Our culture around death: Life goes on

Funeral eulogies are all too often grim and sometimes pretty loose with the truth. Occasionally, thankfully, they can be so open, so straight from the heart, that they can be uplifting and comforting.

Earlier this week at the funeral of charismatic writer Emma Hannigan, who died aged just 45 after a decade-long war with cancer, her family and many friends heard one of the inspiring, comforting ones.

She spoke of life and how everything pivots on love and

of accepting the inevitable consequences of her lost battle with cancer. She accentuated the positive and tried to cheer those left heartbroken — just as we all might.

It is one of those uncontested but unproven truths that the Irish do death well. But do we? Do we prepare for the emotional turmoil, the separation, and maybe the life-draining loneliness faced by bereaved people? Hardly.

Hannigan’s cruelly premature death should encourage us to prepare for these unavoidable partings by celebrating the life just finished and planning to celebrate the life ahead.


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