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Combined with unprofessional clinicians that provided support, I found a new lease on dying and the processes involved that have far-reaching consequences on family and the victim.
Most children do not think of death and dying nor contemplate its somewhat grotesque cultural symbolism, instead they are too busy considering peer relationships or the receipt of their next reward for good behaviour. Perceptions of death at the childhood level are usually ambiguous sensations that occur when exposed to different death scenarios, such as the loss of a distanced great-grandmother. It is not until adulthood arrives that the individual begins to think about death, reinforced by different retirement packages offered by companies or other cultural symbols, and wonders about the realities of death as an unstoppable outcome to living.
I have always had a form of thanaphobia, which is fear of dying or death, and of the dead (Aiken, 2000). It is likely a product of different media images, such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” which depicts the gruesome, mangled aspects of death that come from decomposition. Perhaps it was built as a combination of different stimuli related to death, such as news reports that highlight the crushed automobile that reinforce our absolute frailty as human beings. Until Aunt Linda was diagnosed with cancer, I had been able to calm my mild thanaphobia and just accept that it would be an eventual part of my life cycle that should be accepted, but rarely reflected upon. It was her response to having terminal cancer and the emotional phases that this once-vibrant woman went through that forever changed my view of dying and transformed mild thanaphobia into a full-blown case of it.
When an individual is told they have a terminal illness, they often reach a stage in coping referred to as anger, where the individual looks for someone to fault for their problem, such as the doctor, God, or anyone they