A healthy fear of dying

Sarah Murphy

Image credit: The telegraph

There are two things you can be sure of in this lifetime; you are born, and you die, and while it’s not easy talking about death, there are occasions when the taboo seems a consistent confrontation.

Understandably, people keep the idea of the inevitable at the back of their mind, the reality is there is nothing they can do about it and quite frankly it’s depressing food for thought.   

It’s tough to face the conversation of dying, finding the right thing to do or say can be quite difficult, the inherent fear of death and engaging in conversation on the topic seems uncomfortable, risky, and too scary.

Anxiety, depression and stress are symptoms of grief, and its important to note that consolation from friends and family is one of the major helpers in any loss.

This support also comes from those working in the industry who have learned throughout the years to deal with death the best they can, despite its primary position in their lives.

The grave diggers, the caretakers, the undertakers. These are the people who have to see others heartache and vulnerability when a loved one is taken away.

 “Watching families suffer is probably one of the most difficult things to deal with, you have to be understanding, caring and do whatever you can for these people, but, at the end of the day there’s no one else who can get up and get on with it other than themselves. It’s important that you chose your words carefully, you don’t want to the person to be upset even more” Said Teigue Murphy, a grave digger in Cork City Centre.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with death, some are effected more than others and some haven’t had to deal with the horrible loss of a loved one at all.

The pool of grief continues to grow as we get older, which means we get a bit wiser, yet the pinch of death still has the same crippling effect.

Grieving is a difficult and slow process, once the initial shock has worn off people grieve physically, emotionally, mentally, behaviourally, socially and spiritually.


Murphy has been in the industry for more than ten years and says “I am lucky to be alive. Seeing losses everyday can put things into perspective for you. It makes you realise what other people are going through, I thank god everyday things are okay, but that can change very quickly.”

 “When you see so many people dying, it does affect you,” He says “I am going on fifty and seeing so many young people especially dying is scary, it makes you think what is going on with the world?” 

 “I try not to bring it home, when you’re going out the gate leave all of those thoughts in there too.” He advises.

 If you have recently lost a loved one or know someone who has you can go to Bereavementireland.com which provides support and counselling which enables people to deal with their grief.