How can technology heal death

Grief research How should we talk about death and dying?

We haven't learned to talk about grief, death and dying. We have outsourced these topics from our society, as Maria Förster experiences as a grief counselor and lecturer on a daily basis. In the past, people mostly died at home, in the middle of a community. We experienced that together, shared the grief. Today many die alone in clinics or old people's homes behind closed doors. Even seasoned nurses and nurses find it difficult to tell relatives that someone has died.

A lot of synonyms or phrases are used, just not to have to say: 'Your mother has died'.

Maria Förster, certified grief counselor

The repertoire ranges from "fell asleep" to "passed away" to "put on the wooden tailcoat". There are around 80 synonyms and idioms in the German vocabulary for dying. Maria Förster knows from her work with grieving children that these can create uncertainty or even arouse fears:

If you say to a child: 'Your mom has left', it can trigger fear of abandonment. Because the child understands: Your mom has left you.

Maria Förster, alternative practitioner for psychotherapy

A child will naturally respond to a message such as "Grandpa has fallen asleep" by asking when he will wake up again. Maria Förster is convinced that we can learn a lot from the youngest in dealing with death. Because they approach the topic without reservation until they learn from us adults that it is a taboo. Breaking this taboo with words is an important beginning for the grief therapist. Giving a name to the incomprehensible is painful at first, she admits, because then it becomes real. But then it also gets a face and becomes tangible. She sums it up in the words of Hermione Granger from "Harry Potter":

Fear of a name only makes you more afraid of the thing itself.

Hermione Granger in "Harry Potter"