A Vivid talk about Dying #YODO

Claudia Venhorst’s talk starts in a light-hearted, cheerful way, by having a coffin carried on stage by people clad in black. Her question to the audience: how does this make you feel? Claudia is a thanatologist, someone who studies death for a living. Through her years of research, she found that death is still a very difficult topic to discuss for many people. Often, it is avoided altogether, or only spoken of when it is already too late. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Death is a natural part of life, and we all have to go at some point. By accepting that fact and embracing it, perhaps we can stop viewing it as ‘the end’, and more as just another chapter in the cycle of things. Thanatologists, she explains, are often viewed as weird and depressing people due to their interests, but in reality, the opposite is true. Thanatologist gatherings are very cheerful events, and the attendees are all very passionate about their profession. If we can change the way we think about death and see it as a natural part of life, it will help with seeing the bigger picture. After all, the world doesn’t stop when somebody dies. Neither do they disappear: people live on through others. Memories, the work they’ve done, remaining family members and friends. The body is gone, but the legacy continues. Perhaps it’s time to stop being afraid of life’s end, but celebrate being alive and leaving a beautiful legacy while we can. Life and death, we only get one of both. Let’s make them both count!