naturally good and holy.
A Greek legend tells of a young man who, in the vigorous prime of life, watched people die and fervently begged of the gods the gift that he would never die. The gods granted his wish, and so he lived on as one by one his friends and family all died. He also continued year after year to grow older, more infirm and crippled with the afflictions of the aged. As sickness ate away at him he cursed the day that the gods gifted him with freedom from death. Finally, as a lonely, blind, deaf, sickly and infirm old man of 150 years the gods—so goes the legend—took pity on him and let him die.