The poet W.H. Auden described death as “the rumble of distant thunder at a picnic.” It’s a brilliant metaphor.
In my mind, in that scenario, we have 3 choices.
1) The first choice is to totally ignore the thunder and hope that the storm blows north, but when the storm does hit, we will be totally unprepared and will be in some danger.
2) The second choice is to recognize that the storm is coming, and to feel dread that it will totally ruin the remainder of the picnic, and yet do nothing to prepare for it.
3) The third option is to recognize the threat that the thunder represents, to reorganize priorities and enjoy the good weather while you can, and then be packed and ready to seek shelter when the storm hits.
I believe these metaphorical choices are similar to our society's attitude toward death. Most of us choose the first 2 options in regards to our own mortality.
- excepted from the article "Facing the Abyss: Planning for Death" by Kevin Dieter
An End of Life Doula helps the dying person
and their loved ones with the third option.