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Sara’s blog on the silence of the dying

Ever since having Cancer, I have become acutely aware of not only how many others are struck with this awful disease, and the differences and similarities between sufferers, survivors and their struggles as well as the reactions of loved ones and the community, but my own mortality as well. There are very few people I share my thoughts and fears with, but one very special person is Sara – many of you may know her as the writer, Sara Douglass. Sara also has Cancer. We discuss many things and share much laughter and tears (and about a huge range of things – believe me!) but one thing we have talked about is what Sara calls the ‘silence of the dying’ – it’s not that those dying or with real reasons to be afraid of death (through chronic illness or some other cause) can’t articulate their fears, it’s that there is no legitimate space for them to do so in contemporary society. They are ‘silenced’.

Well, Sara wrote the most amazing blog about this, examining the reasons and causes for this huge vacuum, and I have asked her permission to share it with you. It’s also going to be published, I believe, in a Perth newspaper.

I urge you to discuss what she writes among your family and friends. It’s beautiful, personal, heartfelt but also a wonderful social and historical observation that captures the zeitgeist – contemporary attitudes to death and dying and illness – perfectly. Thank you, Sara, for writing this.

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